Every day you are on tenterhooks, waiting for someone to call you out as a fraud.
Maybe you feel like a fraud because you’re doing a “grown-up” job but deep down you feel like the 16 year old work experience girl.
Or perhaps you feel like a fraud because all the mums you know seem so perfect, and what would they think if they knew you sometimes let your kids have cereal for dinner in front of the TV?!?
It doesn’t matter why or how you feel like a fraud, because you know what? We all feel like a fraud at one point or another in our lives.
We all feel out of our depth, and like someone is going to point to us and call us out on it:
“YOU BIG, FAT FRAUD!!!”
Maybe you wake up all sweaty at night, in fear that the next day you’ll be found out.
I remember that feeling well. When I first started teaching English as a foreign language I had very little experience, and no official qualification. I’d managed to talk my way into the job but in the early days I was literally getting by on a wing and a prayer.
Fortunately it turned out I had a knack for teaching, and along with the company’s English course leader, I became their most requested teacher.
But at the start I was a mess. Certain I’d be kicked out. Convinced people would realise that I was no teacher. I felt like such a fraud and it gave me horrible stomach upsets and kept me awake at night.
However when I was at work I looked uber confident, acted like I totally knew what I was doing. So no one would have known otherwise.
Remember that when you think you’re the only fraud out there.
We all feel like frauds, in different areas of our lives, to varying degrees. Even that powerful manager in your company, who totally seems like she has her shit together, it’s pretty certain that she feels like a fraud on some level.
How can you handle feeling like a fraud?
Well, once you realise that you are not alone you’ll have gone part of the way to dealing with these feelings.
Next step is to write down every which way, in every circumstance, with every person you feel like a fraud. Is it:
- with a particular colleague or manager?
- with a certain school mum?
- when you have to head a meeting or give a presentation?
- when you tell people what you do?
List as many ways that you can think of where you feel like a fraud.
Then write down why you feel like a fraud. Is it because:
- you don’t feel qualified or experienced enough?
- of a throwaway comment from a colleague about your inabilities a few years previously?
- a parent or teacher told you that you’d never amount to much?
- you weren’t popular at school so feel uncomfortable with the popular school mum crowd at your child’s school?
Dig deep, often we feel like a fraud because of something that happened when we were much younger, a child or a teenager, or maybe just starting out in the adult world and still making mistakes.
What has made you feel like a fraud?
Maybe you feel this way at work because of a comment made when you were a 20 year old office newbie.
Perhaps an older sister told you that you’d make a terrible mum when you were teens.
Or could it be that a teacher told you that you were worthless and destined to fail.
Have you got a manager who is constantly putting you down?
Once you’ve worked out why you feel like a fraud you can start to rationalise it.
When it is an old belief, it has had time to fester, to gain momentum and to become truth in your head. So it is hard to convince yourself that it is untrue.
Write down why you know it to be false:
“I wasn’t very competent when I was 20 but I am experienced, efficient and a good worker now.”
“My sister was just winding me up, as big sisters do.”
“That teacher never really liked me so was never going to say nice stuff to me.”
“I know that my manager is going through personal issues and she is taking them out on me by putting me down.”
If it is something more recent then break it down. Do you feel under-qualified or inexperienced because you’re out of your depth? In which case what can you learn / do / improve in your spare time to make you feel more at ease?
If you feel like you have a perfect mum facade that you have to uphold ask yourself why. Can you let it slip and just be Imperfect You? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
We build these things up into huge mountains of fear and worry. We let them stop us from sleeping / sleeping well and we turn into stressballs for no reason.
It’s time for you to do away with feeling like a fraud, in every area of your life, once and for all. It’s all within your control.
If you want a bit more help in this area then grab my 10 day guide to falling (back) in love with your life here.
This guide will help you look at things differently, adopt a different mindset and shift these negative thoughts you have about yourself.
Be kind to yourself, you’re pretty damn amazing!
Photo by Callie Morgan on Unsplash
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