Do you have impostor syndrome? Do you worry that you don’t know enough, don’t do enough, and don’t have enough knowledge to share what you feel passionate about yet? Do you feel that you have to get more training, more experience, read more books, listen to more people, and attend more courses, etc before you can finally offer some of your own knowledge to others?
If this resonates, I empathize, because I used to feel the same way. When I stepped out of biological research and into the world of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, I had huge impostor syndrome. I can still picture how I felt when I went to do my first babywearing consultation in 2010. I went to visit a new mum at her house with a bunch of slings and helped her find a baby carrier that worked for her and her baby. I spent a couple of hours with her (not counting the time to travel) and only charged £15 for it. She was delighted with the result of the consultation. Yet I worried that it was wrong to charge for it, that I wasn’t good enough, etc.
It didn’t even cross my mind to think that had spent well over £1000 in training, equipment and insurance. It didn’t occur to me that I had carried both of my children for over 4 years in tens of different styles of baby carriers. It didn’t occur to me that I’d been immersed in groups of babywearing professionals and parents both locally and further afield for years. All I could think about was how I felt I wasn’t good enough and it didn’t feel ok to charge for it. I worried my clients would tell me this was a rip-off.
I felt the same when I taught my first NCT antenatal course in 2010, despite 4 years of training which culminated in a university diploma in antenatal education! I felt the same when I attended my first birth as a doula.
Thankfully, I’ve been on quite a journey since I wrote my first blog post about impostor syndrome in 2017.
My underlying fear about not being good enough when offering something new was still there a couple of years ago though. I felt it in February 2020 when I ran my first drum circle. I charged £10 per person and I worried that they would think it was too much and that the circle wasn’t good enough for the price!. I spent hours preparing for it. I bought books and read about how to run drum circles; I contacted friends who ran them for advice etc. I wrote a very detailed teaching plan on an excel spreadsheet. Of course the circles were a success and people were absolutely delighted with it.
The biggest step in my journey to overcome the impostor syndrome happened over the last 18 months because I discovered trainings by empowering business teachers such as Leonie Dawson (I took her course about creating online courses), but most of all, because I started training with Authentic marketing coach George Kao. (for transparency’s sake I want to be honest about the fact that I know have affiliate links with both of them).
What I learnt from learning from George and Leonie is that I know enough, right now, with my experience as it is, to help others on their journey and make a difference. I don’t need to read more, learn more, etc before I offer what I want to offer to others. I am pretty sure that it is true for you too.
How far I have come became very obvious in September 2021, when I taught a brand new workshop on how to run mother blessings. For the first time in my life I felt confident enough in my experience and knowledge to plan to teach a course without having created the contents first. I booked the date for in person workshop and then wrote the entire course content within the 2 weeks before the course. I was very tempted but I resisted checking out what other people had done or written on the topic (including reading any books). Every time I felt tempted to check other people’s work, I heard George’s voice in my head saying “You already know enough to really help a lot of people”. Here is an excerpt from his blog post about this topic:
“Are you hesitant about putting your work out there?
What if you get clients that you can’t help?
What if there’s another course that will finally give you the tools you need?
If you’re saying Yes to any of the above, you are under the illusion that there is an end or final destination to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and experience. There isn’t. Forever, there will be more knowledge out there that feels like it could be “the key”. Even if you get multiple Ph.D.’s, you’ll still feel like you don’t know enough. ”
Thanks to George I was able to write an entire course based on my knowledge and experience alone, as opposed to inspiring myself from other people. And you know what? It felt great! I felt inspired, and amazed by all the knowledge I didn’t know I had until I wrote it all down. There was too much to fit within a one day course! I not only created the course content but also a course handout. I felt proud of what I had produced. And, for the first time in my life, I tamed my inner impostor.
I taught the course at the end of September, and every single one of the seven birthworkers who attended gave me brilliant feedback. They also said they found it hard to believe that it was the first time I taught this course, and one of them who had attended previous training with me even said that this was the best course I had taught yet. I believe this was because this was entirely my knowledge and unique way to teach that imbued the course, and therefore it felt very good and aligned energetically.
This felt very validating, and it taught me a very valuable lesson. As it was the first time in my life I had created teaching content without anybody else’s input, it made me realize that I want to do this more, and that I want to encourage others to do the same. I structured the course so people could pick and choose activities from the material what they resonated with, rather than following a prescriptive recipe. I have since made this course available as an online course.
As I reflected I also realized that I always preferred teaching people to things in their own way after training with me.
It helped me understand that I want everything I teach to be this way from now on. For instance I want to teach an intuitive drum healing course rather than a Reiki Drum course, because teaching from my own unique experience, and sharing this in a way that empowers others to do the same, which is to find their own unique way, is what gives me the most joy. It is also more empowering to my students, as they won’t fear that they are doing it wrong.
Last year I ran some impostor syndrome mentoring sessions (feel free to contact me if you’d like to try one), and I realized that most people are where I used to be. It feels very good to help them overcome this.
My message to you is: You know enough, right now, as you are, with your life experience, to help others along their path. Even if you only know 10% more than others, you can help them.
The image I have in my mind is that we are all climbing a big mountain, and the kindest thing we can do is to pull each other up all the way to the top.
If you do not share what you know, create your course or write your book, or whatever you want to share with the world, people will be missing out of the transformation that your unique knowledge might give them.
Start sharing now.
PS: I’ve carried on on my journey since, creating 3 new online courses from scratch, trusting that I will just download what’s in my brain and lived experience, to share with others. The impostor monster still tries to raise its head a little when I think about what I’m planning to offer next, which is completely outside of my previous field (helping others lead from the heart and discover their soul purpose), as it’s the journey I’m on myself, but now I can see it and tame it, which is a big progress from before, when I didn’t even see that it was an illusion.