A while ago I was listening to an interview with a top executive coach. He was asked what CEOs’ #1 obstacle was, and to my surprise, he identified their top issue as fraudulence.

But I shouldn’t have been surprised. Why would they be any different from the rest of us?

Most of them probably had the same experience every major step along the way: doubting themselves the first time they were made head of a department, wondering if they were ready when they were made VP.

You don’t think the initial few months of being the boss didn’t involve a lot of “acting like a CEO”?

Anytime you are moving out of your comfort zone, out of your area of mastery, you can pretty much expect to experience concerns about…

Being unprepared: “There is so much to know being a one-person business, I just don’t feel ready.”

Being untalented: “What if I can’t solve their problem? What if I can’t convince them to hire me? What if they realize I don’t know what I’m doing?”

Being unworthy: “Why would they hire me as opposed to 100 other people who do exactly what I do?”

Unearned status: “I feel like I didn’t pay my dues, and everyone can tell. It’s just a matter of time before somebody stands up in a meeting, points at me and says, “Get out! Who let you in here? You’re not fooling anyone! “

Even though some sense of fraudulence is to be expected, it feels bad. We are programmed to avoid pain; so we stall, pass up opportunities, try to beef up our resume and hope that this feeling goes away.

If, on the other hand, we treat it as an unsurprising and likely occurrence, then it can serve as a “come to consciousness” moment.

When you notice your old friend fraudulence, you take a step back and use it as a reminder to consult your highest truth.

For some, this will be their intuition; for others it will be their calm, rational center. In either case, since fear is already present, you will have to see past your discomfort to the answer.

Getting in touch with your “knowing” doesn’t always change how you feel – you can be scared out of your mind and still know that it’s the right step to take.

So if/when you get the All-Clear …

… something that might sound like, “In spite of my anxiety, I realize I’m ready enough;” or “As much as I dread rejection, I still know I am good at what I do.”

… then the question changes from “Is this a bad idea?” to “Am I willing to feel this way and move forward anyway?”

Bravery isn’t the same as fearlessness. Bravery is the ability to do what you need to in spite of fear.

Need a session with the Fraud Squad? Contact me here for assistance seeing past the discomfort to your Truth.


photo credit: oseillo via photopin cc

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