Do you have Imposter Syndrome Symptoms running your coaching business?
I see my clients often suffer from imposter syndrome, especially when I talk about money and when I teach them to charge according to their worth, and what they need in order to make this a full-time business.
The reason they cringe and feel uncomfortable, like wearing an uncomfortable, too tight, scratchy woolen sweater, is called impostor syndrome.
What is impostor syndrome? And why do I see it so much in the health and wellness industry?
Impostor syndrome means that you consider yourself not worthy or that you think you're underqualified.
A lot of it is because most of us were raised in a world or in a paradigm that the only legitimate credential that you can have is university degrees – and while I don't disagree that a lot of universities are amazing, and that you need to learn all of that stuff, and that you are totally well-taught and qualified after your degree, they're not the only institutions that will give you legitimate knowledge and know-how.
But I do find, especially in the health field, the main jobs that we compare ourselves to are MDs or psychologists, psychiatrists and so forth, so if you come from a health coach school, a lot of the time you just feel underqualified. You're like, “I don't have all this medical background” and sometimes we’re confronted with hostility. It can really make you shrink back, and it can make you feel really uncomfortable charging, especially because you have an idea of what traditional doctors' practices charge per hour.
So what can you do to get over imposter syndrome?
- I would never suggest to anyone to charge by the hour because what we do is so much more than just one hour of time. What we transfer is knowledge that we have gained through years of education, through thoroughly investing ourselves in our education, and what we deliver is a result. It's not time. It's a concrete result that your client craves, has been craving for years, and they haven't been able to get it, but with your knowledge you will be able to help them. That is the value.
In combination, though, this idea that you have to charge by the hour and that you're not qualified enough is keeping a lot of health and wellness coaches stuck and undercharging, and it leads to having to enroll too many new clients a month, which is really, really stressful. It involves having to sell, which is the worst place you could be in. I love selling, but I don't like it if I have to. Selling is something that is helping others, it's presenting your product, it's opening up an opportunity. But that is so much easier if you don't need it, right? Having this need to enroll people is super stressful, and then feeling uncomfortable with it is stressful too.
Also, if you need that many clients, even if you have them, coaching is creating space for someone. It is really emotional at times. It will drain you. It's just impossible to do. Unfortunately, a lot of online health coaching businesses or wellness businesses close every year because it's just too hard, and it's because it's not financially sustainable. That is why it's really important to investigate whether you are suffering from impostor syndrome.
Having said that, all of us do to some extent. But there's work that you can do, there are exercises that you can do, there are questions you can ask yourself in order to figure out,
- Okay, is this actually valid?
- whose benchmark am I measuring myself to? Is it yours, is it your parents', is it your friends'? Is it your surroundings', is it society's? Is it truly yours?
- Don't you know what you do is awesome?” And most of the time, you do. So going through a value evaluation is amazing.
And then forget charging by the hour!
- calculate your packages based on what you really need to make.
- Make sure you know your cash flow situation.
- Make sure you know what you need to make, and then use that as a benchmark. I talk more about this on my blog and in my masterclass on numbers and pricing, so make sure you do those exercises.
Please step away from charging by the hour. Step away from comparing yourself to other coaches, because you don't know whether they actually need the money. Some might just do it for fun. Some might have huge money issues of their own. Some might suffer from huge impostor syndrome themselves and hence they aren’t charging enough, and they’re struggling.
So please step away from that and really get clear on who you are, how amazing you are, and what you know and go from there.
I'd love to help you. So, if you have any questions, please reach out to me, and I'd be happy to help.