Have you ever had a major change in your life and wondered what the hell was going on? Had feelings of you not being you? Unsure of your identity, how you see yourself? Moving into a new way of life but feel like a fraud? Suffering from the ‘feel-fraud’ factor?
Major changes are catalysts that push us into unknown territory. They can be one of 3 types: a shock, something sudden or major such as a death, diagnosis, winning the lottery; an opportunity which is always a lucky break; or a transition which develops slowly inside you until you finally have to face the fact something in your behaviour or your life has to give.
My catalyst was cancer diagnosis but over 3 years of treatment with relatively little side effects I had only made tentative life changes. It wasn’t until I had a bad reaction to the treatment, causing chronic severe pain and making me housebound for over a year that the shock really hit me. There was going to have to be a major change from now on.
No more 14+ hours a day on location, usually in the UK rain. No more unhealthy catering meals including the obligatory 6am fry up and tray of curled sandwiches of lunch left overs and insulin inducing cakes at tea time. No more arriving at venues before sunrise to oversee event builds, timed to the nth degree with the client breathing down your neck; all to promote their brand. Nope. No more thank you very much.
This catalyst was life giving me an opportunity to do something that felt more in line with ‘me’. My lifestyle had to be a healthier and calmer one from now on.
Why I Felt Like a Fraud
Going through a major change isn’t easy. There’s the initial fear of what you’ve lost and then more fear about what lies ahead. As I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone to make tracks into my new life within the wellness industry I’ve had moments of feeling odd. Like an imposter, a fraud.
For example, I’ve recently begun teaching yoga again after an 18 month break. It’s amazing how your confidence can drop if you don’t keep something up, so teaching again has been a bit nerve wracking.
There I was standing in front of the class talking through a pose and singing the benefits of yin. I was hearing myself speak but it wasn’t ‘me’. What were those words I was saying? Was that really me? I felt strange. I felt like a fraud.
Then there was that client whose downward dog looked quite pained. After doing the pose with him, I realised what was causing him grief and voila! There he was, in a lovely downward dog – apparently, according to him, the first time he’d done one properly. Blimey! I did that! But how could I? I’m not really a yoga teacher (as I envisage a yoga teacher should be). I’m just a fraud.
Then I had a consultation with a housebound client suffering from lung cancer. I was met with the opening line, “I don’t like yoga. I don’t like meditation. Not sure what you can do for me.” Phew! That was a challenge but again I heard myself speaking from the heart, although I felt uncomfortable. I spoke of my personal experience and own battle and afterwards her face said it all. She had really heard me. She’d heard my truth and opened up to the possibility of accepting some help.
I did that too! Really? But surely it can’t be that easy? It must have been luck. I’m a fraud.
So can you see the common denominator here? The feel-fraud factor?
But can you also see the way through this?
How to stop feeling like a fraud
The power in overcoming the feel-fraud factor is to focus on providing value to other people. Although I had those moments of feeling uncomfortable, I came away feeling empowered by my experiences by focusing on others. I feel like a fraud when I’m concerned about myself. What will they think of me? If I fail they’ll laugh at me. I’m not as good as that other person.
Take the focus way from yourself. Stop being concerned about yourself. Think of others and what they may need at that time. And definitely don’t compare yourself to anyone else!
I’ve realised that I’m going to have many of these moments as I traverse the road into a new life but know that the fastest way to get over feeling like a fraud, is to genuinely try to help someone else.
Try it and see how it works for you. I’d love to hear about it!
Fun photo thanks to: Mickiemc