When You Operate Outside of Your Comfort Zone the Impostor is There

The Impostor is coming. If you are pushing yourself and growing in your skills and competencies, the impostor will show up. If the impostor is not looking over your shoulder, you are living in your comfort zone and you are not growing.

I recently had the opportunity to deliver a “lunch and learn” to a group of managers. As I looked out and saw some of them on their phones the thought arose,” Oh Shucks, they aren’t listening.” Turns out I got great reviews and two reached out to hire me.

In trying out new material I was worried it might go too far. So, when they demonstrated, what is today normal behavior, like, checking their phone, I told my self a story. The part of me that wants to keep me safe in my comfort zone stepped in to say:

  • “Who are you to try this?”
  • “What makes you think they are interested?”
  • “Your stories are not relevant.”

The Impostor

All of those statements were false. It was just my ego trying to protect me.

Several years ago after 14 years in my corporate job, I reached the point where I said, “I’ve made it. I can retire here.” I thought I can continue at this pace – this is comfortable. Nine months later, the company was sold and 6 months later I was with a new company fighting for my career. I had become comfortable and had stopped growing and then life happened.

After several years of trying to recreate that comfortable place in my career with no success, I had to re-create myself. I have been wrestling with the impostor ever since. And then there was the day I was on my way to visit a client. I had those voices. Remember the three above:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you know?
  • She’s not interested.

I recognized the impostor for what it was…an impostor. The real me was stretching beyond my comfort zone. And what a successful client meeting. He moved forward to make the change he wanted and landed a bigger job and more responsibility.

Every time we step out of our comfort zone the Impostor will show up. When it does, we have two choices. We can listen to the impostor’s voice thinking it is our own. Or we can recognize that it just wants to keep us comfortable.

  • Comfortable will not get the sale.
  • Comfortable will not get the date.
  • Comfortable will not bring success.

Learn to co-exist with the impostor and you will be surprised at your success.


If you would like to explore how you can co-exist with the impostor let’s schedule a chat.

Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com/photos/mask-businessman-kaufmann-second-3829017/

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