Ever questioned your own legitimacy to be in a role? They call it the impostor syndrome, the feeling that you are just bluffing your way through, that soon enough you will be found out.
In the confidence of a coaching session, I have had many a leader voice such a concern.
I can feel the same way as a coach. Surely I must have it all sorted? Be achieving great things? Always follow my own advice?
Well no, not exactly.
Because as Carson and Langer encourage us to remember, we are all a work in progress. To hold this view isn’t an escape clause. It is simply an acknowledgement of our imperfect perfectness. It gives us the liberation to accept ourselves as we are, where we are and yet remain open to developing. It reminds us to laugh at ourselves. It helps us to not only tolerate but also embrace our idiosyncrasies and paradoxes; to not be paralysed by them but to use them to learn and grow. It allows us to get excited about our evolution, our ‘unfolding’, our widening and deepening consciousness. It allows us to go easy on ourselves when we trip up; we smile, get back up on our feet, dust ourselves off and start again. As Judy Dench says in the film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,
“We get up in the morning. We do our best. Nothing else matters”
- Carson, S.H and Langer, E.J (2006) Mindfulness and self-acceptance, Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 24 (1), 29-43