How to Make a Huge Decision Even While Struggling with Imposter Syndrome

When you struggle with Imposter Syndrome, it can be difficult to make big decisions about your career (or your life).

That self-doubt, that questioning...

Are these valid concerns going round your head?

Or is it just your inner critic trying to keep you small?

It can be very hard to tell.

And that can be a life-changing problem...

And it's been something two of my clients have been dealing with this week alone!

So today's blog looks at four ways you can approach these crossroads, to help you feel confident in your big decision 😁💪

1. Focus on your end goal

The first question to ask yourself is, how will this decision take me closer to my end goal?

Obviously, for this to be effective you have to know what your desired end goal is - which is why I always start with defining that whenever I support a client through decision-making.

  • Where are you trying to get to?

  • What does your ideal career look/ sound like?

  • How would you feel about it?

  • What do you want to look back on after retirement and feel proud of achieving?

Once you have confidence in where you're going, long-term, it's much easier then to assess how far this decision now will take you towards that - or not.

2. Consider your values

Your values are the things you hold dear, deep down. The truths upon which you operate.

Everybody's are different: some may value frugality; some may value service; some may value beauty; or honesty; or decisiveness.

But if you end up in a career where your values are compromised in some way, it WILL make you unhappy.

I had a client who was a project manager in the banking sector, and was very unhappy.

Through working on her values we realised her value of honesty was being compromised daily, because she felt she was pretending to care about, and be interested in, something she was indifferent to (the world of finance).

So she moved her project management delivery into the health sector, which she DID believe in - and that made all the difference.

So another fundamental of my coaching is to establish your values.

Then when you have a big decision to make, you can consider it with these front of mind.

And again, by comparing the possible outcomes of the decision with something very specific, you are leaving less room for your inner critic to confuse and mislead you.

3. Know your Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's famous Hierarchy of Needs starts with food, water, shelter and rest, and progresses up the pyramid through security and belonging to self-esteem and finally self-actualisation.

I'm not disputing these - but actually I ask all my clients to develop their own, personal version of their career Hierarchy of Needs.

These are the practical parameters that shape how our career fits into our life - and they can make a huge difference to how happy you are.

For some clients this includes being available for school pick-up; for others working four day weeks for their mental health; for one client it meant avoiding activities that triggered his allergies.

It could also include not travelling for work; or working from home half the time.

Or it could relate to the type of work you do: either having management responsibilities, or not; or working on longer-term projects, or shorter-term urgent deadlines (or not).

All of these are logistical factors that might not seem that important - but to you as an individual, they are things that will have a significant impact, and in some cases, are complete deal-breakers.

So first, define your Hierarchy of Needs!

What are your logistical factors that will make a difference to your career contentment?

And once you know them, again work out how this decision shapes up against them.

Take the emotional confusion generated by your inner critic OUT of the decision, by basing it on analysis.

(In some cases I actually ask clients to score these categories by importance, then score the different outcomes of the decision, to come up with an actual number - it can be really helpful to get it that literally factual 😁)

4. Interrogate the fears

So far, the approach has been to bypass the fears generated by your inner critic by using objective analysis instead.

This is really effective!

You don't need to engage with the fears, you can choose to ignore them (not give them credence), and instead work around them.