How to avoid feeling like a fraud when you’re good, but not perfect.

Have you ever known someone who is really passionate about what they do? They are talented and skilled, and because they love it so much, they bring a ‘special something’ to their work…. Yet, they are plagued by doubts.

Like this yoga teacher I knew. She was deeply devoted to her work, a brilliant teacher and her students loved her. Yet, she once confided that she secretly worried, “How can I teach yoga, when my own yoga practice isn’t perfect?”

It’s suprising how many people never follow their passion as a business, because they want to be ‘perfect’ before they help others.

And those who do step out to share their skills with the world, can still be plagued by guilt because they aren’t… you guessed it, perfect!

If you can relate to any of these scenarios, you probably recognise the vicious cycle that underpins them:

The more we judge ourselves, the less confident we feel. This lack of confidence can subtly manifest in our work, affecting the quality of products amd service, and giving us ammunition to judge ourselves again.

…Meanwhile, you do have genuine talents, skill and passion to share. If you hold back, it’s not just you who misses out. Your clients – even your future clients – are deprived of receiving the gifts you have to bring.

In this cycle of self-judgment and withholding, nobody wins.

Now, imagine a seed that sprouts and begins to grow.

At first glance, it appears to be independent, having everything it needs within it to grow… But it isn’t.

The little plant is entirely dependent on sunlight, soil, water… Invisibly and subtly, these forces become part of its structure, and enable its stem to shoot up higher.

No one expects a plant to grow and flower without light, soil, water… Even when it’s fully grown, no one expects it to survive without the same needs being met.

Just like this, you cannot expect to become a leader or expert in your field without having needs. And no matter how talented, famous, skilled or experienced you become, those needs will always… still… need to be met.

You don’t have to be the perfect yogi to teach yoga.

And you don’t have to be perfect to help others.

If you are passionate about your work, and dedicated to your trade, you have probably already learned more than enough to share valuable information and skills with others.

And the more you acknowledge – without judging or hiding – your humanness and your own needs for guidance and support… all the places where you are not yet perfect…  the faster you will grow, and the more you will be able to share.

Granted, it can feel tender and uncomfortable, the space between when a need is acknowledged, and when it is met. But this little discomfort is well worth bearing. Unless the need is acknowledged and allowed, it is virtually impossible for it to be met.

So, be gentle with yourself, and try it now…

As a business person, you need to acknowledge your needs.

You have both professional and personal needs. And you have needs that are physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

Make a big, fat list of all of them… Or at least the most important ones in each area.

As you review your list, remember that Life is a complex, interdependent ecosystem, and where there is a need in one part of the system, the resources to fill that need also exist somewhere else.

Then ask yourself: Am I taking responsibility for my needs? Am I asking for help? Am I allowing myself to receive it? How can I open the door to letting Life meet my needs?

Like a plant turns to the sun, when you turn your needs toward the most appropriate and wholesome sources of support in your life… You get to feel grounded and strong, able to grow and flower.

And you can keep doing this, again and again, so you continue to be nourished, to grow, and to give your gifts to the world

…Just like a plant continues to depend on sunlight, water and soil to thrive… its whole life long.



3 Responses

  1. Jenny Ryan says:

    “If you are passionate about your work, and dedicated to your trade, you have probably already learned more than enough to share valuable information and skills with others.”

    Thank you for reminding me of this!!

  2. sueokieffe says:

    perfectionism. ah yes. i need daily reminders about this issue. thank you. being in huge learning curve right now with things i don’t know, it is always good to remember the things that i do. thank you for writing this post.

  3. yollana says:

    Hi Sue and Jenny,

    Thank you both for your posts… Of course, I write this stuff because I also need to remember! Some lessons never wear out, do they?

    Blessings, Yollana