Do you feel like an imposter? You’re not alone.

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“I feel like such a phony! A total imposter!”, she cried. “And it’s so scary and frustrating!’

If my eyebrows could’ve gone any higher, they’d be above my hairline. I looked like an anime character having a freakout.

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard something like that (and not the last) but never with such passion.

 “Oh? What do you mean?” (Not the best comeback, I know).

“How can I say that I’m running a real business when I’ve got no idea what my numbers are or what they actually mean. Heck, I don’t even know where to start, I’m afraid of making a mistake…arghh!

It’s not the usual “imposter phenomenon” (the original name coined by Professors Clance and Imes in 1978). Wkikpedia says it’s when someone doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and is persistently in fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Originally thought to be common amongst “high-achieving women” it does affect men (but I have a sneaky suspicion that men won’t admit to it as readily as women do!).

Some studies say nearly 80% of coaches, consultants, creatives – and yes, accountants –  have it at some time in our careers.

Author John Acuff wrote recently in one of his newsletters that he thought the “fake it ‘till you make it” advice for those with imposter syndrome wasn’t a good idea. He pointed out that your brain really won’t accept anything that it knows is not reality. Instead, tell yourself a truth that you’ll accept and your brain will get on board with it.

So don’t tell yourself “I’m the world’s best public speaker”; go for “I am learning and improving and this presentation will be better than the last one”.

So why am I telling you this?

Because the same thing applies to your bookkeeping and accounting.

  1. Not HAVING an up to date set of books does not make you a fraud, a fake or an imposter. Say this out loud. Several times if you have to. Your coaching or consulting certifications and experience taught you how to be a coach and you are delivering value to your clients. 
  2. Not UNDERSTANDING your books does not make you a fraud, a fake or an imposter.Your coaching courses didn’t teach you how to “run” a business – think of this as another challenge. (“I am learning and improving”). Or, you could outsource it. (“cough-cough” – oh look there’s a bowtie-wearing, fountainpen-wielding accountant standing right over there who can help you!)
  3. Your clients don’t care if your books are up to date. Really. And I sincerely doubt that they’d hold that against you. They’ll never say “Oh what a fake! She doesn’t know her HST balance due”.

I can’t help you with full-blown imposter syndrome. That’s not my Zone of Genius. But I can help you with the bookkeeping and accounting part of it. We’ll put together a system that works for you, your books will be up to date, and tax season will be a breeze.

You’ll have a firm grasp on those key financial elements. And one less thing to worry about. How does that sound?

Have fun storming the castle, whatever your castle looks like today.

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