Breaking Free from What's Been Holding You Back

Photo by felip1

Photo by felip1

“I don’t feel like an impostor anymore because of you!”

That was part of the greeting I received from someone very excited to see me at Agile Midwest last week—all because of a coaching conversation we’d had two years ago. It was incredible to see how happy she is now.

In March, I’d shared a story at Scrum Gathering Canada about how I initially felt like an impostor as an agile coach. I didn’t feel like I compared to other agile coaches I knew. It took me a while to realize that every coach is different. Sharing that story and how each day I told myself, “I am an agile coach” until I believed it felt freeing. And it got tweeted:

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 8.02.15 AM.png

Impostor syndrome is normal, and yet it can be so isolating to experience. It can hold us back. I started reading How Women Rise recently, and it includes 12 self-limiting habits common to women—habits that we can change if we can notice them. The message has been resonating for me, and as I’ve brought it up in conversations, it seems to resonate with others too.

How have you shifted away from thoughts and behaviors that may be getting in your way?

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

The Impostor is an Overachiever

Photo by Moo Kitty

Photo by Moo Kitty

Impostor syndrome can happen to anyone at anytime, and it can cause us to play small in our lives. Make us feel like we’re frauds. That stinks because there’s so much good that we can do when we’re living our values and using our strengths. Our inner critic—our saboteur—can eat us alive through its endless comparisons, need to please, and perfectionism. And then I read about what can derail leadership, and this statement stopped me in my tracks:

The impostor is an overachiever.

Ouch--overachieving is my norm!

Thankfully I’ve gained more awareness of my commitments (and over-commitments) and learned to evaluate how I spend my time against my values. I even managed to have an entire week where I was home each night not too long ago—that’s never happened. My husband and I started dating in college, and back then, I had evening classes and extracurricular activities that would have prevented me from being home. I was busy earning three Bachelors degrees, leading a professional engineering fraternity on my campus, and swing dancing socially. That was years and years ago, so like I said—overachieving is my norm.

It would be unrealistic to think that I’d cut my commitments in half and do a lot less. When I'm considering a new project or opportunity, the trick is to not choose from a place of fear, like I'm not enough. It helps my "yes" to be more meaningful.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.