In early 2019, I was coming off of an MVP year.
I was #1 in the organization in total bookings…by a large margin. I had already locked in life-changing income. Other people were coming up and asking me how I had closed such large deals.
I wasn’t confident…at least inside.
I felt like a fraud. I felt like I got lucky. I was downplaying my success. I was convinced I was an imposter, and at any moment, I was going to be found out and all the success would come crashing down or to a screeching halt!
Unfortunately, this is common thinking for a lot of high-achievers. However, there is a silver lining.
Imposter syndrome is a healthy sign
I realized I needed help. I was already working for a great manager, had an awesome team around me, and a top-notch sales coach. But I still needed to overcome these limiting beliefs.
So I started working with a performance coach who specialized in helping SaaS sellers overcome imposter syndrome.
In our first handful of sessions, I explained my situation. I went on further to explain that I was feeling tons of doubts in my role, because here I was advising Fortune 100 level brands on how to transform their customer experience as an introverted college dropout, when these C-Level executives were accustomed to taking their advice from Harvard MBA-toting consultants from Deloitte and Accenture.
It was a breathe of fresh air when Amber explained: “Of course you’re going to feel like an imposter! You’re doing things you’ve never done before! Imposter syndrome is extremely common, in fact it’s a healthy sign of growth, especially in sales where this is no set defined path to success.”
That was a pivotal moment in my career. Then…we got to work!
The power of a self coaching model
Once we established that these beliefs were common, and in fact a sign that I was progressing to bigger and better things, she introduced me to a self coaching model that became an indispensable tool for me.
We walked through how it works, and once I saw it, the light bulb went off and started shining bright. It became so clear. Before, I felt like I was navigating in a dark tunnel without a flashlight. Now a spotlight was fully turned all the way up!
Having a self coaching model in place meant I could take back my power any time I needed it.
The CTFAR framework
The foundation for the self coaching model is something called CTFAR, and it works like this:
Circumstances: These are facts that nobody could dispute in a court of law. Here was one example for me: “I needed to communicate with others in my sales role.”
The fact that I needed to communicate in my sales role was 100% provable…it wasn’t up for debate.
But don’t get me wrong, this took some work with my coach to find this neutrality because I started with what I thought was a fact – “I don’t communicate well with others in my sales role.” That statement was actually my belief, and it was certainly open for debate (because I obviously communicated well enough in my sales role to find the success that I had).
→ Try this: Write down all of the facts of your role that are neutral and not open to debate.
Thoughts: These are your beliefs in your head stemming from that circumstance. It’s your opinion.
For me at that time, I was really struggling with how I thought my important meetings ran. I had this internal belief: “I don’t start strong enough in my meetings or on calls.” But these thoughts were not a fact, simply my opinion. This is where most high performers get tripped up because everything following will be a product of your thoughts.
→ Remember this: Your thoughts are not facts. The key is to become more intentional with them.
Feelings: These are the emotions produced from your thoughts.
Some coaches describe them as “vibrations in your body.” You do you boo, but the bottom line is how you feel is purely based on how you think. No one can cause you to feel a certain way. Your thoughts about what someone did (or didn’t do) are what cause you to feel something.
→ Note this: We can’t always feel great, but feeling bad is a choice because feelings stem from thoughts, not from someone else.
Actions: These are what you do, don’t do, or react to fueled by your feelings.
When I thought I didn’t start strong enough in meetings, it made me feel scared going into big ones with a room full of executives. The action I took would be me rambling, not delivering clear insights, and I’d be unable to tell a good story that builds trust and drives action.
→ Try this: If you’re action (or non action) are not ideal, ask yourself what the feeling is that you’re having right before you want to take action. Then, work backwards to determine what thought is driving that feeling.
Results: These are the consequences or outcomes of your actions, inactions, or reactions.
In my unintentional thought model, I would lose opportunities because of my actions above. But that didn’t have to be the case, and after working through several of these models, I gained the reps to become more conscious of my thinking. This was a simple, but profound shift in my career to harmonize what was happening on the outside with what I needed on the inside.
→ Remember this: Your results will reinforce your thoughts. That means unintentional thoughts lead to unintentional results keeping you in a cycle of stagnation. Become more intentional and you’ll reframe those limiting beliefs.
Now you can see that most coaching is flawed because it tries to influence your actions. That’s just treating the symptom and won’t get you very far. The key is to focus on improving your thinking and feelings that lead to your actions. That’s where the real power lies!
- Imposter syndrome is a healthy sign of growth
- Circumstances are neutral facts and trigger our thoughts
- Thoughts are opinions about those facts and produce feelings
- Feelings are emotions, either good or bad, and generate actions
- Actions are what you do, don’t do, or how you react and cause results
- Results are the consequences and will reinforce your thoughts
- Get a certified coach, like I did, to help make this journey easier
- Download my models to get real sales examples and a head start
See you next time!
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (1,800+ students)
2. Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
3. Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)