The true cost of impostor syndrome

Is impostor syndrome holding you back and preventing you from realising your full potential? Read on to find out how to stop feeling like a fraud and enjoy more of what you love.

 

Imposter SyndromeImpostor syndrome is often accompanied by high levels of anxiety and feelings of self-doubt, impacting the person’s sense of their own worth, impeding their progress and preventing them from easily realising their full potential.

Impostor syndrome does not discriminate by profession, gender or age.  Anyone can fall prey as it worms itself into the psyche, creating an internal narrative that questions one’s ability, experience and, eventually, one’s very existence.  Thoughts take the form of ‘who do you think you are’ and present a less than humble view of ourselves, suggesting egotistical self importance and dishonesty. 

Trying to rationalise impostor syndrome is like trying to talk down a tired toddler on a sugar rush; infuriating, exhausting and futile.

Impostor syndrome often occurs when a person embarks on a learning journey and wishes to share their knowledge and experience with others, reaching a stage where they know more than the average person in the street yet still with more to learn, to master the subject fully.  Realising the impact the learning has had for them they take the courageous step to share it with others.

As a practitioner, instructor, teacher or sharer of information/knowledge/experience, we provide a safe space where students may explore different ideas and their own relationship with them, where questions can be asked and debated.  It is no teachers job to be the font of all knowledge, but a guide imparting wisdom, stimulating the curiosity of those who wish to learn, wherever they may be on their journey.

Authenticity is the new rock ‘n roll

It is impossible for  authenticity and impostor syndrome to co-exist.  The authentic practitioner/teacher knows and works within the current limits of their own learning, seeking to continually deepen/broaden their knowledge and allowing themselves the space and time to grow.

shoulders of giants

Knowledge + Experience = wisdom

Human beings are effective recycling units, accumulating knowledge and experience and passing it on as wisdom, providing a foundation for the next generation to springboard from.  The more we go through in life, the more we learn.  Impostor syndrome makes us doubt our own wisdom and prevents us from sharing it with others. True, we may not yet know the answers but we know the combinations we have tried and can pass on the baton to give those that follow a running start.

Impostor syndrome prevents that baton from being passed on.  The richness of your knowledge and experience is lost to history and subsequent endeavours must start from zero.  Consider for a moment the impact of that on your own life. Quickly think of 10 things you know about  because someone else shared their wisdom with you. From ironing a shirt to splitting the atom, all learning builds on the input and experience of others.

Impostor syndrome perpetuates the negative internal narrative that holds us back, reinforcing our lack of self worth and impeding our progress. 

Just for today, consider what could happen if you shared your wisdom and it helped someone else have a better day.  How would that be?


Tips to combat Impostor syndrome

  • Acknowledge how far you’ve come / how much you’ve learned.

Reflect on where you were before you began studying your subject of interest.              What have you learned? How have you changed?

  • Seek feedback

Asking for feedback can feel terrifying but it serves a dual purpose.  Feedback encourages your clients/students to reflect on their experience and learning, it also provides you with regular insights into your practice, what is working for people and how you might improve/refine your practice.  Written feedback can be easier to process but, either way, ask your clients and students for feedback on 4 aspects:

  1. What did they learn
  2. What did they enjoy
  3. What didn’t they enjoy
  4. What changes could you make to improve their experience
  • Make a record of ALL your achievements

From learning to walk to passing your last exam, from getting out of bed on a challenging day to working with your first client/student.  Recording and reviewing personal achievements creates a firm foundation from which to build self confidence plus it’s a great tool to get you back on track on a difficult day.

  • Talk about it

You will be amazed how many of the people you respect and admire have experienced impostor syndrome. Allow yourself to learn from them and stand on the shoulders of giants.


Impostor syndrome is one of the unhelpful belief systems I help people to acknowledge, address and change in my 1-2-1 kinesiology clinic sessions.

When you’re ready to step into your true self and realise your full potential, please get in touch to find out how.

I look forward to working with you

How to change the world

When something isn’t working it’s human nature to try to change the situation to create something that suits us better.  It’s easy to decide what external factors need to change to enable us to better function in the world.

However, if we work to change the situation without changing ourselves, the solution just gets further away and the perceived problem is magnified.

As we find fault with the world around us it creates a mindset focused on what is wrong with the world and just how monumental the changes required are, this can become daunting, overwhelming even.

Turning our gaze inward is a productive use of our limited internal resources, exploring what we can do differently to begin teaching the world how to adjust; creating a space where change is within our gift, it is what we proactively give to the world.

The easiest and kindest way to change the situation is to begin by emulating the change we wish to see.

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Be kind, be the change you wish to see in the world

 

By demonstrating the change we would like to experience we become part of the solution and that’s infectious.  There are various theories around why this is and the simplest one is that good ideas stick.

Share a smile, a kindness, a compliment, your time.

Be the change and watch how quickly the world changes around you

 

 

How many men does it take to dig a hole?

I was reminded of a profound lesson again recently.

I was discussing the impact of perspective with a group of my colleagues, it is the topic of many philosophical debates, that’s for certain.

Each person has a completely individual perspective, colouring their view of the world and making the same world appear totally different to anyone else’s.  Our perspective pre-programs us to select certain information from every situation,   information that reinforces our own personal world.  When we find ourselves in situations that are wholly contrary to our own perspective it creates some uncomfortable ‘culture shocks’, these can have a dramatic impact.

What we look for is what we see, even if what we look for isn’t even there.
This is known as a self fulfilling prophecy.
Try it yourself with this simple exercise:

Go to your sock drawer and say ‘I can’t find my favourite socks’ – Do you see them? Now go back to your sock drawer and say ‘I’m just finding my favourite socks’ – Do you see them now?

In my work and personal life I have witnessed people who are, seemingly surrounded by love, friendship and warmth, experience such profound ‘culture shocks’ that they are lead to question everything about the situation, unable to perceive a space where this happens.  It always saddens me when this happens because I realise anew, each time I see it, that love is not the universal currency I might think it is, sometimes I demonstrate love or friendship to people and they are suspicious, questioning what they are feeling because they do not recognise it.

In my long and varied career I have worked in situations where £1 can mean the world to one person and has no value at all to another, it all depends on perspective and I try to keep myself level by recalling this lovely quote ‘To the world you may be one person but, to one person, you are the world”

Perspective informs our world view, of course, so when we decide to broaden our perspective that can feel extremely uncomfortable.  We may start to witness behaviours in ourselves that do not gel with a broader world, or we may experience perspectives that we find difficult to accept.  This is where we can learn to accept other perspectives, we don’t have to agree with them, we can choose to acknowledge them as part of life’s rich tapestry and move on.

We each have the opportunity to create the reality we experience and that is a courageous choice, it can mean freeing ourselves of all the emotional baggage and pain we carry around with us.  It can mean looking at life and seeing what is, rather than what we expect to be.

When I embarked on my own therapeutic journey I didn’t feel brave; anything but.  I felt exhausted and desperate.  My perspective of the world was: whenever I took a step forward I would be pushed 2 steps back. My perspective of me was that I was broken. In many ways I was.

When I reflect on that time in my life now I realise that while I may have been shattered on the outside, inside me a small light still burned,  I think of it as my inner pilot light, because, in the worst of dark times, it kept me going.

When I began my therapeutic journey I remember feeling very scared. What if I couldn’t get beyond this state of broken, what if I couldn’t mend, what if my experience of life was all there was?

Then I would focus on that little light inside myself and ask softly ‘and what if it’s not?’

when you change the things you look at, the thinkgs you look at changeplaceholder (1)

When we change the things we look at, the things we look at change.  I started to look at wellness rather than illness. I began to value and acknowledge the small changes that occurred for me. Slowly I started to focus on being whole and, funnily enough, rather quickly, that is what I became.

I was reminded of a childhood riddle my Father asked me once

Q. If it takes 2 men 4 hours to dig a hole, how long does it take 1 man to dig half a hole?

I remember thinking, OK, it takes 2 men 4 hours so it would take 1 man 8 hours so if the hole is half then it would take one man 4 hours – rushing off to tell my Dad, full of pride at my working out and he replied ‘You can’t dig half a hole, a hole is a hole, is a hole’.

Don’t let your perspective dig you into a hole, allow yourself to open up to to a future that contains all the things you have previously desired but decided are ‘not for you’.

The only person who can make that choice is you, once you’ve made it get in touch and discuss how I can help you in your transformation.

💙