- What is Imposter Syndrome?
- How does it show up in your life?
- Why do we Get it?
- How can we be free of it?
What is Imposter Syndrome?
The feelings of self doubt or incompetence and feeling like a fraud that prevents you from acknowledging your successes despite your personal education, your experience or your accomplishments – it often shows up at work or when you are pushing or stretching yourself in a new environment.
How does it show up?
- Feels like you never have enough skills / accreditations – so you are always studying or working harder to compensate.
- Might play small – holding yourself back to avoid being judged – May even move jobs a lot to avoid appraisals
- Avoids having to do presentations or public speaking (Who am I to be doing this?)
- Might become a workaholic – working extremely long hours to “justify” your success or to try and ‘earn’ success
- Doesn’t reward themselves for success – perceives success as “got lucky” or in the right place at the right time, or only got promoted because they are the one still there last thing at night.
- Unable to process positive feedback – (how do you respond when someone says you did a great job today?)
- Might be a procrastinator – this is another avoidance mechanism to keep you from showing up and being exposed.
- Might become a perfectionist – holding yourself back again in order to avoid judgement that the work was not perfect/not good enough. Done is better than perfect – (from me, a recovering perfectionist 😉 )
- Starts projects but never seems to finish them – or has great ideas but never acts on them. It’s easier to say “that was my idea and it was a great one and I could have been xxx” rather than to actually do it and risk being rejected or failing.
- Hates exams or tests.
- Tends to have a fixed mindset and doesn’t like to try anything new
- Tends to have shallow relationships and no deep and meaningful friendships and relationships.
- Feeling fearful of making a mistake and looking like a fool
- Feel unsure as to why someone would give you authority or promotion – feel unsure about accepting – internal stories about how your success is a fluke and you aren’t worthy
- No-one in your circle of influence has done anything like you’re trying to do – no great role models for you
- Eventually this can lead to feelings of anxiety and/or depression
- Feeling like if you ask for help – it means you’re not good enough – it feels shameful in some way.
Do you recognise any of those?
- What behaviours do you do?
- What are these behaviours protecting you from? –
- what benefits are you getting from this?
- What is it holding you back from? The brain will do anything to protect you from pain.
- What is the deeper negative belief you have about yourself that is feeding all of this? – It’s always untrue – they are not based in any reality.
Why do we get Imposter Syndrome?
When we look at most of those ways that imposter syndrome shows up, it’s like a list of “I’m not worthy, I’m fearful of rejection/embarrassment/failing, I’m not confident, I’m not enough”
So does this feeling hold you back?
Usually YES – unless you learn to channel it and turn it into a positive feeling.
Well you’re in good company – people like Albert Einstein and the COO of Facebook Cheryl Sandberg, and Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Penelope Cruz and many other actors and actresses have reportedly suffered from this strange phenomena.
Now would you say these people haven’t been successful – well they are….but its because they’ve learned to use it to their advantage and can channel the energy into spurring them into action.
Now you can read all sorts of articles on the internet about the different types of imposter syndrome and how it shows up, but none of them really delve deep into what causes it and WHY we have it.
Now if you’ve listened to any of my Masterclasses then you probably know that as a Therapist who understands how to train your mind to accept transformational change, I can tell you that you are able to reframe these thoughts before they get out of hand.
To understand fully on why we suffer from this, then please watch my FREE Masterclass on the subject of Imposter Syndrome.
But let me give you a real live example of a client – I’ve obviously changed her name to protect her privacy.
Client Example – “Amanda”
I had a client who suffered from anxiety but was a big sufferer of imposter syndrome that only showed up at exam time or when she was having to put herself out there for her own business – she overworked on a huge scale that made her ill, but she always did really well.
it affected her in a lot of ways, but (under light hypnosis) I asked her mind to take us to a scene in her childhood that was all to do with why this was in her life (it’s pretty much ALWAYS from your childhood and usually between the ages of 2-8 years old!)
Her mind took us to about 3 different scenes, that on their own don’t sound too significant but when put together she understood immediately why she had formed beliefs about herself that she was not good enough.
- When she was 9 years old and she was given the Head prefect of the junior school but she had felt very unworthy of it because she felt she had done nothing to actually achieve it – she had felt strange and undeserving and the feeling was not good for her.
- Another scene took us to watching her Mum and Dad come in from work tired, but seemingly happy, but a little stressed too and always telling her she must work hard to achieve anything in her life.
- Then we were taken to a scene where she had been working hard and had fallen asleep and had forgotten to do her homework. She had quickly copied a friends work and knew that this was not the best. Her teacher made her stand up and take some criticism. She made the belief right there that she must never submit work that wasn’t done properly and where she had not worked really hard for because otherwise she would always be “found out”.
All the scenes put together showed her that this was the origin of the feeling of imposter – because she didn’t feel worthy of getting anything unless she worked very hard at something – so her value and her self worth was not for just BEING – it was linked to working hard and achieving.
Once we were able to reframe her beliefs and suggest some new, more empowering ones, and then do a tailored hypnosis audio for her to listen to for about 21 days, she was able to move on much more purposefully in her life and now works half the hours she used to for about 4 times the financial reward, plus her anxiety is now gone!
So I could go on about client examples all day long but I want to show you how to stop these feelings when they start to come up.
Now if this is plaguing you to the point that you now suffer from a generalised anxiety around this sort of thing then please get in touch – you can really can be free of it and it usually takes just one Rapid Transformation Therapy (RTT ) session 2.5 hrs and a month of listening to a personalised hypnosis audio and having some check ins with me to keep your mind on track.
Lets move on to what YOU can do
How to be free of Imposter syndrome
- Firstly – take a look around at what’s really going on – is it YOU making this belief about yourself or is there something else going on – is someone deliberately making you feel uncomfortable about your sex, race, religion, your sexual preference, there is a BIG difference between YOU having self doubt and being made to feel unworthy because of how you identify. Any company of any reputation, WILL have HR policies to protect you.
- Understand that when this happens, it is your mind trying to step in and alert you to something that happened in the past that made you feel guilty, shamed, not enough, not worthy, embarrassed, rejected, stupid, not seen, not safe……and the situation you are now in is triggering some old feelings.
1). Bring these feelings into your conscious mind and understand that your beliefs about yourself are NOT always true – they are based on decisions and beliefs that you made about yourself when you a child.
2). Sit with the feeling and see if you can trace it back in your mind to where it originated. With practice your mind WILL show you this and it’s almost always in your childhood around the ages of 2-8 years old when your brain waves are literally in hypnosis and you absorb everything very quickly to program your mind with.
3). Decide if this old belief is serving you any more (hint: NO!!)
4). Decide to believe that you are worthy for simply being YOU (because that is the truth) and that your value or self worth is not linked to anything and then tell yourself some new empowering beliefs every day in the mirror when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed. This is called the “Mirroring Technique” and is very powerful.
5) Repeat these new empowering beliefs to yourself over and over until your mind accepts them as the truth about you. Set some goals and celebrate wins – when you don’t have goals you show up and react to life. When we react to life we are running on our sub-conscious mind – auto pilot. We need goals to move towards that gives us a sense of achievement. Set career goals, financial goals, relationship goals and health goals and then break them down into deadlines – what do I need to do each month, each week and then each day. When you have goals, you give your mind a focus – like getting in a car and setting the navigation to where you want to go. If you don’t have that , you don’t have confidence of where you’re going – you’re just allowing things to happen to you. Where there is no confidence there is no clarity.
Often Imposter Syndrome is because you don’t know what to do – no competence equals no confidence – it’s a loop. Imposter Syndrome strikes usually when you are trying to make a change and are moving forwards in your life – but you never celebrated each win along the way so that these wins are being integrated into your identity – you MUST move forward, build momentum and then celebrate each win because then you will feel you earned it. Then you don’t feel lucky and like an imposter – you feel like you EARNED it because you showed up every single day.
Visualising yourself doing something actually helps you build the skill for it – research proves this. You are literally changing the network of neurons.
So I hope that’s helped you to understand a little more about why you may have Imposter Syndrome. If you would like to see the Masterclass I did about this topic then you can register for my FREE Masterclasses – Click Here
The thinking that got you where you are today – is not the thinking that will get you where you want to be.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – it all starts with a thought.