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Rise Well

Mental Wellness The Curse of Imposter Syndrome
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Following a brilliant workshop at The Conduit led by Executive Coaches Lisa Quinn and Nicky Chambers I felt excited to share their wisdom in a short blog post, which hopefully gives you a taste of how you can beat the dreaded imposter syndrome!

Most people would have experienced Imposter Syndrome at one point or another. Generally speaking, women tend to suffer from this a lot more than men and it usually strikes the high achievers amongst us.

For those who are not familiar with Imposter Syndrome it is that self-doubt you have of your own ability, an inadequacy for the position you find yourself in or a sense of fraudulence despite your achievements which have led you to be where you are.

We all have an inner critic that act like saboteurs within us (cue The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters). We are hard wired to worry what people think of us and we have a negative bias, all of which are completely normal as this is just a hangover from primitive times and we were evolved like that to keep us safe.   However, whilst it is normal, it isn’t useful most of the time.

 

“You think, ‘why would anyone want to see me again in a movie?’ and I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?” – Meryl Streep

 

So, what is the key? There are many techniques and there is no one size fits all. What might resonate with you will not work for the next person. But one thing is true, it takes practise and you need to work at it to create new neural pathways as you would to build muscle at the gym.

A common technique is to flip the situation and imagine what your best friend would say to you in a situation where you are experiencing imposter syndrome. Having this different perspective is a useful tool.   This isn’t fluffy, this is scientific. When we are kind to someone or they are kind to us it floods our body’s with oxytocin, the ‘cuddle’ hormone and we feel loved and have a sense of belonging, something humans need to survive.

Another technique which I have found very useful is visualisation. There are various scripts you can listen to which guides you to invite your inner wisdom in, which is basically the more powerful, fearless version of you, which is actually inside all of us.

Finally, I want to share a quick reference tool when you find yourself in an Imposter Syndrome situation and all you must remember is A, B, C.

A= Awareness– pause and notice how you are feeling. How is the feeling physically showing up in your body? Tight chest? Fast breathing? The more you practise meditation the easier this will become.

B= Breathe– slowly inhale for 5 seconds, pause, and breathe out for 8 seconds and this will calm the nervous system and communicate to your body that you are not in danger.

C= Choice– remember we always have a choice about how we decide to perceive a situation. We can either engage with our inner critic or our inner, powerful leader.

I partner with some amazing coaches who bring out the brilliance in you and help you overcome this feeling of not being enough. This can be arranged on a one-to-one basis or within a corporate wellness event. Please get in touch for more information.