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Welcome to Lessons for Life, my new, ongoing video series where every week I will post a short, 3 – 6 minute video describing an exercise, tip, meditation or activity I think you will love. Every topic I discuss I truly believe will help you on your journey to self-acceptance and self-trust.
I really hope you enjoy them, they make you think and most importantly, you find them useful.
This first video is a brief but thorough look at imposter syndrome and details 4 things you can do right now to help you feel better.
I want to talk about imposter syndrome.
Those horrible feelings of inadequacy and fear and that you don’t belong in the environment you are in. Often, when we feel this way we think we have to over-perform, to excessively show our capabilities and that we have to prove ourselves, prove to others that we belong. And, we believe if we do not do this we will be “found out” and people will realise we should not be there. Often when we feel this way we believe everyone around us – the “non-imposters” are not experiencing what we are, which further confirms to us we should not be where we are. In our minds, it means we are not qualified, not good enough, and we do not have the right to be in that environment. These feelings are not nice, at all.
So, I wanted to talk to you today about this and give you a few examples of things you can do to navigate imposter syndrome.
But, before I start I want to explain how imposter syndrome and these feelings of self-doubt are such normal part of being human. Our brains think self-doubt is keeping us safe, it thinks it is keeping us from psychological risk, that it is protecting us. This is something that has evolved in our brains and biology over millions of years as something that keeps us safe and free from harm. However, as we know self-doubt holds us back.
Below are four things I hope help you and that you can return to in the moment if you are experiencing imposter syndrome. They are things that can keep you grounded, and hopefully calmer, so you ride this unpleasant emotion.
Imposter syndrome tip #1: you are not alone
Please remember you are not alone in this. I do not know anyone who has not experienced imposter syndrome at some part of their life. It is such a normal human feeling. I have a friend who is a partner in a law firm and she told me recently she still, to this day, experiences imposter syndrome. Just because people around you don’t look like they are experiencing it doesn’t mean that they are not. I promise you. Realising this helps you feel less isolated in those feelings as you remember it is a shared human experience.
Imposter syndrome tip #2: self-kindness
The practise of self-kindness. I talk about this a lot but only because it is so key. If you are struggling with feelings of inferiority or that you don’t belong, additionally berating yourself on top of that is not going to help you feel any better but, applying self-kindness and using caring words when you speak to yourself will. Research shows being critical of yourself and giving yourself a hard time does not lead to change. It is really important to start practising a kind internal voice, especially at moments like this when you need to be your own best friend.
Imposter syndrome tip #3: talk to someone
It seems like it is easier said than done or maybe even that it is too simple a tip to mention but talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling can have a significant impact on how you feel. A 5-minute phone call or a WhatsApp message to someone you trust can be all it takes to make you feel better. The simple act of letting your feelings out and talking about your struggles imposter syndrome can make you feel so much better.
Imposter syndrome tip #4
Action breeds confidence. I am going to write that again: action breeds confidence. You will not become confident by simply reading the book or listening to the podcast. You have to put what you know and have learnt into action. This and only this will lead to long term confidence. I really understand this might make you anxious but start small, start low key but most importantly start because until you do you will not gain confidence. Research shows experiencing successes (vs failures) has a more positive impact on our brain. We actually learn more from these than failures, but, we are not going to experience those successes unless we start, unless we try, and unless we take action.
I hope these 4 things have been helpful for you, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
If you enjoyed this video, I’d love for you to subscribe. New, Lessons for Life videos will be posted every week where you can find tips, exercises, meditations and learnings on self-trust, self-acceptance, values, joy and meaning.
You matter and you are important and I will carry on reminding you, and waving pom-poms for you until you know yourself.