Imposter Syndrome

So today I opened by blog page up and saw I’ve hit 100 followers and I’m absolutely BUZZING! 😊

Thank you so much to everyone who has been following, liking, sharing, commenting and reading it honestly means so much! It has also given me the perfect inspiration for my post today.

Just under a year ago in lockdown 1.0 I decided to start up this blog and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I procrastinated and put off setting it up and writing my first post. I can still remember all of the thoughts that were going through my head at the time:

  • Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?
  • Do I even have anything interesting to write about?
  • So many other people know more than me
  • Can I write about things I am not an ‘expert’ in?
  • Will people negatively comment on my posts?
  • I am so bad at writing and grammar people will just think I am an idiot
  • I am embarrassed people are going to judge me

I have to be honest I would say the first 10 posts were a real struggle because I was overthinking everything, I kept avoiding writing a new post because it felt too hard, I kept worrying I was talking too much about myself and not helping others enough and put simply I just felt totally out of my depth. Then I remembered a podcast I listened to on a walk the other day which spoke about imposter syndrome. I remember listening to this podcast and having one of those penny drop moments in my brain. I suffer from this ALL OF THE TIME! As it resonated with me so much, I decided to do a bit more research on it and make it my blog topic for today. Hopefully by the end of this you’ll understand what imposter syndrome is, why we may experience it, the classic signs and how we can work to improve our mindset.

Imposter syndrome refers to an internal feeling of not being worthy or competent enough of the success we may be having in life, or undeserving of the esteem in which others hold us in. In other words, we feel like a bit of a fraud and this can be not only in terms of our intelligence and our achievements but also our social status. Although imposter syndrome to my knowledge is not a clinically recognised disorder it is believed that many of us over a lifetime will experience these feelings and for some, they may be persistent over time.

There are many factors which can influence imposter syndrome, firstly our backgrounds can play a role and it may be that those who come from higher achieving families are more susceptible to developing these thoughts. Changes to our environment can also play a role for example changing jobs, opening a new business and starting a family to name a few as well as new challenges we may face such as a promotion or even something smaller like starting a blog! Finally, those who already suffer with higher levels of anxiety may be more at risk of developing negative thoughts around their success.

There are many different signs to look out for with imposter syndrome. These include:

  • Self-doubt and a lack of self confidence
  • Fear of failure stopping you from progressing or achieving further
  • Believing your success is due to external factors and mostly just luck
  • Fear of not living up to people’s expectations of you
  • Being unable to realistically evaluate your own abilities and achievements
  • Unshakable feelings of being a phony

If you are sitting there nodding your head to many of these the chances are you may be experiencing imposter syndrome. But what can we do to change our thought process?

The good news is there any many different ways we can begin to remove that imposter from our mindset, but like everything it does take time, patience and practice. Try to implement some of the following in your every day and particularly when you feel those negative thoughts arising:

  • Be aware of the signs – It’s important to simply be aware of when we are displaying signs of imposter syndrome and be able to implement some of the mechanisms discussed here at the source
  • Share your feelings – Something I am PANTS at but have been really trying to work on this year is just letting it all out to someone I trust. It’s amazing what a bit of rational talk from someone you love can do to help you reassess your thought process
  • Write things down – Sit down and write exactly how you are feeling down on paper and then against each point write your evidence against the thought… for example:
    • THOUGHT = “I don’t feel I know enough to be a good PT”
    • RESPONSE = Nutrition degree, Strength & conditioning qualification, over 1500 session experience, books I’ve read, positive client feedback

This allows us to challenge some of the deepest ingrained thoughts we visibility see our achievements on paper.

  • Keep pushing towards your goal – One of the biggest things with imposter syndrome is the feeling that because we are not good enough or we fear the failure we sometimes give up on our goals. This in turn further exacerbates those feelings because we aren’t achieving anything! Make sure you set realistic goals for yourself and also write step by step the ways you will achieve them (baby steps).
  • Comparison is the thief of joy – I love this saying! STOP comparing yourself to others, every single person has a unique set of skills so make sure you are focussing on what YOU can bring to the world and not what other people are. This is especially true if you are working in a competitive industry. Yet again I mention social media as this is where most of us seem to make our comparisons. Make sure you take time away from your phone and really connect with yourself! Also ensure you are portraying a real version of yourself to others on social platforms. Authenticity will help you feel like the real deal. 

I am hoping that some of you reading this will have that penny drop moment that I did when I first heard about this and are now able to really start to implement some changes to become ‘imposter free’.  It’s not easy to re-wire our thoughts but even just to recognise, understand and make small changes is a great stop on the way.

Again, from me a huge thank you to those supporting my blogs and content it really means the world! If you are enjoying them please like, share & comment 😊

Lots of love

CK

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