At least once a week a new client will rock up who seems extremely competent, can express themselves well and exudes competence and confidence.
And they’ll say something like ‘I know I’m good at [whatever] and I have good qualifications/experience/skill/knowledge; my friends seem to like me but somehow none of that makes it through to the way I feel inside’.
The trouble is, their core identity, the way they believe they are, doesn’t match up with what the rest of the world sees. I’m looking at someone who knows what they’re doing, they feel like they don’t and we can all see it!
Yes, it’s the dreaded imposter syndrome (or imposter experience as it seems to be called today).
What’s going on?
As we move through life we learn from other people – family, friends, teachers, colleagues, role models, celebs even – and we base our view of ourselves on the feedback we get from others.
Think about when you were a kid. How often were you told that children should be seen and not heard? Or that nobody cares what you think? Or that you’re not as clever as someone else?
At work were your ever told that you’ll never be any good, don’t have what it takes, or need certain qualifications to move up?
Did anyone ever say that your face doesn’t fit, or that you have a funny accent, or people with your background can’t be something?
I bet you recognise many of those.
We easily take all of those messages on board and start to believe them. They then become part of our core identity, how we see ourselves. And we think that we can’t be good at whatever because we’re not very clever, nobody cares what we think, we don’t have the right piece of paper and to top it all we have a weird accent. OMG!!
I help clients peel away these layers of nonsense laid down by other people so that how they see themselves inside is a closer match to what the rest of us see. Farewell imposter syndrome!
Here’s a nice exercise to get you started.
How do you appear in your mind’s eye?
How helpful is it to see yourself this way?
Based on fact (not hearsay!) what would be a better way to see yourself?
How do you feel when you think of yourself now?
To help get your brain comfortable with this better and more accurate image of yourself, here’s an exercise you can do in just a few minutes every day:
Sit or lie down somewhere quiet. Put some soft music on if you like. Now close your eyes and focus strongly on this new, accurate and helpful image of yourself. Make it as clear as you can and for a few minutes enjoy the feelings and emotions this lovely new image generates. When you’re ready, come back into the room.
Whenever the old thoughts about yourself pop up just think of the revised, more accurate and definitely more helpful image.
To talk about how I can help you develop a better self-image book yourself in for a free, no obligation initial conversation. As always, I won’t try and sell you something, we’ll just have a chat about the options available to you.