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Getting to Know Your Imposter

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Getting to Know Your Imposter

How to stop holding yourself back.

Imposter syndrome held me back from fully expressing my potential for over 15 years. It’s silly when I look back at the missed opportunities I let sail on by due to that little nagging imposter. 

In this story, I am going to share with you the final time that I let imposter syndrome shackle me, and what I did to befriend my imposter.

How I took the handbrake off.

I’ve always questioned my right to be at the level I’ve operated at, and always felt I’ll get found out sooner or later. That someone is going to bust through the gym door and say ‘what is this cowboy sh*t going on here’.

But they never came. 

No matter what job or role I have had, I have always felt out of my depth.  When I have stepped into new worlds like pro wrestling, military special forces, motorsport, or guest lecturing I have felt I wasn’t deserving enough to be at that level. 

It's classic imposter syndrome. 

My imposter showed up as over-trying, overworking, and forcing things.  This looked like monster hours, clunky and occasionally awkward communication, and overthinking.

I’d done my reading, I understood (so I thought) imposter syndrome and what was going on, but nothing ever helped me move forward smoothly.  But only when I laughed and joked about imposter syndrome to my friend and subject matter expert Dean Leak did I realise that I didn’t have to be tripping myself up and holding back. 

We spoke about getting to know my imposter, having some dialogue to acknowledge the thoughts and then choosing a different path, getting some perspective and realising no one has it figured out and we’re all just bumbling through. 

I started to implement these and other small changes when I felt my imposter shackles tightening. I spoke out loud ‘I hear that you think I can’t do this, but I am going to do this anyway and give it my best shot as that’s the best that I can do, and what I want to do’.  ‘Besides, it’s highly unlikely that everyone is watching me and criticising me, no one else has it all figured out, so I am going to push on’.

Day after day, week after week I continued with these and other basic approaches. I acknowledged, accepted the trepidation, and then cracked on anyway.  After time, the feelings started to reduce, I felt much more at ease with the constant questioning and self-doubt. There was a clear reduction in over thinking and I actually gained a lot of clarity in my thinking. 

Imposter syndrome doesn’t go away, I still have a rush of these thoughts and feelings when facing new situations and experiences, only now I have the skills to focus on the enjoyment of the opportunity, to treat it as a chance to learn and to test my limits.

I’ve befriended my imposter and my work has improved and anxious, and negative thoughts have significantly reduced. 

This was the exact resource I used to help me conquer my imposter.

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