I coach amazing people, women and men, all of them are clearly successful, clever, funny, most of them high achievers, but they all have one thing in common: they think they’ve got there because of luck.

No matter how much evidence they are able to find to support their success, there is always a ‘but’ and a noticeable lack of praise or self-compassion.

They all think one day they will be found out …that they only accidentally got where they are.

There is no amount of achievements or level of accomplishments that can help with imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a common psychological phenomenon or pattern where one doubts his/her own achievements and fears he/she is just a fraud.

It’s hard to shut up or to manage our imposter’s voice, but it can be done.

What I have found very useful is a simple technique to change our thoughts. It’s not magic and it requires daily practice, but it’s based on the assumption and fact that our brains are not fixed but can be changed. They are plastic. So, we can train our brains to think differently.

  1. Identify your thinking patterns (thinking errors commonly called). Examples are all or nothing (either I am perfect or I am s***); fortune telling (I know I will never get that promotion); labelling (I am not good at math …)
  2. Now, introduce shades of grey. So, instead of all or nothing, think relatively: replace never with sometimes or today. De-labelling: instead of total failure, it could be a partial failure or some aspects of my performance were not good, but others were. Think more flexibly: instead of ‘Must perform well’ ‘It would be good, but I don’t have to’.
  3. Once you have started paying more attention to your language and started talking in a different way, your brain will start believing in what you are thinking.
  4. Now, give your brain new thoughts. Identify what you wish you would believe about yourself. Think of 2, max 3 thoughts you would like to believe in. They don’t have to be super big-unless you want to- but realistic wishes. ‘I wish I was so confident that I could go and talk to anyone about my business idea’. ‘I wish I could be the best singer in my region’.
  5. Now, practice these new thoughts every day. Notice how they feel on your body when you say them out loud. Do they sound true? Do they make you feel comfortable? Uncomfortable? Do they sound authentic? Do you need to re-adjust them? If so, go ahead and adjust them. As long as they are a step-up to your previous initial thoughts, it’s OK. With practice they will sound true to you and the brain will start looking for evidence to support them so that you will truly believe in them.

Changing our thoughts is a long process, it takes discipline and commitment. But it can be done!

Remember that when we start believing in something, we will start looking for confirmation bias everywhere, aka we will look for evidence to support our beliefs. So, the first step is to change our thoughts around our beliefs.

There is more than this when talking about imposter syndrome, but this is a very good start and it’s DOABLE.

If you want to discuss more on how to change your thinking and explore other concepts such gratitude, self-compassion and other ways to build your resilience and be your authentic self, email me.

I would love to help you!

With kokoro x

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