Imposter syndrome. Even just writing these words down makes me feel like a fraud. Like, who am I to be talking about imposter syndrome??
Well, for starters, I’m a human. I’ve been dealing with imposter syndrome for quite some time now, and I have found some helpful tools that helped me overcome imposter syndrome.
Mindfulness as a tool to overcome imposter syndrome
One of those tools is mindfulness. A nifty little tool I picked up at my Yoga Teacher Training eight years ago.
Actually, I picked it up way before – by accident, while having my first panic attack at age 19. But that’s a story for another time.
Let’s talk about how we can use mindfulness to deal with that nagging voice inside our heads that undermines our confidence.
Oh, and don’t think that you and I are the only ones suffering from imposter syndrome.
In fact, 75% of female executives have experienced imposter syndrome and self-doubts in their careers, according to a KPMG study.
Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon that can sabotage our self-confidence and hold us back from reaching our true potential.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the power of mindfulness and how it can help you conquer imposter syndrome, empowering you to embrace your authentic self.
Understanding imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome can sneak up on even the most accomplished women, leaving them feeling unworthy of their successes.
Some signs of imposter syndrome are:
- Doubting yourself. You may constantly feel like you’re not good enough, even when others praise your achievements.
- Fear of failure. You might be afraid of making mistakes or failing because you think it will prove that you’re not as capable as others believe.
- Discounting success. You may downplay your accomplishments, thinking they were just luck or that you fooled people into thinking you’re better than you are.
- Comparing yourself to others. You might often compare yourself to others and feel like you fall short or that they are more talented or deserving than you.
- Overworking and perfectionism. You may put excessive pressure on yourself to be perfect, working extra hard to avoid any signs of failure.
Now, let’s explore 5 ways how mindfulness can help overcome these self-limiting beliefs.
1. Cultivating self-awareness
Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment, without judgment.
It involves observing your thoughts and emotions with acceptance and compassion.
Instead of being on auto-pilot, following every single thought, thinking they are true, mindfulness helps you to take a step back.
It helps you to not get swept away by the current of your thoughts but to take over the helm (the steering wheel) and navigate where you’d rather want to go.
Imposter syndrome as a yoga teacher
Imagine that you’re teaching a yoga class. You think to yourself, ‘I’m so bad at this. They must think I suck,’ for the first 55 minutes of the 60-minute session.
But guess what? You know about mindfulness!
So you say to yourself, ‘Ah, that’s interesting,’ as you lovingly wish the thought bon voyage and give it a one-way ticket to Mars (you may have to do that several times; somehow, they annoyingly keep finding their way back).
Now, I’m not claiming that mindfulness is a panacea for all your problems. It doesn’t magically turn you into a super zen human.
It does help you find a place of calm, a place from which you can make better decisions and choose which thoughts you allow to influence your behaviour.
By practicing mindfulness, you can create a space to challenge the negative self-talk and limiting beliefs that fuel imposter syndrome.
2. Replacing self-criticism with self-compassion
Mindfulness also teaches you the importance of self-compassion.
Instead of zooming in on your shortcomings, you can practice self-kindness and understanding.
Whenever imposter syndrome rears its head, you can remind yourself that making mistakes and experiencing self-doubt are part of being human.
This shift in perspective allows you to cultivate self-acceptance and embrace you imperfections as stepping stones to growth.
3. Embracing the present moment
One of the greatest gifts of mindfulness is its ability to anchor us in the present moment.
Imposter syndrome lives on thoughts about the past and the future. Can you touch anything in the past or in the future?
Are those thoughts based on actual, objective events that everyone experienced the same way? Or are they your own interpretations of what happend or is about to happen?
By immersing yourself in the present, you can redirect your energy to what is actually REAL.
Such as: the fact that you have a body. The fact that you’re sitting somewhere. Or lying down. The fact that you’re breathing right now.
The fact that you’re trying to help another person feel better (in the case of our yoga teacher story).
4. Letting go of comparison
Mindfulness helps you to let go of the toxic habit of comparison.
It helps you understand that everyone’s journey is unique, and measuring yourself against others is both unfair and unproductive.
Instead, celebrate your own progress and find inspiration in the achievements of others without diminishing your own worth.
5. Building a supportive network
Lastly, mindfulness helps you connect with like-minded people.
You can join a mindfulness-based group program (like my Soulpreneur Circle), where we focus on overcoming imposter syndrome, and we support each other in our entrepreneurial journey.
Overcome imposter syndrome and grow your business
Ready to send that nagging voice in your head off to a galaxy, far, far away?
Have a look at what I can do for you.