Who is that deceiver in the mirror?

Have you ever noticed how some very talented people appear to have low self-confidence? Perhaps you are one of them.

If you’re reading this article feeling guilty about ‘wasting opportunities’ when you ‘should be working’; you are the person I want to talk to.

Do you feel like a complete fraud whose accomplishments are just ‘good luck’?

If you tremble when you consider the sheer serendipity that has brought you to this place of undeserved merit, or you are utterly astonished to be living in your nice home with that good job when many of your peers (who are obviously more talented than you) haven’t fared nearly as well, you have the classic signs of “Imposter Syndrome”: The belief you are an incompetent failure in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Symptoms checker:

* Fear of being exposed for a lack of ability in spite of years of competency and achievement
* People praise you, but you believe it can’t be genuine
* Paranoia that colleagues are better at their jobs than you
* Fear of taking on new challenges in case of failure
* Bad reaction to constructive criticism, believing it to be a personal assault

Do you face the daily terror of mask-drop?

If you are an overworking perfectionist, full of self-criticism and loathing, with a nagging fear of being just one slip from failure, blame your parents.

People with Imposter Syndrome believe they are never quite good enough and hold themselves to unrealistic standards of achievement in the belief they must do better lest they are exposed as frauds. Impostor Syndrome sufferers feel crushed if they don’t achieve perfection 100% of the time.

It’s all about early years’ reinforcement

The foundation was laid before you went to school. Praise or criticism received up to the age of five when you started doing things by yourself is key to how you feel now. If you were ridiculed for your first crayon portrait or had your wonderful teetering building block tower ignored by your parents or carers, you don’t forget it.

In my Newcastle hypnotherapy and coaching practice, I meet many high achievers who are plagued by self-doubt and who suffer from anxiety, stress and addiction because of it. They have bottled up a negative view of their achievements and think they must do more to win the praise of people around them.

Feeling like an impostor often means you’re making the grade

The good news is if you do feel like a failure, it’s often because you are highly motivated with very high standards. You must recognise that although you didn’t receive adequate encouragement from caregivers as a child, it’s not your fault; it’s theirs. Later, a bad teacher, narcissistic partner or bad boss may have reinforced your self-doubts (deliberately or unintentionally) into adulthood destroying your confidence.

Fake it until you make it…

If you have Impostor Syndrome, you’re not alone. Limiting self-beliefs plague celebrities too, with the most talented names in show business including Kate Winslet and Rene Zellweger admitting they feel like frauds, proving it’s not easy to overcome self-doubt even if you’re every bit a star.

..Or get some help

My recent blog about Body Image focused on overcoming low self-esteem. Similarly, wrong beliefs about our achievements are related, because negative thinking, whatever its cause, has side effects.

Turn your inner critic into a mentor

Believing in yourself and your abilities takes practise and begins with recognising your successes. Every accomplishment is a foundation block to build on. In my private hypnotherapy practice in Newcastle, I have developed a range of techniques and resources to help identify bad habits or patterns learned in childhood that hold you back from your full potential. I help you address limiting self-beliefs using a range of powerful interventions to develop self-awareness; engage a new perspective; improve confidence; and improve quality of life.

Work with confidence

Impostor Syndrome also threatens how resilient you are at work. Highly competent managers often fail to accept successes with damaging workplace consequences. Accordingly, I have developed a range of bespoke business leadership and management courses to deliver motivation and workplace wellbeing, helping good bosses recognise their strengths, hone their abilities and be their very best; avoiding burnout, finding contentment, and cultivating greater self-confidence.

Please contact me for more information.