Imposter Syndrome is the fear of being labeled a fraud, feeling unworthy or not experienced enough to do something. This is common within the fitness industry, especially with the explosion of social media where it seems we are inundated with images of perfect bodies and seemingly more capable individuals daily. It is easy to feel like someone else knows more than you do or can do a better job than you can.
It can manifest itself inside your head as “negative chatter.” As a fitness professional, have you ever had that nagging voice inside your head telling you any of the following:
“They know more than I do about ………………..”
“I can’t do “XYZ” because they will find out I don’t know what I am talking about.”
“They are in better shape than me or can do something better than I can.”
“They must think I’m ………………”
Did you know that this nagging voice in your head is one of the biggest influencers of your self-esteem and confidence? Some researchers estimate that we have about 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day – and that about 80 per cent of those thoughts are negative.
Imposter Syndrome is one way we allow negative thoughts to influence us. However, we have the power to turn that around.
Some things you can do to turn that negative inner voice into something empowering that can help instead of derail you are:
1. Be aware of the negative – listen to those thoughts and be aware of the negative ones. Understand that thoughts are not FACTS.
2. Stop the negative narrative – as soon as you notice the negative self-talk happening, shut it down! Tell that “Negative Nellie” to stop the negative self-talk and that you are not going to listen to it today.
3. Turn your thoughts around – when you hear the negative chatter in your head, turn your thoughts around – interrupt the negative with positives. When “Negative Nellie” says “you don’t know enough” shut it down and repeat something like “I am knowledgeable on this topic” or “I know what I am talking about.”
4. Personal mantras – instead of allowing “Negative Nellie” to show up, be pro-active by producing a personal mantra you can repeat in your head – it could be something like “I am confident and knowledgeable”, “I am capable of remarkable things” or “I am strong and able.”
More people than we realize deal with this syndrome. Did you know that many famous people have dealt with Imposter Syndrome at some point or may still be dealing with it?
“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” Maya Angelou (American Poet/Author)
“No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think; how did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?” Tom Hanks (Actor)
“Who doesn’t suffer from imposter syndrome? Even when I sold my business for $66 Million, I felt like an absolute fraud!” Barbara Corcoran (Real Estate Mogul and Shark Tank judge)
“The greatest obstacle for me has been the voice in my head that I call my obnoxious roommate. I wish someone would invent a tape recorder that we could attach to our brains to record everything we tell ourselves. We would realize how important it is to stop this negative self-talk. It means pushing back against our obnoxious roommate with a dose of wisdom.” Arianna Huffington (Author and Co-founder of Huffington Post)
“You might ask yourself; how did I get here when I’ve been told over and over that I’m not good enough? It’s not true – it’s just what you’ve practiced telling yourself. Practice a different set of messages.” Michelle Obama (Former First Lady of the USA)
So, if you have ever found yourself listening to your own “Negative Nellie”, instead decide to listen to “Positive Pollie” and understand that you can direct the narrative in your head.