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How to Defeat Imposter Syndrome and Bring Success Into Your Life

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My breath tightened in my chest, my stomach lurched, questions pummelled my entire being, I was about to step on stage. What was nagging at me like my old Yiddish grandmother? I love and believe in the message and I’m a good public speaker, yet the fear that trembled through my body ripped me apart. All I could think about was what if they see me for the fraud that I feel I am.

Now, I was no fraud. Having spent decades working, 1000s of hours training, and even more than that living out the very words I was about to share, I knew that I could stand there and be present articulating the message the audience had come to hear. 

So what was the problem?

Doubt. Doubt and fear were the problem. Those nagging thoughts, “What if I look foolish?” “Who am I to be sharing, anyway?”

How many times have those thoughts or a variation of them coursed through your body? Perhaps during a sales call, an important boardroom meeting, or an interview for your dream job, the echoes of doubt and fear stream across your consciousness creating anxiety and lack of assurance. 

Did you ever dream that the answer to defeating imposter syndrome would come from a child’s tale?

Let me remind you of the emperor who loved new clothes, and the swindlers who took the whole kingdom for a ride. What were the words that they used to reduce even the king’s most trusted counselors? They would say to each one, including the king, “If you don’t see the fabric, you are foolish and unfit for your position.” Each one so terrified of being “found out,” that none of them spoke up.

None of them except a child on the parade route. He was a game changer! I want to be like that kid. That child’s message has reverberated through my life, teaching me many things.

“Be humble – Not knowing something doesn’t make you a fraud, it makes you a student.” – Marie Forleo

What are they and how do they defeat imposter syndrome?

Know yourself

Remember how I began this article? Decades of work, 1000s of hours of training, a lifetime of living the talk, learn how to hold onto the effort and space you have taken to become that which you are. The child had nothing to lose, it wasn’t afraid of being “foolish” and “unfit.” The child just was, the child saw what was true. See what is true about you! 

Speak up

Amidst the crowd, the child raised its voice. I’ve learned to listen and discern the truth of those voices that come with the statements of self-doubt and fear. I have a strategy full of one liners. I say back, “Yup, I am afraid and I’m going to show up anyway.” “Perhaps, some of this confidence is a mask, that is okay, that gets to be here, too.” “I am anxious.” “I do want this job, life won’t end if I don’t get it.” 

Pause

Don’t get caught up in the noise and rucus of what is going on. Everyone of us needs to learn how to pause, take a deep breath, and step forward discerning out what is really happening. Don’t take the proverbial swindlers’ voices as truth. Pause!

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” – Denis Waitley

Beyond the message of the story, my work as a yoga therapist has taught me a few things, mainly getting into your body! What? Yes, get into your body. How? 

From a place of standing: Bring your feet a little bit further than hips distance apart. Press down through the soles of your feet. Not to the point of causing injury, but lock out your legs. Pressing down through the soles of your feet, lift through the top of your head. FEEL your body in space. TAKE a deep breath. Arms are by the side of your body, not just hanging there. Bring intention into your arms. Lower your shoulders away from your ears. Push tips of fingers to the ground. BREATHE! Inhale in from the nose, exhale with the sound of “ha” from your mouth. Repeat that a few times. Notice shift in your body, in your being. Take your meeting, phone call, or interview from that space.

From a place of sitting: Place your feet down on the floor, about hips distance apart. Place your body about half way in the seat, notice your sit bones in the base of the chair. Lift through the crown of your head, lower shoulders away from your ears. Place hands on your knees or thighs. Closing eyes or leaving them open, take some breaths that are longer both in the inhale and even longer upon the exhale. Take your meeting, phone call, or interview from that space.

Learning how to be in your body, showing up authentically, standing in the excellence and the training of you, taking deep and long breaths, being honest, speaking the truth, these are the tools that will defeat imposter syndrome and bring success into your life. 

Elle Miller is a trauma-informed C-IAYT yoga therapist and Body Advocate working to bring transformation into the workplace. Her speciality is  finding spaces that shift anxiety and burn out, zoom fatigue and disconnection. She created The Listening Project as a means to show  how subversive the very act of learning how to listen can become. Connect with her at Elle@LivingMangaliso.com to schedule your personal session or to find out more about our corporate offerings.

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7 Ways to Share Your Story on Social Media

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Content marketing is “A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services”. In other words, explicit marketing is simply saying “buy my stuff!” whereas content marketing is the art of persuading people to do so through storytelling. (more…)

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10 Tips to Deal With Negativity While Starting a Business

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There are ups and downs in business but fearing failures can stop you from taking your first step towards excellence. With pandemic on tow, aspiring entrepreneurs feel a little stuck when ideating a business prospect. Here, we give you some actionable tips to deal with negativity while starting a business, even during situations like a pandemic. We also took the liberty to throw in some amazing book recommendations that’ll help you enjoy the process of being positive and achieving your business goals.

10 Tips to deal with negativity while starting a business in a pandemic

1. Get a mentor

The first thing to do as a new business owner is to find the right kind of mentor. That person could be someone in your industry or in general who you look up to. The guidance must be apt for your business, and it should be a mutual responsibility of sharing knowledge. 

2. Two big R’s – Routine and Refresh

Made a mess of something? Try to reboot the situation and make it work. Take a break once in a while and refresh yourself if you feel stuck or your ideas feel mundane. Plan a routine and stick to them – both personal and professional. Having a routine can increase productivity and engage in more activities apart from your pre-planned schedule. 

3. Inculcate problem-solving mentality

Do not panic once you are thrown a problem. Arrange a meeting with the respective party, listen to both sides of the stories, and make a decision that is more realistic and feasible. 

4. Hire half and half

Whenever you hire someone for your business. Make sure that half of the people contradict your ideas, and the other half have the same mindset as yours. The people who contradict can bring in more valuable points and their perspective might take the discussion to a whole new level.  Don’t take too much time finding the perfect one. Hire an apt person who can have the right attitude. 

5. Network, Network, and Network

Find like-minded people and mingle with them. Be more sportive in the learning process. Listen more and talk less – if you are a beginner. You can only be a constructive person who gives input to someone if you have listened to everyone’s point of view. If you feel down, your network might have something to uplift your mood and change your perspective on something. 

“Negativity, in general, is one of the things that holds people back, and you have to see what’s holding you back to get away from it.” – Lucy Dacus

6. Tech-savvy personnel

Learn a thing or two about the latest technology that you implement in your organization. Since the world revolves around technology, make sure your administrative authority knows as well.  

7. Don’t schedule a meeting, that could have been an email

Yes! I said it. Having unnecessary meetings will weaken the purpose of having a constructive discussion. Having back-to-back meetings drains the team members and yourself too. Always have a 10 to 15 minutes break between each meeting to feel refreshed and give your 100%. 

8. Have a pros and cons list

Always, I mean always have a pros and cons list. Let’s say one of your team members pitch an idea to improve the marketing strategies starting next month. Jot down the pros and cons before approving or rejecting it point-blank. It’s a systematic way of making a decision. 

9. Track your finances

Even if you have a team of accountants and auditors, make sure that you are present (both mentally and physically) – learn if you are not aware of it. Trusting your employees is a must, but not overseeing the records is a mistake that should be avoided. 

10. Remember your “why?”

At some point in your hectic schedule or not having ME time can get to you. During those tough times – ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?”. If you can answer this question with a valid explanation, you’ll feel energized. Because “A purpose drives you”. 

5 Best books to read to be more positive as an entrepreneur

Reading always puts me into perspective. Therefore, I took some liberty to give a sample of positivity and determination through words. 

These are the 5 books that’ll guide you to be a more positive and successful entrepreneur. 

  1. Attitude is everything by Jeff Keller – The decisions you make, the routine you set for yourself, and the affirmations you say to yourself every day are going to make a huge difference. If you feel tired, hopeless, and quitting – then this book is for you to boost you up!
  2. Mindset: The new psychology of success by Carol Dweck – You do what you think. In this book, the author talks about two mindsets: The growth mindset and the fixed mindset and what they’ll do to you respectively. She helps you recognize your mindset and change it for the better. 
  3. Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen – This book is about technology uprisings all over the world and businesses that adopted and implemented technology in their firm. The author teaches you that just because your competitors and others are adopting something into their businesses doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Make an informed decision. 
  4. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book specifically is about the power of thought and how it shapes your life into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
  5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – The author talks about how people always keep thinking about what the future holds but then forget to live and enjoy the present. And also helps us understand how to make decisions more efficiently based on the present. 

Working towards inner balance requires consistency and perseverance. So does hard and smart work. Being negative is a part of our lives. It’s important to channel it appropriately and make things happen despite the roller coaster ride that is our lives. Hope you overcome your fears and negativity to shine bigger and brighter. Cheers! 

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Defining Your Own Success: A Step by Step Guide

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Everyone wants success in their lives, but success can be defined in so many different ways that it can sometimes seem daunting. In this blog post, you will learn how to make success easier for yourself by defining what success means to you. (more…)

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5 Characteristics of Athletes You Need for Business Success

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Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, wrote “Players play. Tough players win.” I would add to that, “It’s tough to win.”I think if you, as a leader, are looking to build an organization that is successful – that wins – you first have to accept that it will be tough. There are no shortcuts to success. In my 44 years of coaching, I was fortunate to coach a lot of tough players. I believe the toughness I have seen in athletes corresponds well to any organization or business. (more…)

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