Crush your Impostor Syndrome

I do believe Impostor Syndrome is on the surface of many struggles of men and women, not only leaders. What is it? Why does it affect more women than men? What can be done about it?

My name is Anna and I am a psychologist and a RTT practitioner, I have worked and trained hundreds of people in areas such as professional development, gender equality and intercultural competences and my goal and mission on this planet is to make it a better place by supporting women leaders in accessing and using their authentic voice, purposes and powers. Why do I do that? Because I believe the world will be a much better place if all people, men and women had a more equal say about what it looks like.

And one thing I discovered over the years was that there is something that prevents people from reaching for what they want and lead in a way that leads to results they want. And that thing, my friends, is the Impostor Syndrome!

Impostor Syndrom is on the surface, it’s the external manifestation of not feeling good enough as a person. As you. It’s what shows on the outside, because deep down inside you don’t believe you’re ENOUGH.

Good enough to become who you want to become. Trained enough to provide the service you want to provide. Talented enough to write that book you always wanted to write. Organized enough to push through with your plan to conquer the world. Beautiful enough to find the perfect soulmate…. This can go on and on and on. Sounds familiar? Please let me know yes or no!

So how does it manifest? What are the symptoms of the impostor syndrome?

  • Not speaking out when you know what to do, you know the answer, you know how to solve a problem, but… you choose to stay silent, because „who will listen to me”. And „what do I know”. This is one of the reasons why so many issues are still labeled (yes, still! Even though it’s 2021, people!) as “women’s issues” and therefore they’re not as important as the “general issues” 
  • Not asking for that raise, for that promotion, not taking the lead when you know deep down inside you could do it and you could do it well, because „other people deserve better”.
  • Not pursuing this dream of yours (sometimes even forgetting you ever had one), because „what if I fail”?

It is this constant feeling that you have that you’re a fraud and one day they will all realise it. That everyone else has more talent. More skills. More experience. Works harder. Is smarter…. and again, we can go on and on and on. 

The mind with impostor syndrome will do everything it can to PREVENT US from showing up.

  1. I will not do it until I’m qualified – I need more certification, more diplomas, more references, more testimonials
  2. I will not do it until it’s perfect – it needs to be bulletproof! Well unless it’s a protective vest, it doesn’t!
  3. I will not do it unless…. / until…..

I used to always think that ONE DAY I will know I am ready. One day I will be smart enough, experienced enough, brave enough and strong enough to start what I always wanted to do, which was having my own business and working with amazing women who change the world for the better – yes, it’s you I am talking about! 🙂

Well guess what, this is utter and ultimate BULLSHIT 😀 There’s no day when you just know you’re ready! There’s no diploma that will give you more confidence and courage to start a new thing. And there’s no day when you become perfect all of a sudden. (well, my position on it is that you already are perfect, but I know that people argue with it just a bit at the beginning).

One of my mentor once said, and I remembered it very well: “Be scared and do it anyways” 😀 So…. even though I know I’m not perfect talking to you right now, and even though I am scared, I am doing it anyway. With all the imperfection, I am talking to you about something that I am passionate about because I do believe that it’s an important topic. 

So… how else can Impostor Syndrome manifest?

There are 5 typical types of impostors, but that doesn’t mean you can only have one of these. You can have 3 or 2 or just 1 and it’s equally annoying. 

What are they?

  1. Perfectionism: everything has to be perfect or its rubbish. I will not post anything online until it’s absolutely perfect. I will not hand in this report until it’s flawless. I will not start my project until there’s not a single thing wrong with it. 
    This is how NOTHING gets done. Or it gets done but at a cost of our peace, our time, our effort, our struggle and in the end we don’t even enjoy the results. Or worse – if what we do, that’s obviously not perfect, gets acknowledged, we are afraid that we don’t deserve the recognition. It’s not perfect so we don’t deserve any reward for our effort. It’s not perfect so we shouldn’t do anything. 
  2. Super woman: we need to have EVERYTHING under control and we ALWAYS need to save the world. Super woman has no time to rest, is busy all the time and there’s no way she’s ever going to say NO to anyone. To anything. At the expense of her health. At the expense of her relationships. At the expense of anything that’s important. Because EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is always more important than she is. 
  3. The natural genius: if it doesn’t come easily, then I should be doing it. I need to understand everything instantaneously. If I am not talented in something (which I have no idea if I am because I never tried), I don’t even start. It was like this for me when it came to starting my own business. I felt like I couldn’t do it because other people are just born business people and I am not. So there’s no way I can learn that skill and therefore no. Impossible. 
  4. The Soloist: I have to do everything myself. If I don’t do things myself, then there’s something wrong with me. I have to handle everything on my own – my career, my business, my home, my family, my children. If I ask for help – that means I am an imposter. A fraud. Not a real mom. Not a real therapist. Not a real leader. And the truth is, honey, no-one can do everything themselves. There’s just too much to do, to know, to remember. Trying to do and figure out everything on our own is a road to disaster!
  5. The expert: this is so common and I am certain, so familiar. If I don’t have 15 diplomas, 70 certificates and 100 recommendations, I cannot do it. Every skill of mine has to be validated by some kind of external, very important body. Me thinking I can do something is not enough. Me willing to do something is not enough. Me being open to learn trial and error is a stupid idea. Nothing can be done until I am an established expert. 

So, now…. why do women have it more difficult than men when it comes to impostor syndrome? Is it a gender thing? Is it a biological thing? 

Well women are judged much more than men and women are told they are not fit to do many more things than men. From the moment they’re young girls they have to be smart but not too smart. They have to be pretty and look beautiful, but only in a certain way, because otherwise it’s provocative. They have to be ambitious but not bossy. We are judged for what we say, how we say it, what we look like when we say it. We are even judged when are partners or our children misbehave! Learning to navigate in such complex and conflicting circumstances is extremely difficult and many of us loose our natural ability to JUST BE OURSELVES. And when we’re not ourselves, when we pretend to fit in, we feel like a fraud. And feeling like a fraud is THE MOST OBVIOUS sign of the impostor syndrome. 

How do we crush it? 

Understanding is power!

Learn to see the behaviours, learn to see the patterns and learn to distinguish them from reality. Is it really me or the impostor syndrome talking? 

It took me a lot of time but most importantly a lot of subconscious work to finally figure it out. To be able to step out of the comfort zone. And even today, I still see my IS creeping in. I’ve had it since this morning, knowing I’m going to show up here!

And if this resonates with you and you’d like to strut into rooms that you sometimes feel you don’t belong in like the LEADER you are, become more confident and truly step into your power then comment leader below or send me an email and I’ll get in touch with you so we can have a chat about your goals and vision for yourself.

Sending lots of love!

Embrace your inner procrastinator!

Procrastination! This topic was recently brought to me by one of my colleagues. And I have been bringing it to my life myself for as long as I remember 😉

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

If you’re reading me for the first time – my name is Anna, I am a social psychologist and a RTT practitioner. RTT stands for Rapid Transformational Therapy and it’s a hybrid therapy modality that gives fast results in many areas of human existence: from physical illnesses to life purpose and goals, phobias, infertility, addictions, depression and anxiety, career, money… you name it. In my professional life I have worked with hundreds of successful women who feel like they’re stuck, like they’re reached their glass ceilings, or who are on their way to discover their life mission or their soul desires. And my mission is to help women thrive and live up to their full potential, because – let’s face it – the world needs wise, mature leadership now more than ever. I am passionate about gender equality and building inclusive, compassionate communities and I truly believe that female leaders who have dug through their own dramas and bullshit are the real hope for our planet. This is why I created Female Leadership Society, as a group and platform for us to grow together.

So, now – let’s go back to PROCRASTINATION. 

There’s this common belief that in order to be successful (or just BE to be honest!) we need to have everything under control. And I mean EVERYTHING.

The way we look. The way we feel. Our homes. Our works. Our social life. Our future. Our neighbourhood. Our bodies. Our health. Our fun and adventurous free time. Our families. Omg. Just naming all these (and I’m sure there’s more, really!) gave me a headache!

So we get up in the morning with this never ending to do lists. Every single day. And we do our best to cross as much as we can off the list. One by one, like it’s some kind of game level we need to pass to get to the next one. And once we do (which we almost never do completely, because let’s face it, there’s just too much of it), another level looks exactly the same or worse in many cases. 

And on the every day to do list there are always things we look forward to more than to others, which is absolutely normal, so we usually tend to do them first, and the things that are left are usually the worst, am I right? Who’s been there? I have, I still am most of the time.

The thing with our daily to do lists is that they are more often than not missions impossible to accomplish and we are inteligent people, right? We know that 😀 But we fall into this trap anyways. Every single time!

I’m not going to give you a quick fix to that… as there is no quick fix to that. I won’t give you any advice, even though there’s one that I have found very helpful and do my best to use it as much as I can, and it is: Do what you hate first. Makes sense, right? You then are left only with better things to do. It makes sense on so many levels, but mainly it gives you this sense of accomplishment that’s so crucial to be able to to go through the rest of your list. 

But of course this is the advice for those of us who choose to stick to their long, never ending to do lists. 

There’s also another fix that I find extremely helpful and, especially recently, it keeps me going. 

I call it embracing my inner procrastinator. 

I look at it as this 2 years old inside of me that just doesn’t want to do this shit. She wants to play, she wants to be loved, nurtured and cuddled. She wants to be seen and recognised. She’s there for a reason. 

So for a while now, whenever I get on a streak of procrastination (it does happen to me so often, I am not going to pretend it doesn’t and if you’re one of the people that know how to handle it, KUDOS to you my friends!), I try to see this 2 years old in me and ask her what’s the problem. 

She may be tired. She may be bored. She may feel not seen. And all the negative emotions I experience when I know there’s so much to do and I just can’t bring myself to get it done are the emotions of my inner neglected two years old who says “No no no. It’s too much”. 

And you know what? It usually IS too much!

Does this mean that this child inside me prevents me from doing things? No. She just makes me take the time to look at all my chore list from her perspective. 

What are the things essential for my survival? What are the things essential for survival of my close ones? What are the most important things when it comes to what I really want and need? 

And usually it turns out that… these things aren’t even on the list because I buried them deep below everyday tasks that “have to be done”.

But to be honest, not that much in our lives really has to be done right now! And yet we tend to dilute our power, our possibilities, our potential in stuff that drains us and doesn’t lead us any closer to what we really want to do. 

I believe leadership is less about pushing at all costs and more about being in tune with who we really are and what’s needed at the moment. Less about fighting every single obstacle that comes our way and more about finding ways around them. And finally less about managing every single aspect of reality and more about focusing on what’s really important and creating.

This is why we’re here, right? To create something new. To start a revolution. To change the world to be a better place.

So yeah, ladies and gentlemen. Embrace your inner procrastinator. Look at it as you would be looking at your own 2 years old self. And go from there. See where it leads you. What if it leads you to places that are more rewarding, more encouraging, places that give you more energy and drive? 

As always, let me know what you think of this and if it resonates with you in any way. And if it does and you’re ready to dig deeper to find out what it is that will make you want to get out of bed faster in the morning, let me know. I’m here. And I will be more than happy to assist you in your journey. 

With love,

Start With Yourself

Radically. No compromises. Like you never have in your life.

All religions and philosophies of the world teach it, and yet it is not a popular concept. For some reason taking care of yourself doesn’t have a good press, even though it is totally counterintuitive, against all human knowledge and science and – let’s be honest – against the experience of most residents of this beautiful planet.

But thinking of yourself is associated with egoism. With being a show-off. With being narcissistic.

Guess what – it’s a load of crap. Every single one of us has a birth right to live for ourselves and be tremendously happy about who we are. The world would be a much happier place to live if every single one of us made it our mission, our statement, our commitment to pursue happiness, self-fulfilment and full realisation of our purpose. Not to please anyone else, but to please US.

This world, so often named “the worse of all worlds” (which I have always stood against, too!), desperately needs more people who take full responsibility for themselves and change the planet for the better through changing THEMSELVES for the better.

There’s no reason to justify your being on Earth through making everyone else happy at your own expense. Your own happiness should be the most important for you – this is absolutely OK, as it is your individual business and responsibility! The world only profits from it, because a happy, fulfilled person harms no-one and makes no evil anyways. On the contrary – most likely they’re creative people, enriching all life on Earth!

But if you view your role on Earth as helping others, hear me out, too. There’s a reason they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on the plane first, before assisting others. There’s a reason they remind you to do that before taking off. There’s also a reason for the saying: you can’t serve anyone if your cup is empty.

You cannot give anyone anything that you don’t own. It is impossible to make the world a better place without making you a better person. If helping others is your thing (some people call it “a mission”), then doing the work on yourself will be what shifts your ability to help others for real.

Especially now, especially here.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”, said Mahatma Ghandi. It all starts with you.

With love,