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5 Easy tips from a behavioural coach to ease imposter syndrome

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t experienced imposter syndrome at one point or another. But while it’s commonplace, it’s still a damaging mindset that can hold us back from reaching our potential – particularly when it comes to our careers. We asked Gemma Perlin, a behavioural change coach, to share some practical tips for reframing negative thoughts and avoiding self-sabotage.

1. Reframe “imposter syndrome” as “impostering”

The word “impostering” describes a behaviour, something you do, as opposed to something you are defined by, like a syndrome. “Many of us experience it,” says Perlin. “By accepting it as an inevitable part of being human, like anxiety, we can begin to take action.”

2. Choose an “anchor” move to summon confidence

Choose a physical gesture (like squeezing your thumb and index finger) and use it to signify confidence. “Think of a time in your life when you experienced success, or a role model who inspires you. Really visualise it, close your eyes and remember what you saw, heard and felt.” Eventually, “a quick touch of your anchor during moments of self-doubt will bring you back to that confident state,” according to Perlin, who says this secret tool is utilised by everyone from politicians to athletes.

3.Channel impostering anxiety into a “drive to learn and improve”

According to Perlin, many of her clients who struggle with impostering have mastered new skills as a result of their efforts to prove themselves. “Use impostering as a signal to learn, but don’t get stuck in an endless loop,” she cautions. “For example, if you feel the need to endlessly research a topic, set a specific time limit for learning and then move on to the task at hand. Become aware of the intention behind the action: am I doing this because it’s useful, or because I’m scared of feeling stupid?”

4.Be aware of your inner critic

Notice when you are indulging in limiting self-talk, things like, “I’m not good enough”, or, “I’ll get found out.” Replace these phrases with empowering sentences, like, “I am capable, and deserving of success.” As Perlin says: “It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe them yet, they nudge your unconscious mind in the right direction.”

5.Celebrate the small wins

Don’t wait for a so-called “big break” before allowing yourself to feel accomplished. “Acknowledge and celebrate every milestone, every positive client interaction, every completed project,” Perlin says. “These victories fuel your internal validation engine. Keep a file on your phone so that you have a visual record of these to return to when you are looking for a reminder.”

Original article available on British Vogue

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