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Befriending the Monster- Imposter Syndrome (6 min. read)

Mar 19, 2024

You want to put yourself out there more, but a lack of belief in your abilities hold you back. The looming shadow of self-doubt threatens to engulf you, making you question your worth, abilities & ability to thrive in your career.

When it comes to marketing yourself or pushing ahead in your career, you hesitate, not sure if its worth keeping on going. But here's the truth: it's a common struggle, and it's experienced more by those who are capable than those who are not! 

Let's delve into what imposter syndrome entails and how we can combat it. I've been there, struggling with confidence despite my knowledge and experience. It took time to break free from self-doubt and realize the importance of investing in myself and my business.

Before we address what we can do let's have a look at the claim its an illness a syndrome that we suffer individually. The word "syndrome" shifts the blame towards the sufferer- we are ill with "imposterness". But every one of the slights, the shuns, the side-linings you have ever experienced are lodged in your brain & body somewhere.

Our culture can act as a systematic undermining of YOUR ability to thrive. Unless you are a white, heterosexual, male; everyday of your life you have most been surrounded by images that suggest someone else will be more successful than you. Women have been bombarded with images & experienced behaviours to undermine and shame as soon as we step out of our "lane."

What does your lane look like & what do you want it to look like? Your lane might include a "little business" some play time where you earn pocket money. But often our lane is not the super highway that leads to real success, or if we want to ride that way financial freedom. If you want it to, you need to tackle the feeling of inadequacy head on- here's some ideas of how. 


1. Acknowledge the Context: Understand that societal structures, like capitalism, don't always reflect true meritocracy, despite the fact we are constantly sold the idea “if you want it you succeed”.  Recognize your hardships as well as your privileges, allowing yourself to break free from the idea it is a personal failing. There may be many factors to why we feel insecure- our upbringing, racism, our feeling “different”.

2. Reframe Negative Thoughts: You're not a fraud; you're a caring teacher committed to your students' well-being. Replace self-doubt with kind affirmations, following the wisdom of Sutra 2.33. So that instead of nurturing the thoughts that keep us down, we consciously offer ourselves something that acknowledges the wisdom and knowledge that we do have. 

3. Why would they come to me? Your students do not need the Sankrit expert with a one-handed handstand who can hold their breath for 30 minutes, they just need someone to help them move with more ease. If a teacher is way about our own expertise it is intimidating. One or two points up on the scale of knowledge is enough. 

4. Shift the Focus: Remember, it's not about you; it's about your students' needs. Redirect your energy towards serving them with kindness and empathy.   

Consider everything you do know & shift the focus away from everything you don’t know!

5. Embrace Authenticity: Your students need you, not a perfect teacher. Embrace your unique journey and vulnerabilities, fostering a safe space for growth and connection. Yoga isn't about perfection; it's about embracing life's experiences, both on and off the mat. 

6. Time for you: One of the biggest challenges in leaving a little time for ourselves and our practice. You don’t need 60 minutes a day, just give yourself some time before class, or bring more awareness to some chores, or eat more mindfully. This is also yoga. Consider a retreat or training to reconnect to what you love about yoga. Let me know if you’d like to chat about our courses- or come to Open Evening. 


All of the images, ads & social "norms" that have failed to reflect what you look like, how you identify have told you subconsciously that you cannot/ should not/ would not achieve. The whiter, slimmer, straighter, christian-er you are the higher on the pyramid, the blacker, trans-er, or gayer or islam/ other-er you are the further down you slide. 

Imposter syndrome often affects highly intelligent individuals and experts in their field, like us yoga teachers. As we deepen our knowledge, we may paradoxically feel less confident, this is described as moving from “unconscious incompetence” to “conscious incompetence” as we learn more, according to researchers Dunning and Kruger. But there are further stages where we can move back into a confidence that acknowledges all we DO know and HAVE learnt. 

Consciously we can reframe our perspective. Focus on what we do know and the value we bring to our students. Treat the furry monster - hello inner imposter- with compassion, understanding it as a manifestation of fear and uncertainty and stepping towards what will bring more confidence.

So often our insecurity can hold us back from giving ourselves the time to study or invest in what we need, or to do the marketing we need to fill our classes. So we get stuck in a  vicious cycle. The cardinal rule in business is that investment precedes success. Whatever that investment is for you.

We don’t need to strive to be "better." Often, it's our vulnerability that makes us exceptional teachers, enabling us to forge deeper connections with our students. See if reframing thoughts, focus and emphasis helps. Let me know!

Ready to see your career excel? 

The Authentic heartfelt marketing course & mentoring, is designed specifically to help you connect to your mission and follow the exact step by step approach that has enabled me & the studio to offer successful yoga businesses for 25 years. 


Ready for more skills to take your confidence up a level?

The 300 hour training course is the most comprehensive course, based on real research and offering skills that are seriously in demand and can have your career thrive.

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