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Dry mouth, feelings of shame wash over me- I’m tired from lying awake half the night with scenario after scenario chasing each other round my head. What could go wrong? What will I do if my mind goes blank? How will I cope with the shame of my colleagues finding out that I’m really this frightened, empty-headed person?
This was me in any situation that put me outside of my comfort zone- despite being desperately unhappy within the so called ‘comfort’ zone. My day job was a fast-track teaching programme for ‘Top Graduates’ (!). My life-long dream was to be a writer, yet finishing any piece of writing was impossible because it was never good enough. As soon as I had planned and created something in my life, I seemed to unravel it again.
Imposter syndrome affects at least 70% of the population at one time or another. It can sometimes raise its head in the first few weeks and months of a new position, but often it’s a way of responding to the world that has been learned in childhood. In my case, it made me control my environment and opportunities to such an extent that I pretty much stopped my life (anyone who has left work due to stress and depression may resonate with this). When I finally forced my way through this fear, it resulted in extreme perfectionism in order not to be ‘found out’. I eventually left teaching because I couldn’t see a clear enough measure of my success.
When I chose to become self-employed it ticked every box of every symptom of Imposter Syndrome: perfectionism, striving for expert status, aiming to do everything in the business, proving that I could do it all without help, and then giving up whenever any task became too difficult or required time to master. Sound familiar?
These cycles may be a part of your life, and you may have given up even wanting to find another way (or believing there is a way) to be you as you truly are and be successful. Yet, in the past year I have seen my entire life change in the following ways:
- Embracing being self-employed and shouting about what I do and offer
- Writing prolifically for magazines, blogs and websites
- Presenting a two hour class of my own creation without any preparation
- Maximising on those very same symptoms of Imposter Syndrome
- Recognising my uniqueness and selling it (rather than trying to hide it!)
So what changed? It’s simple. I attended a Right Voice For You Master class with Fiona Cutts. It was the best investment I have ever made in me. I have been given the gift of me: a ‘me’ that I never knew was possible.
I’ll be attending this next three day master class in London in July. Will I see you there? What would you change in your life if you could never fail again? Are you ready to be free of this for good?
Right Voice For You Masterclass, Twickenham 12-14 July: find out more here