Imposter syndrome feeds on negative self-talk.
The first step in combating it is to develop awareness of our thoughts, so that we can identify negative thoughts and how they influence our emotions and behaviors.
Our emotions, thoughts and behaviors are intrinsically linked and influence each other.
Use the Awareness of Negative Thoughts worksheet to begin developing this awareness.
Situation: Identify a situation that causes you negative emotions, or acts as a trigger for imposter syndrome: What happened? When? Where? How? With whom?
Emotion: Stop to observe the emotions and sensations in your body (do you feel tense shoulders? cold sweats? hands shaking?). How intense is this emotion?
Identify the negative automatic thought: what did you think in that situation? What do these thoughts say about you? What situation do these thoughts evoke? What is the worst that could happen?
Facts that support the negative automatic thought: What are the facts? What objective facts exist that negative thoughts are true?
Facts that provide evidence against the negative automatic thought: What objective facts exist that negative thoughts are not entirely true? Is it possible that the negative thoughts are opinion, rather than fact? Is it possible that there are alternatives to these thoughts?
New, alternative, more balanced perspective: Based on the evidence, are there alternative thoughts or perspectives on this situation? What might someone external say about this situation? Is there a bigger picture, or a more balanced perspective?
Outcome: With the new thoughts or perspectives in mind, what are you feeling now? How intense are those feelings? What are you feeling in your body now? How intense are those feelings? How can you deal more effectively with this situation next time?
Repeat this exercise several times, until questioning automatic thoughts and observing emotions becomes a habit. Without this work of self-knowledge it is not possible to start the process of change.
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