All in your mind

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough or questioned your ability to undertake your job? Have you ever felt like you’re not qualified or skilled enough? Well, don’t believe everything you think. This is what’s commonly referred to as Imposter Syndrome, and experts say it’s the one thought that we should ignore 100% of the time.

Just because we think something, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true.

To help overcome these thoughts and feelings – to help you overcome Imposter Syndrome – Dr Gail Gazelle MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Master Certified Coach for physicians, lists three points that shed light on why Imposter Syndrome is truly all in your mind.

“A surprisingly large number of highly-accomplished people walk around feeling like they are an imposter, and it really wears them down,” says Dr Gazelle.

What’s important to recognise, however, is that this isn’t actually the truth. What is the truth is that the Imposter Syndrome is simply a thought process that the mind grabs onto, a very subjective one at that, and it is one that you can decide not to believe.”

1. Not everything is as it appears

Dr Gazelle says, “While the mind is very good at producing the thought that we are an imposter, we don’t have to believe everything our mind tells us. Many of our thoughts are not actually facts! This is definitely true about imposter beliefs which are often a fiction the mind has created, not a fact at all. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and don’t listen when your mind tries to tell you you’re not good enough – you definitely are.”

2. Neuroscience shows thoughts are transient

“Modern neuroscience research makes it clear that thoughts are simply transient mental events, not fact,” says Dr Gazelle.

“The human mind produces between 10,000-20,000 thoughts every single day. Some are true but many are not.

“And every thought we’ve ever had fades away, just like the clouds in the sky. When we remember this, we can hold our thoughts much more lightly and not take them as seriously.

“Thoughts are a passing phenomenon, and we can learn how to relate to them in a healthy way that does not inhibit our success,” she adds.

3. Mindfulness is key in resolving Imposter Syndrome

According to Dr Gazelle, “mindfulness is about awareness of what our minds are up to”.

“With mindfulness, we get to know our thought patterns and we realise that we have a choice in how we relate to them,” she says.

“We have the choice whether we spend a lot of time focusing on an imposter belief and almost cementing it in our minds.

“Alternatively, we have the choice to put aside these unhelpful thoughts and focus instead on all the ways we are truly capable.”