Do you have imposter syndrome? That niggling voice in the back of your head telling you that you aren’t good enough? Does it get in the way of your blogging and business?
Until 2016 I didn’t understand the term ‘Mindset’ it seemed a bit airy fairy to me. But something happened in 2016. I had a mindset change. I didn’t engineer it, I didn’t even realise what it was until much later on but it gave me a new perspective on life, blogging and business.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have hang-ups or anxiety though. I’ve quashed some demons but there are some that persist. For example, I suffer, as I know a lot of bloggers do from Imposter syndrome. The thought that actually I haven’t got a clue, I’m a fake, a fraud a flake.
Enter Frederique. I’ve known Frederique offline for about seven years. We met because we were both blogging for ‘Bloggertone’ now Tweak Your Biz and we’ve stayed in touch online. We finally met in person last year at a Sage Business Expert meetup and it was then that I realised she had a lot of advice for bloggers. We discussed some simple things you can do to banish your imposter syndrome and the nagging voice that just wants to tell you you’re rubbish.
Like what you hear? Grab a copy of Frederique’s book Lead Beyond The Edge here.
Listen to Frederique’s tips for banishing imposter syndrome
Hi Frederique, tell the listeners a bit about yourself
I’m a mindset strategist, I help leaders and work with business leaders. I inspire and equip them to move through extraordinary change. What really stops us from change is the limits we put on ourselves our inner dialogues that we have, procrastination. All of this has to do with mindset.
One of the things I like about your stuff is you make it simple
We tend to make things more complicated than they are. We need to remember that simplicity is our friend and how empowering it is and I think that’s something that makes me quite unique. Even though I come from a scientific background I think my audience never feels like it’s going to be complicated to listen to me or think ‘oh gosh she’s going to start talking about the brain and I’m not going to understand’.
Let’s talk about ‘Impostor Syndrome’. I wanted to talk about it because it’s something that hits me a lot and I think it hits others a lot too. Particularly at this time of year when there’s less light and we start looking at the goals we set.
Everyone can have imposter syndrome.
We all have this little voice. The first thing that anyone listening to this podcast should know is that they are normal. Having this little voice, telling us things we probably don’t want to share, that goes with us wherever we go and just nags at us is normal.
There is nothing wrong with you. The voice just shows up when we have the tiniest doubt, the tiniest figment of fear, the smallest insecurity. As you said it could be the light, it getting a bit darker or it could be a tweet we receive, a comment we get, an email we receive. Anything that is going to spark our insecurity, doubt, fears and suddenly it just goes full on. What’s important is to really leverage our mind so that we can control it instead of letting it control us. And remember that it is an ‘it’ and we have power over ‘it’ unless we don’t do anything. When we do nothing ‘it’ powers us.
The 3 S Process For Banishing Imposter Syndrome
Strategy 1 STOP
The first thing we can do is to realise how powerful we are. We need to command it and know that it’s going to work.
So say to yourself STOP, STOP IT. You can say something less PC if you wanted to whatever command is going to work for you.
I really talk from experience. I wouldn’t want anyone listening to think ‘she has it easy’. All of my stragtegies come from really deep personal experience. There were times when I’d have to use them ten, twenty, thirty, forty times a day because that’s how strong my inner dialogue was. The more you do it the easier it gets.
Should you say it out loud?
It depends, if you are in the tube or a busy environment you will not want to say it out loud but if you feel that you can, by all means go for it. I would mutter it or strongly think it. Whatever we think of the brain picks up on.
By saying stop we are stopping ourselves spiralling into that chain of thought?
Yes, because you are interrupting a pattern.
Strategy 2 SWAP
The brain, as amazing but it doesn’t like to multitask. It can do it but it doesn’t like it as it’s not being as efficient as it could be. Your brain is dedicating energy and focus to that little voice. If you then suddenly say ‘OK I’m going to put on a song and dance for the next five minutes like no one is watching’ or ‘I am going to go out for a small 3k or 5k run or walk’ you are interrupting that activity.
The worst thing you could do, and we’ve all done it would be to go into a room, switch off the light and put on one of the worst depressive song and just continue listening to that voice. So swapping is a great thing and if you use music is really powerful.
I always recommend to my audiences to have a playlist of 3 to 5 songs ready. These are the songs that are going to revitalise you, energise you, make you really happy. It’s easily accessible, just grab your phone, if you are in an environment with people around you put your headphones on. If you are not, dance.
The reason I’m saying not just to listen but dance is that this makes it even more powerful because your brain has to send some energy for you to start moving your arms and your legs.
When we do this inner voice thing we tend to be sitting and we stay sitting and actually standing up increases the oxygen flow in your brain by 20%. That amazing 20% makes you feel so much better. It’s interesting, when we have a problem we tend to sit down which is quite illogical because we want our brain to be the best so we should be standing up.
Are you a fan of those standing desks?
Yes I am, I have one, that’s how I’m recording this interview with you right now. They are based on that fact that I just gave you. When we are standing up there is an influx of oxygen in our brain, it makes it perform best.
Strategy 3 SCRIBE
All the strategies are how to take control of ‘It’. When we don’t do anything and ‘it’ is in our head it tends to get messy, it’s a jumbled mess. Take a pen and paper and start writing down what the voice is telling you. What is overpowering when it’s in our head would actually just be laughable when we write it down.
It’s like when we read a joke, it could be funny on paper. But if someone actually says it to you, they are moving their arms and delivering it to you it’s much funnier. This is a little bit like what your inner voice is doing. Your voice is delivering the joke in a clownish way and it has quite a lot of power. If you start writing it down you’ll start not believing it.
Is that something you’d recommend doing just when you hear the voice or is it something you should do more regularly to keep our heads clear?
The techniques are pattern interrupts so they work really well as soon as your little voice comes in.
The first one, STOP, takes a second. SWAP and SCRIBE can be done in addition if it’s still going on and you just want to get through it. Those ones are for when it’s happening.
For general wellness it’s great to have bullet journaling or mindful journaling, there are so many journals out there. For example, you could keep a gratitude journal that makes you focus on what you are grateful for and the positive of your life. This helps towards your inner dialogue and that little voice of yours. It will have less stuff to say because you will be more focussed on the good things. So having a journal as a maintenance for your overall wellbeing is a great thing.
I’m also a fan of visualisation. I talk a lot about visualisation on the blog, the podcast and from stage. When we spend time visualising it’s just really, really powerful. As business owners, solopreneurs, executives anything we achieve has to start in our mind. When we visualise and give ourselves the time to see it happen in our mind first then we can make it happen. So both would be ideal.
One more thing
My platform is called Mountain Moving Mindset. When your mindset is strong enough to move mountains your mindset is strong enough to do anything. We call it ‘M3’.
The full M3 process is:
- Stand up
- Look up
- Smile and think of one major achievement you have already accomplished.
That takes you about 30 seconds and really boosts you for that next hour, then do it again.
Talking to Frederique is always inspiring. I’m going to share some links in the show notes so you can find out more about her techniques but it’s simple really. That inner voice needs taming, so tell it to stop, swap it for some crazy dancing… or something more sedate if you prefer and get it out of your head and onto paper so you can see how irrelevant it is.
More about Frederique Murphy
Specialising in Inspirational Leadership, Frederique Murphy is a mindset strategist who inspires and equips leaders to move through extraordinary change. With her Mountain Moving Mindset (M3) platform, she equips you with scientifically-based strategies to take your life, career and business to a whole new level. With strong business acumen (15+ years of experience in corporate change), science expertise (positive psychology, neuroscience, and behaviour change), and strategic vision, she makes change happen! Frederique is a passionate and charismatic speaker, who captivates audiences – when she takes to the stage, sparks fly and beliefs, attitudes and behaviours will be instilled to create lasting change.
ARTICLE: 7 Strategies To Control Your Thoughts (and not the other way around!)
PODCAST: The M3 Mile podcast
VIDEO: The Success Formula to Drive Extraordinary Change | TEDx Talk (9min)