How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a Yoga Teacher

“You don’t belong here.” “Who do you think you are teaching that?” “You’re not good enough to do that!” “You need way more experience.” 

You know the voice.

The one in the back of your head. Rooted in fear, it induces paralysis with every word. Through it’s incessant chatter, you begin to believe it as truth. How could you not? It’s louder than any other voice in your head.

And it just gets louder and louder the closer you get to moving forward in your yoga career.

Despite the milestones and achievements you’ve accomplished in your life thus far, you still feel crippled by this voice and sensation of fear. Paralyzing you to move towards the direction of your dreams; teaching yoga, becoming location independent, building your yoga website, sharing your unique gifts, connecting with others in a way only you can, etc.

If this sounds all too familiar to you, I believe you have a strong case of Imposter Syndrome.

Coined by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, Imposter Syndrome is a very real phenomena in which the person has a feeling of phoniness while believing that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.

I’m here today to share with you signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome, the consequences of not doing anything about it, and ways to overcome it in your own life.

Roughly 70% of people experience this. Despite if you feel you’re an imposter or not, I’m certain you can glean some insight from this article. We all deal with doubt and feelings of unworthiness. We are human. 🙂

 

yoga imposter

 

 

Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome

Do any of these sound like you? Not all of them may apply, but if you feel yourself agreeing to any of these, it may be time to check yourself. Has Imposter Syndrome gotten ahold of you, too?

 

Difficulty Accepting Praise

What is your natural reaction when someone gives you praise? Is it hard for you to accept a compliment? When is the last time you genuinely thanked someone for their nice words? When you struggle with Imposter Syndrome, you have a hard time accepting praise, because you believe you’re not deserving of it; that it was all luck, timing or something else outside of yourself. When you do this, you deny your own self-worth and shun those around you.

You don’t have a strong enough sense of self-worth to feel capable of doing something for which someone would praise you. Start by simply noticing how you respond when someone gives you a compliment. Then, slowly begin to integrate acceptance into your response. It can start with just saying, “thank you.”

 

You Discount Your Success

You tend to downplay your successes as nothing. “Oh it wasn’t a big deal” or “I did well because it was so easy,  anyone could do it” could be common phrases.

Discounting your success and attributing it to external factors and not your internal abilities is a sure-fire sign you have Imposter Syndrome.

It isn’t easy to trust in ourselves, but it’s the first step to believing in our strengths and abilities. Remember, you are responsible for your success! Own it!

 

You Focus on What’s Wrong

 

When fear and anxiety have a stronghold on us, it becomes natural for us to focus on everything that’s wrong. When it comes to teaching yoga, it is easy to see all the places we could improve, instead of recognizing all the things we did well. We are so hard on ourselves.

We all know that where intention goes, energy flows – in other words, whatever you focus on will only intensify. So for practice, try focusing on all that went really well. See how you feel. Then make it a habit. 🙂

 

You’re a Perfectionist

Have you ever heard the phrase: “Progression, not perfection”? Waiting until the perfect moment, or wanting to complete something perfectly can hold us back from getting anywhere. Striving for perfection is a definite way to block you from achieving much of anything.

Imposters often set unrealistic expectations on themselves, expecting them to execute a task flawlessly, and when they don’t – they see themselves as failures. This further fuels their feelings of unworthiness and thus the cycle continues.

Practice by focusing your efforts on progress, rather than perfection.

 

Fear of Failure Paralyzes You

If you can’t seem to take a step forward in any direction because the fear of failure is crippling, you may suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Fear and anxiety are in constant alliance in an attempt to keep you from getting anywhere. They work hard to make you feel inadequate, small and scared.

If this sounds like you, working on your relationship with fear and why it shows up in the way it does, will benefit you greatly. Of course we are all managing fear on a daily basis, some more than others. But by getting to the root of where it’s coming from, will help you manage it long term, keeping fear and yourself in-check along the way.

 

“If I can do it, anyone can.”

When you know what you’re doing, it’s effortless. Which it may be – to you. We tend to devalue those skills that come naturally to us because we don’t understand that not everyone is like us.

Give yourself some credit. Whether it was a learned skill or something that comes naturally to you, only you carry the blend of skills and talents that you provide.

 

You Believe What You’re Doing is Never Enough

You place such high standards and expectations on yourself, you feel that anything you do just isn’t enough. This belief only perpetuates feelings of unworthiness and doubt. In this mindset, you’ll never get anything done. (Nor will it be done “right”).

Trust that everything you do has an impact on the future. Celebrate wins – big and small! There will always be more to do, you are doing all that you can.

 

You’re Not Alone

 

You’re never alone. Many high performance achievers fall victim to Imposter Syndrome.

  • Seth Godin, bestselling author of 18 books wrote in “The Icarus Deception” that he still feels like a fraud.
  • Will Smith, Actor, Songwriter, and Comedian says, “I still doubt myself every single day. What people believe is my self-confidence is actually my reaction to fear.”

 

Consequences of Imposter Syndrome

If you don’t do anything to overcome what you’re feeling as an imposter, the consequences will come to bite you in the butt:

  • Feelings of anxiety/depression
  • Procrastination
  • Being underpaid
  • Loss of clients or jobs
  • Not achieving your dreams

 

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

If you feel like an imposter or fraud at your job teaching yoga, you are not alone. Many of the most successful yoga teachers in the world have experienced similar feelings.

Try moving through these steps to help you trust in yourself and unlock more of your potential.

 

1) Awareness

To improve any area of our life it’s important to start with the simple awareness that something needs to shift. If any of the Imposter Symptoms resonate with you, you already have the awareness around it. Maintain this awareness in everything you do.

2) Acknowledgement & Acceptance

Acknowledge and accept exactly where you are right now. No need to make massive changes overnight. First acknowledge where you are. Acceptance will come once you recognize your place in the process.

3) Trust Yourself

With the constant noise we immerse ourselves in (cough, social media, cough), it can be so difficult to trust our own intuition and gut. To overcome feeling like a fraud, it’s important to trust who you are and what you can offer. Fully trusting in your abilities will get you over the hump of fear and doubt.

4) Eliminate Comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing yourself to others will not only not get you anywhere, but it will make you feel worse. Social media can be a major culprit of our feelings of unworthiness which stem from comparison. Do your best to create boundaries around the time you spend on social media. And if you don’t use social media, where can you reduce comparison in your life? Rather than compare yourself to the next best yoga teacher, honor them for the hard work it took to get to where they are in their career.

5) Ease the Unrealistic Expectations

By now, you’re probably already familiar with the idea that setting expectations in any area of your life can lead to great disappointment and feelings of defeat. The higher the expectation, the greater the pressure and the greater feelings of frustration we experience.

Continue to set goals for yourself but be realistic about them. Make them challenging, but attainable.

6) Focus on What You CAN Teach or Offer

By focusing on your strengths, you’ll start to condition your mind to see the positive, rather than the negative. You have something to teach that no one else does. Be confident with where you are in the process and teach what you know.

7) Share with Someone

Imposter Syndrome can feel very isolating. Rather than feeling more alone, share what you’re going through with someone you trust. In this exchange, you’ll not only feel better getting it out, but your trusted friend can help you sift through what isn’t true and validate what is.

Vulnerability breeds connection. It will feel good to open up.

 

 

Bonus! 

Discover Your Niche. Finding your niche will help you stand out from the crowd and alleviate feelings of Imposter Syndrome. Have a heart to heart with yourself. What are your true gifts? Who could benefit from those gifts? Only YOU can provide what YOU know. Trusting in this will set you apart and build your confidence.

 

 

Let’s wrap up!

Needing a bit more? Check out Amanda’s podcast episode all about Imposter Syndrome for yoga teachers right here.

Worthiness goes hand-in-hand with Imposter Syndrome. Are you one of those people who gives up easily? Quits when it gets hard? The very root of quitting is unworthiness. Working on it isn’t an easy job, but one that will make a big difference on how you show up in your work day after day.

Trusting ourselves and recognizing our own self-worth are life-long practices. It won’t get better overnight. But you don’t have to succumb to Imposter Syndrome for the rest of your life. Recognize the symptoms, adopt a few tips to overcoming them, and set yourself free!

Oh and always keep in mind, nobody knows what the hell their doing. 😉

If you’re in need of additional support, please reach out anytime. We’re here for you.

Until next time,

Anne

 

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