Wellbeing expert Dani Sheil knows all about imposter syndrome – the signs, the symptoms and the self-talk and is here to help with useful tips and a must-attend course to reframe negativity …
“It is fascinating that so many strong, clever and educated woman believe they aren’t good enough. People in all walks of life and in different careers, doubt their skills, accomplishments and talents,” says wellbeing expert Dani Sheil. “Their overriding feeling is that they’re not good enough. Not good enough at work, not good enough as a friend, not good enough as a partner or as a mother.”
Sheil knows all about these feelings. “Eight years ago I was invited to open the Sales Force EMCC sales and marketing quarterly meeting with a 20-minute mindfulness session. I had been teaching yoga and meditation for about 13 years, and had organised and led numerous mindfulness, meditation and yoga courses. In the course of my career, I’ve taught over 2,000 classes. Yet, my fear of speaking in front of 500 people almost convinced me I needed to decline the offer. My immediate reaction was ‘what do I know’?”
This phenomenon is recognised as imposter syndrome, when we doubt our abilities and feel like we’re a fraud. It strangely affects mostly woman, a lot of whom are high achievers, who cannot give themselves credit for their accomplishments, accolades and achievements. Former American First Lady Michelle Obama admits to this feeling. She claims we as women have spent so long being taught we don’t belong in the room where the big decisions are made that when we get there, we constantly second guess ourselves. She believes remembering we are our own worst critics is one way to help.
Social media, of course, literally adds insult to injury. It shows everyone else’s apparently perfect lives. Dani shares some tried and tested tips for overcoming imposter syndrome:
1. Start with positive self-talk. The only way to move beyond these fears is to be aware they’ll arise and to trust that your own voice and ideas are valuable. That comes with positive self-talk. Watch your inner critic, it’s a daily life’s task to manage the voice in your own head.
2. Recognise the symptoms. The physical sensations of nervousness such as butterflies, sweaty palms, restlessness and clenched jaws are the same as that of excitement. When we tell ourselves we are nervous our body and emotions work towards proving ourselves right. By changing the dialogue to “I feel excited” (which is the same physical sensation) we are offering ourselves a more positive perspective, the first step in believing we can.
3. Stop setting unrealistic goals. The human condition is not perfect. Regardless of what you believe, not a single person on this planet has the perfect life, job, body, or mind. The perfectionist is a prime candidate for imposter syndrome. Stop setting unrealistic goals and learn to fail. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to try again more intelligently”. Instead of beating yourself up if or when you do fail, pick yourself up, see what you’ve learned and move forward.
4. Change the dialogue. The people who don’t suffer from imposter syndrome are no less intelligent or educated or skilled, they just think with intention. Try changing your narrative. Instead of thinking “Oh no, everyone here is brilliant and I’m not” try to reframe this and say, “Wow, everyone here is brilliant – I’m really going to learn a lot!”. Practice a mantra repeatedly until you feel calm and believe “I am good enough!” (Michelle Obama’s mantra of choice).
5. Start journaling your success. Journaling can show us clearly how our thoughts are damaging us and it gives us the opportunity to reframe our thoughts in a more positive direction. Own your success and celebrate all your wins, journaling can really validate all your successes.
6. Talk to other women. You really would be surprised how many people feel the exact same way as you! Spend time with other amazing, strong, supportive women. You’ll feed each other’s souls.
As for opening the Sales Force meeting, Dani says she made a split-second decision to go for it. She explains, “I didn’t think I was good enough or ready, but I remembered confidence is the ability to just do it.” Since 2013 she has spoken at numerous meetings and events for several multinationals from Sales Force to Stripe. She explains, “Often when I am miked up and standing in front of hundreds of people, I feel I am not good enough, but now I watch my thoughts and get on with it.”
From October 14, Dani is running a 16-week course entitled, “Crafting Happiness: How to gain clarity, live with intention and let go of other people’s expectations.” In this course, participants will learn how to manage their thoughts, silence their inner critic and maximise the way they live to reach their full potential. As an insight into this course, Dani will be hosting a free webinar on September 30 at 1pm on the subject of how our thoughts can prevent purposeful action.
One previous participant writes of this course: “This is a great way to begin the journey of introspection, giving you the chance to ask challenging questions and think differently about how you approach different situations in life while balancing the conversation with a combination of yoga and meditation. Dani is a great instructor/coach/guide on every level, and I would 100 per cent recommend this workshop!”
To sign up visit app.heymarvelous.com/dani-sheil/.
For more information about Dani visit www.danisheil.com.
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