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The imposter syndrome

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Monday, 21 November 2022


The belief that we are not competent, that we are not able to provide our clients with what they want, or ‘be the right person’ is a train of thought that most people can relate to at some point in their career.

The imposter syndrome explained

This belief comes forth, usually, when we embark on a new journey or start to edge out of our comfort zone. For example, even if you have had a widely successful clinic, if you were to begin teaching in a whole new setting, the feelings of being an imposter can still pop up because it is a new showcase of knowledge and skill.

The self-doubt that is experienced when imposter syndrome hits can be debilitating. This is because your human self-protection mechanism is trying to get you back into a safe place! Somewhere where you don’t risk failure or rejection.

This self-protection mechanism is what can cause procrastination and paralysation. In other words, you may not be lazy… You may just be suffering imposter syndrome.

Seeing these thoughts as a self-protection mechanism will hopefully allow you to let go of these thoughts a little. See them, not as the truth but as an emotional and neurological reaction.

So why do these self-doubting thoughts trigger?

The fear of being seen

Neurologically we are wired to stay within a group of people. The moment that we step outside “the norm”, our limbic system begins to send stress signals. Shame and self-doubting thoughts begin to tell us, that we are risking ourselves by being exposed. Exposed to the possibility of rejection and exclusion from “our tribe”.

Learning to begin something new

Beginning something new is difficult! Especially when you have reached a place where your daily work is relatively easy, beginning a new challenge in your career will most likely feel a little clunky and uncomfortable. Explore your past approach to doing new things, have you felt this way before? How did you overcome those thoughts to get to where you are?

Who you think you are vs who others think you are.

We are often our own worst critics! When self-doubt begins to feel debilitating, take a moment to breathe. Remember positive comments from over your career and talk to a good friend to gain a fresh perspective. The world will always need more people to stand up and use their gifts for good!

So remember, when the imposter syndrome hits and the self-doubt, lack of confidence, and desire to hide away start to erode your confidence – you are normal and you are human!

These thoughts are saying “you’re doing something new and this is uncomfortable”. Take a deep breath, start slow, edge out of your comfort zone, step into courage and do it anyway.

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Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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