“Never let who you were yesterday talk you out of who you are becoming”: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome amidst a Pandemic.

Oct 04, 2021

Never let who you were yesterday talk you out of who you are becoming”. Who you were yesterday is not who you need to be today or in your future. So many people let their past define their future because they are driven by fear and not purpose. A purpose, a big enough “why” gives us courage be and do whatever is required.


The pandemic meant many of us out there had to pivot and evolve. The high performer in me was not going to "fall behind" and so I did, I pivoted. I went out and got myself further educated in the world of coaching and mindset. 20 years in high performance sport has taught me it didn't matter what I did to help athletes physically if mentally they were under prepared and unable to execute. This awareness meant coaching had always been part of what I did but I had never really called it anything different. Different being a key word here. Different growing up was almost something I ran from, running towards anything to fit in. But I have since strived to be different, strived to be better, to be extraordinary. But to be both a performance physiotherapist and a coach was something no one else was doing, and a fear crept in like nothing I had felt before. What was this fear and why was I so scared of making this leap considering I had been doing it for years.


Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. 


I realised I was letting this fear control me, I was suffering from IMPOSTER SYNDROME. Questioning myself, my skills, my education and my experience. I realised holding these feelings in however only fuelled the fire. Alternately when I shared my feelings with others, they were able to present me with facts that squash the imposter bubble. It was incredibly freeing to also realise how common imposter syndrome is and the purpose of this article.


It is important to focus on fact and not feeling. The facts are; when you take a big enough step, take on a challenge or a leap of faith you are going to have doubts. If you don’t have any doubt your probably not playing big enough. You should feel “fraudulent” if you are breaking old barriers, the old you hasn’t been there before. Imposter syndrome could quite literally be a normal response.


Imposter syndrome is not a problem for the mediocre, it is a problem for those who wish to be extraordinary. If you are in constant pursuit of excellence as I am, you care deeply about what you do. You know and live your purpose. When doubt creeps in it is imperative to be able to reconnect with purpose, continue to strive for excellence and be able to forgive yourself when things do work out exactly as planned. To be able to accept and find the learning. I try to find the learning in every situation.


As the world has continued to grapple the pandemic the rules of engagement in this world have changed. How we interact and for some so much clarity around what they value. This is a unique time to be alive, presenting with new opportunities for greatness and to make a difference. Doubt and uncertainty are almost stable fixtures on the playing field. Knowing and accepting this has brought some peace with my own imposter talk. Get aware of the conversation going on in your own head and take control of it. We all get to choose the thoughts we roll with. Take control and focus on what serves you and your purpose.


Throughout my journey I have learnt one of my greatest attributes has been self-belief. Well it is until it isn’t. I have had to adopt some of the strategies I use with athletes around capacity to execute. I use visualisation and breathing techniques to strengthen that belief, to feel the success.


I am not going to lie. They are sometimes where we all have to fake it until we make it. That is, sometimes the confidence is fake. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there before you have all your ducks in a row. The courage comes from taking that leap. Change the thinking, change the belief and take the action because you might actually land on the moon.


Dr Jo Brown





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