Imposter Syndrome. 🤢 I hate it when this shows up, but it inevitably does. As a recovering perfectionist myself (and knowing many others like me), I find that imposter syndrome and perfectionism seem like BFFs. This is especially awful as a practice owner and therapist because it can really crank up those damn shame gremlins!!
I like to go "back to basics" when this happens. Reach into what you KNOW as the amazing therapist you are....There are some very important things we learned about working with clients - there's no rule that says you can't "apply" some of this knowledge to yourself! Of course we can't counsel ourselves; however, the skills and knowledge we have can be great tools when we need them!!
For years, I spent so much energy trying to talk myself out of these feelings...but of course this kind of internal INVALIDATION only makes it WORSE (never mind how depleting it is...in a career that already requires a LOT of emotional bandwidth, not a great combo)!! Here are my three favorite ways to disarm this SUPER ANNOYING lil' gremlin:
Note to self: I'm always learning! It's ok not to know!! Especially as you really step into being a private practice business owner! If I don't know what I'm doing on a particular topic or feel unsure, I love flipping the script into one that is excited to learn. For example, "It is kinda intimidating to do/try something new like this but I love learning new things!" (Y'all hear it right, the self-compassion in there...plus VALIDATION?!? #gamechanger).
Core values to the rescue! As a big Brené Brown fan, and as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator myself, I love leveraging my two core values when imposter syndrome and/or perfectionism pops up. When imposter these two jerks are trying to bump me out of the "driver's seat," I try really hard to get back to my core values. For me, that is authenticity and gratitude. These two guiding principles remind me it's ok to be exactly where I am. And with that, imposter syndrome starts to lose its grip on me. Authenticity reminds me I have permission to confused, stuck, scared...whatever it may be! Gratitude helps me remember the things I am feeling positively about. Those two things together really "reset" my mindset!! I don't care WHAT your two core values are...if you bump them up against imposter syndrome, you'll be back in the driver's seat in no time! Values do not have room for imposter syndrome and the BS 💩 story it tries to tell us!
Phone a friend or fan! Reach out to a friend or someone you trust. Let them know you're struggling! (If they tell you to stop it or some other dismissing reply, remind them you're asking for support and if it was "that easy" you wouldn't have needed support!) Share your thoughts or tell them what is worrying you - ask them to remind you of some accomplishments they have seen you achieve! Or maybe you just need to say some things out loud? You can ask your trusted friend to just listen so you can get it off your chest. Want to brainstorm what to do? Ask your friend to brainstorm with you! Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. The people who love you want to help...(sometimes we just have to help them learn how best they can help us in various situations).
Give some of the 'hacks' a try! Jot the one that resonates most down on a sticky note and keep it on your desk or planner until it becomes second-nature. You are an awesome therapist, I know it!! Stop beating up on my friend, K?? 😉