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Submitting Imposter Syndrome

"Are you crazy?"

"You're not as a good as {name} and never will be"

"just forget all this, get a normal 9-5 and make money"

"You talk a good game about wanting to train world champions, but you won't" 

"you really think a disabled kid, could do that stuff, just be happy where you're at don’t upset anything"

Pretty harsh right? I bet you're thinking "who can possibly say such  F'ed up things to you? They must be a real asshole"

What if I told you the person saying all those hurtful things to me was ME?

Yeah, it's true.

Every morning, I sit down, and I write out all the things I will accomplish in my life and inevitably some variation of the above pops into my head.

This is actually a psychological phenomenon called "imposter syndrome " and the gist of it is that no matter how much you have accomplished or been through, there's still  a part of you  like a fraud. For example, I got straight A's in my masters courses and there's still points  writing these blogs where I think "you have no idea what you're talking about, nobody wants to read this bullshit" or I have  coached my friends to wins a national and international competitions but there are times when I'm asked to fill in or teach in practice and my first thought is "ut oh. You're gonna get exposed, you're not as good as you want everyone to believe" 

It doesn't take a genius to realize that if these thoughts keep happening , sooner or later this imposter is going to sink his hooks in and strangle our dreams until they are DOA. We obviously don't want that  so here are some ways that we can submit that imposter syndrome and start moving forward to reaching our goals 

Get a mentor

I'll let you in on a little secret. All great coaches, have coaches. Everybody needs somebody to talk to and bounce feelings and ideas off. One of those guys for me was my advisor for my masters Dr. Brandon Orr. "Dr. O" Is the sport psych consultant for Mizzou's wrestling team. He and I got along pretty well during the pursuit of my masters and  I would message him a lot with my concerns or negative thoughts and sometimes I would get a long email back from him with a lot of feedback and other times, it could be something as short as, "you're a dumbass. Your work is as good as anyone's that I have, keep working.. KILL"  you'd be surprised sometimes something as blunt as that can be enough validation to help to snap you out of it

Realize your expertise

For me, this usually happens when I'm teaching the kids or working with somebody to problem solve a technique and they get it and I have that little moment where I say to myself "damn, I'm good"  not in an arrogant or overconfident way , but as a way to say  "listen, you know what the hell you're talking about, ease up"

Forget perfection

This is a big one for me. I often tell people that I'm a "recovering perfectionist" lol. Quick story, I once worked a job that was really, really, important to me; it was my "dream job" and I was so focused on making everyone around me happy, and pleasing everyone that you know who wound up being miserable? Me. and it's my own fault. I was chasing something that was unattainable. No one is going to be happy with you 24/7 and perfection doesn't exist.  I should have just focused on doing the absolute best job I could, while appreciating my job for wat it was. Even when we're talking technique, there's always going to be something that can be critiqued. Mastery is a process not a destination. The sooner you realize that the happier or more content you'll be

Acknowledge it

Now that you know that Imposter Syndrome is a term, if you didn’t before, acknowledge it for what it is. When I'm doing  those writings in the morning and I get those thoughts that pop in sometimes I will say out loud "theres that imposter syndrome BS again" acknowledging  it putting it out there,  takes away some of the weight and the power that those thoughts have


The key objective in the sport of Judo is to use your opponent's momentum against them and when they come charging in hard, you quickly turn and throw them with all of your might, we're going to do the same thing here, When you have those negative thoughts, let them come in, let them finish and then as soon as they do reverse them, by visualizing yourself at the end of that thought and then overcoming that thought. (I talk a lot about visualization/mental imagry  in  "Win the Mental Fight" don't have a copy go to the home page after you read this put your name an email in the box)

Ask for Help 

Last, but certainly not least, if you ever feel like things get way too heavy, ask for help. I need to be abundantly clear, THIS IS NOT A CHEAP PLUG FOR MY SERVICES! Although I have the words "sport psych consultant" on my social media, I'm not licensed,  and I don't pretend to be, I will listen to anyone who needs to talk, but I have my limits. If you feel like you need help, please ask for it. We need to get past this thing that asking for help in any area of life makes you "soft" it is an incredibly tough thing to do and it takes guts and a strong will.

Its kind of sad but a lot of times, the toughest opponent holding us back from achieving the greatness inside of us, is us. Follow these steps above and you can submit imposter syndrome once and for all!

Think you're alone? it was reported that almost 70% of the population has reported feeling imposter syndrome at least once in their lives

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