[four-minute read; 15-minute optional practice]
We didn’t ask for impostor syndrome, yet here it is, preventing us from enjoying success.
The good news is that, like other negative thought patterns, impostor syndrome can be stopped in its tracks. The first step to accomplishing this is to learn more about it and where it comes from like our founder and CEO, Brian Tate, did. When we identify the unique reasons we struggle with it, and the thoughts and feelings that are attached to it, its power is broken. We can begin telling ourselves a different story, that we’re not impostors, we’re already successful, and the bar we’ve set for ourselves is unrealistically high.
Affirmations like these help, but they’re only as effective as we are aware of what’s going on in our minds at a given moment. Strengthening our awareness can help us identify whenever impostor syndrome is making an unwanted appearance in our minds. The best way to do that is through meditation.
10-Step Meditation for Impostor Syndrome
At its core, impostor syndrome—the feeling that we’re unworthy of our successes—is just that: a feeling.
Mindfulness meditation gives us the power to become aware of thoughts and feelings as they appear in our consciousness and the strength to let them go. (That includes the thoughts and feelings that constitute impostor syndrome.) By doing this repeatedly, we can loosen the grip that a negative pattern of thought, like impostor syndrome, has on our lives.
Here’s a 10-step mindfulness meditation you can practice right now that is tailored to help you overcome impostor syndrome. It will help you become aware of when the impostor in you is rearing its head and effectively counter it with presence of mind, openness, and self-compassion. Try it out for a few weeks and see how it works for you!
- 1. Sit comfortably, spine erect, on a chair or cushion.
- 2. Before you begin, take a moment to ask yourself a few questions and search your mind for the answers. (You can spend as much or as little time on this as you want.)
- What’s my motivation for sitting down to meditate each day? (For example, “I want to overcome impostor syndrome and enjoy my successes without feeling like a fraud or a failure because I failed to live up to the unreasonably high bar I set for myself.“)
- What’s my goal for this particular meditation? Try to keep it simple and attainable. (For example, “I want to avoid getting frustrated when I lose focus. Or, I want to be especially aware of thoughts that sound like impostor syndrome.“)
- What distractions are capturing my attention most strongly right now? Create a mental list of them, and resolve to stay aware of them and let them go when they do arise. For this particular meditation, add impostor syndrome to your list even if it isn’t distracting you right this moment.
- 3. Set a timer of 10-15 minutes (you can increase this as your practice becomes routine and habitual). Close your eyes.
- 4. Begin by expanding your awareness to include everything occurring in the present moment. Sensations, sounds, scents, tastes, and sights (including the light show taking place behind your eyelids) are all fair game. So are thoughts, emotions, and moods. Simply become and remain aware of everything you’re experiencing internally and externally.
- 5. After spending some time becoming aware of your sensory experience, shift your attention to your breath, wherever you feel it most. That could mean the sensation of your breathing on the bridge of your nose, or the rising and falling of your abdomen as you inhale and exhale.
- 6. Keep your attention fixed on this point, but remain aware of the other elements of your experience in the present—sights, sounds, thoughts, emotions, etc. We are perfectly capable of focusing on our breath while remaining aware of thoughts and sensations that arise on the periphery of our attention.
- 7. The moment you’ve noticed that you’ve become distracted by a thought, take a moment to observe the thought itself objectively, without judgment, and return your attention to the breath. Repeat this step until the session is finished.
- 8. If you realize you’ve been distracted by thoughts by several minutes, don’t be discouraged. This is perfectly normal for first-time meditators. Just accept that it happened, observe the thought itself without judgment, and return to the present. Getting frustrated with our inability to pay attention is counterproductive, as it can cause us to fixate even harder on the distraction in question. Just observe the thought that distracted you and observe any frustration that may have arisen. Frustration, after all, is just another thought. Let it all go without judgment, and return your attention to the breath.
- 9. If you notice you’ve become distracted by thoughts of impostor syndrome, observe the thoughts, let them go, and respond to them with affirmations—“I am successful,” “I don’t have to be perfect,” “I’m a genuinely talented and hardworking person”—before returning your attention back to your breath.
- 10. Perform this meditation daily or as close to daily as possible over the course of several weeks, and see how it works for you!
United in Our Journey
At Oats Overnight, we’re always asking, “How can we do things better?” This desire for excellence has helped us create a new, superior way to do breakfast, and we’re pretty pleased with that. At the same time, we’d be lying if we said that as a young company we rarely struggle with impostor syndrome. If you also wrestle with this, we invite you to join our community of support and encouragement. We’d also love to help you fuel your growth with a nutrient-dense, delicious breakfast each morning.
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About Oats Overnight
Enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast with none of the work. Overnight oatmeal loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and 20g+ of protein. No recipes needed. Life Is Hard, Make Breakfast Easy.