Succeed Without Fear & Heal That Old Impostor Syndrome - Mindful Cuddles Session 8

Updated: Feb 28

Please ensure you do not drive or operate any machinery while listening to this audio recording.

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This recording is intended to be listened to and shared widely with the public and therefore should be seen as non-clinical / non-therapeutic hypnosis and is defined as the use of hypnosis to instill positive thinking and the capacity for self-hypnosis.

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My name is Laura McGregor and I’m a Clinical Hypnotherapist at Nourish Victory.

Perhaps for some time you’ve felt like, any day now, you’re going to be found out and exposed as a fraud, or that people around you believe you’re more competent than you actually are. It could be that you feel your successes have only been down to good luck, rather than to your actual talent and skills, and if people only knew what you were like, deep down, they’d see that you are a fake. Or perhaps it may be that you have experienced a certain reluctance to embark on new projects or try to do things that you feel are outside your comfort zone. Maybe you do actually participate but are constantly held back by a conviction in the back of your mind that you are going to fail in many of the things you attempt. Perhaps this fear has been preventing you from striving towards achieving your goals - and even when you do succeed - it is as though you really didn’t expect it to work out - perhaps you even think it was just a fluke.

Interestingly, people who really are imposters, the kind of people who boldly use fake qualifications and charm to bluff their way into a high-status job they are totally unqualified for, usually feel very little self-doubt or insecurity, and often have an elevated sense of their own entitlement.

It’s also very useful to remember that people who are truly incompetent at their job are typically oblivious to that fact. In a series of experiments at Cornell University in nineteen ninety-nine, researchers found that the poorest performers on any given task are actually less able to notice their incompetence and that they have a mistaken belief in their own superiority. In contrast, the people in those experiments who were the most capable and skilled were more prone to self-doubt and tended to underestimate and undervalue their own abilities.

The truth is, we all go through periods in life where we’re a complete beginner at something, where we’re just finding our feet in a new job or in a new environment, and it’s perfectly normal to feel like a fish out of water who’s expected to climb trees in times like that. But a more subtle form of imposter syndrome can also occur in people even when they’ve been working in their field for many years.

For example, stop right now and make a fist with your right hand. Squeeze it tightly for a moment, and then open your hand again.

Good. Now, if I asked you to tell me in words how you did that, to describe exactly what you did to move the fingers and the thumb, how you willed each muscle, joint and tendon to take up the positions that they did so that your hand went from being open to being curled into a tight fist and then opening out again, and how you were able to carry out this complicated manoeuvre so quickly and easily, you’d have trouble giving me an intelligible answer. You just did it. For you, it was no big deal.

In the same way, people who have developed deep, intuitive skills in any activity or field of work often have great difficulty knowing how they do it. So even after you’ve been working in a field for many years, it’s easy to worry that you’re somehow just winging it. Whereas the reality is much more likely to be that over time you’ve developed skills and abilities that are so natural and intuitive to you, that you simply don’t appreciate any more how hard those skills and abilities would be for someone else to learn.

If your intention is to fall into a deep and sound sleep please be sure your alarm clock is set. Go ahead and place yourself in a comfortable position. Adjust your body so that you’re lying, with your legs and feet uncrossed and slightly apart, hands resting loosely in your lap.

And If I have your permission to guide you into a calm and relaxing state then just begin by taking some deep, comfortable breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

And of course, as always you have the power to Accept or Reject suggestions as you hear them. You can practice this in everyday life when you hear something on television or during regular everyday conversations. And of course, you have the power to accept or reject any suggestions that you hear tonight. Please use these two powerful gifts as often as possible. Doubling down on things that resonate with your values and integrity by internally thinking “I accept that suggestion” and quickly rejecting anything that doesn’t “I reject that suggestion”.

And as you begin to relax I’ll bring your awareness to any sounds, just everyday sounds around your house, people or dogs in the background, perhaps cars passing by in the neighbourhood and these sounds do not bother or disturb you, as a matter of fact, they help you relax even more comfortably. And of course, at any time should you need to awaken, you can do so quickly and effortlessly.

Now as you prepare to relax very deeply you can just close those eyes if you haven’t yet and as you follow along comfortably to the sound of these words and breathe smoothly and easily

I’d like you to begin to pretend that you know how to make a fist

not just with one hand but with both hands at the same time

and you can do that right now

that’s it curl the fingers inwards squeeze both those hands into fists

as you get a real sense of faking it of pretending that this is something you know how to do

And next as you pretend you know how to squeeze those fists even more tightly I’d like you to begin to pretend you don’t know how to open those fists just fake not knowing how to open those hands that’s it and then as you take a slow deep breath in and breathe out smoothly and evenly you can let all of that go you can release the hands allow the fingers to unfurl and really begin to allow yourself to settle comfortably more and more easily and effortlessly into rest and comfort more and more deeply with each and every breath that’s it

And sometimes as you listen to these words you might find yourself really having fun pretending that on the outside you’re relaxing deeply that you’re softening the muscles of the face that you’re loosening the muscles of the neck that you’re allowing the shoulders to relax more and more comfortably with each and every breath while on the inside you secretly stay watchful and alert aware of every sound around you as you pretend to relax the arms the hands the fingers twice as relaxed that’s it and relax the legs the feet the toes allowing that body to feel comfortably heavy while inside you remain secretly totally watchful and alert

And other times as you listen to these words you can really have fun pretending that you’re visibly alert and awake on the outside while secretly invisibly on the inside you’re drifting deeper and deeper into a state of total calm and inner rest a wonderfully enjoyable dreamlike reverie floating only into times of enjoyment satisfaction comfort and ease maybe times in your life when you were doing something you loved to do or a time you were in a place where you felt so wonderfully at ease completely comfortable in your own skin free to be just you expressing yourself naturally being yourself that’s it

The way someone can go on a walk through a beautiful landscape with views stretching out to the horizon perhaps rolling hills and lush valleys perhaps water glittering in the sunlight

and the way that kind of landscape allows you to feel nourished and uplifted and you can really notice how a tree you pass as you walk along grows unselfconsciously unquestioningly simply being the tree that it is sending down roots deep into the earth drawing up nourishment from the ground and stretching its branches out to the sky its leaves basking in the sunlight and there’s a deep quiet a silence patience within that tree which allows it to simply be the tree that it is and to do what it does with a calm steadfast undistractable determination and focus

And beneath and behind any of those old worry thoughts that had been cluttering up your mind in the past there is always this same deep quiet silence and patience allowing you to go into flow to draw on all of your instinctive intuitive strengths and abilities with calm steadfast

undistractable determination and focus

Because of course the truth is opening and closing your hands isn’t something you need to fake

you instinctively know how to do it just as you instinctively know how to take a slow deep breath

and how to genuinely honestly relax all the way down now as you slowly and smoothly breathe out

body relaxing genuinely honestly

mind calming settling down becoming more and more still inside as you enjoy this space opening up within the space between and around the thoughts the space and the silence that’s always here beneath and behind these words

body twice as relaxed now

mind twice as calm now

any thoughts in that mind becoming a quiet distant whisper fading away into the distance allowing you to simply be to simply breathe to simply be here now relaxing and letting go all the way down

And a colleague of mine said to me just the other day once you reach a certain age you realise that you’re not wonderful and you’re not terrible you’re just multi-faceted there are so many different aspects to who you are

you have strengths and weaknesses

talents and quirks

deep knowledge of some things utter ignorance of other things

like all human beings

And over the course of your life there have been

have there not

many things you’ve enjoyed

perhaps things that other people created

music movies books perhaps architecture or works of art where you really appreciated the quality the skill the talent the time and effort that went into their creation

and behind every human achievement from the building of the pyramids in Egypt to the Apollo moon landing

from the symphonies of Beethoven and the plays of William Shakespeare

to the works of any successful person

anyone you’ve ever admired for their confidence their wit

their drive

their talent

their charisma

behind every one of these is a multi-faceted human being with private vulnerabilities

moments of self-doubt

and who that person is when with a close family member or who they are last thing on Sunday night before the start of the working week might be very different from who they are when they are in full flow firing on all cylinders shining at their best

because we are all multi-faceted we are all human and your professional role is only ever one dimension of who you are and it’s neither fake nor the complete truth it’s just one facet of you one dimension of you

And it’s also other people’s right to admire your strengths and talents because after you’ve practiced anything for some time even things you learned as a child like learning to walk learning to talk learning to write the letters of the alphabet you practice them over and over and then they drop into the unconscious mind and gradually come to feel like an instinctive ability

and just as a professional tennis player doesn’t know exactly how they hit the perfect shot

and just as a great entrepreneur doesn’t know exactly how they dig deep within to find the drive perseverance and creative vision they need to succeed

so there are aspects to what you do to your achievements that you might not fully appreciate consciously

but you can really become more open now to having empathy for people who admire that facet of your personality

people who pay you a compliment

people who enthuse about a piece of work or a job you’ve done

it’s their right to perceive that truth to notice and appreciate that facet of your personality because you are neither wonderful nor terrible you are multi-faceted

And I’d like you to begin to get a sense of watching a video of the future on a big high definition screen in your mind

noticing a future you on that screen right now who is able to relax to calmly focus

to trust in the unconscious deeply embedded skills you’ve developed over the years

so that now they feel almost as effortless as breathing as effortless as opening and closing your hand