Imposter Syndrome, or a mental pattern of doubting your skills, talents, and accomplishments coupled with the fear of being exposed as a fraud, can strike at any time. Pilates teachers are especially vulnerable as we are often paid by attendance, clients may book private sessions with us when they like us, and we frequently work solo with a lot of time to be alone with our thoughts. Tune in to hear some of my strategies for confronting and overcoming imposter syndrome when it pops up in my life.
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[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the [00:01:00] podcast. I'm really excited to share today's episode with you. We're going to be talking about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it. Now I can't think of the word imposter without thinking of the game Among Us and voting people off for being the imposter.
But imposter syndrome is kind of a thing and no it's a thing in every profession, but I think it's something that we also deal with a lot as Pilates teachers, or we can. So imposter syndrome is a mental pattern in which you're doubting your skills, talents, and accomplishments. And you have a fear of being exposed as a fraud. This can happen, especially with new teachers when you're just getting started teaching, especially towards the end of your teacher training, where you have to, you know, suddenly teach a lot of classes and you're being evaluated on your teaching.
Um, but it can happen to you at [00:02:00] any time in your teaching career. And as I said, also in other professions that you can have that, you know, fear of pretending or something like this, and it must have been in the collective consciousness because I just got an email from Leslie Logan about imposter syndrome. And then I saw Adam McAtee Pilates posting about it on Instagram as well. Yeah. This idea that you are not who you say you are, and you're afraid that people are going to find that out about you or just like questioning your like validity as a teacher.
It can be something that can be really debilitating as a teacher, because it can lead to you missing out on opportunities or taking on new clients or, you know, trying things are moving in other directions because, you know, you have this kind of fear running in the background.
I said in a previous episode that it's so nice having other teachers in your class and like supporting you and being in your class or giving you feedback or any of those things. [00:03:00] But then there's also this like thought in the back of my head, at least in my head, I can speak for my personal experience. It's like, oh no, what if they take my class and then they realize that I'm not really a good teacher?
I've had the pleasure of talking to some truly phenomenal Pilates teachers on the podcast. And I just want to share from personal experience that sometimes, you know, in the background of my head, I've had a thought like, oh no, they're going to hear what I'm saying and they're going to tell me that I'm not a real Pilates teacher or that I haven't taught for enough time, or I haven't trained with this specific teacher or I don't cue an exercise in the right way or my exercises aren't real Pilates exercises. Or like, I'm not actually a good teacher and this podcast is all a lie.
And, you know, just saying it out loud, I hope you can hear the smile that's in my voice, as I'm saying it. And it does sound really ridiculous when you say all of those things [00:04:00] together, uh, one after the other, but when it's in your head and when you're not really looking at it, but it's just like shouting at you in the back of your mind. It can feel really big and it can feel really scary if you aren't confronting that and kind of letting that guide your decisions and your path and whatever.
There's a quote that I tried to look up online, but it's like attributed to a bunch of different people. So I'm not sure who the original author of it is, but this idea that if you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. We'd never want to argue for our limitations. And so if you have this mindset that, you know, you're not good enough, or you're not really this good teacher, then you may not ask for that raise or price your services accordingly and you really miss out on a lot when you limit yourself in that way.
So [00:05:00] I'm here to tell you if you have ever been through that, if you are currently going through that, or sometimes you aren't going through it, but then it rears its ugly head. You're not alone. You are okay. And I've put together some strategies that hopefully can help you combat those thoughts if they come up and also some resources that have helped me and continue to help me and, uh, may help you as well.
The first thing, and probably the hardest thing is catching yourself when you start to go down that rabbit hole. There isn't one way to catch yourself. You may have already started, you know, just when you hear other people talking about it, or you're hearing this podcast where maybe you start to ask, like, you know, do I ever say that? Do I ever do that? And then kind of watching your thoughts, watching, you know, what you think, what comes up.
Some resources that have helped me in catching [00:06:00] my thoughts. Uh, there's something called the Anti-anxiety Notebook and there's also an app called Woebot. The Anti-anxiety notebook, I mean, is a notebook that's designed for this. You could also just use a journal, but it gives you the opportunity and the space to write down all of those thoughts that you're having. Because as I mentioned, it seems really big when it's just like this amorphous blob floating around in your head, but as soon as you write it down and you can kind of see it, then you can see the flaws in it. In a lot of ways, just writing it down is really powerful and it gets a lot less scary um, when it's out there on paper.
Woebot is an app and Woebot is spelled W O E like sadness and then bot B O T, like robot. Woebot is this super adorable little robot that I want to say the application was designed by a student [00:07:00] at Stanford because of course it would be. And it's just this little robot who checks in with you and you'll get little notifications that say, Hey, Olivia, I hope you're having a great day. And I'm just like, oh, thanks. Or if you open the app, there are daily little conversations and check ins that it has. So you can rate your overall mood or sort of share what your mood is and it'll track your mood for you. It'll give you some strategies for dealing with a really wide spectrum of things.
You know, I'm not a therapist. Woebot and the Anti-anxiety Notebook are also not a replacement for a actual therapist if these intrusive thoughts are like, really, really you need more help and support with them, but they are based in cognitive behavioral therapy, which is this way of noticing your thoughts and then like challenging, reframing your [00:08:00] thoughts, beginning to see where the patterns are that we kind of get trapped in and all of that.
And that can be really powerful. It almost seems too simple. It's like, it's definitely hard as you work through it, but it's very like, bite-size steps that you can take to just like dealing with that stuff as it comes up on the fly. For sure. So anything like, even the act of noticing it just like breaks that spiral and that catastrophizing that can happen if you're in a situation and then you start to doubt yourself.
Another thing to remember and to recognize is that you're a human, I love the campaign that Anula Maiberg is doing right now that the Pilates Human #pilateshuman on Instagram. That, you know, we're just people. We approach the method, the Pilates method, differently. We have different experiences. We bring different things to the table. We make mistakes. We [00:09:00] aren't perfect. We're human.
I know for myself, a lot of the imposter syndrome pops up because I'm holding myself to this really, really high standard that I can't make any mistakes or I can't, you know, have any missteps or do anything wrong. And that's not realistic. And if that's what you're constantly asking of yourself, you're just always going to not be happy because you can't do it. You are a human and that's part of the beauty of being a human is that growth and that learning and the change that happens.
Coming up after the break, I'm going to share with you some ways that you can fight that imposter syndrome by bringing up the very real, tangible accomplishments that you have, regardless of where you are in your teaching adventure. I'll share with you some ways to [00:10:00] reframe your thoughts, the importance of accepting compliments and complimenting yourself, and just some overall takeaways about why imposter syndrome is not something that has to be the norm for you. That's coming up next.
Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, to be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.
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Another thing that could be really helpful is listing your accomplishments, your achievements, the things that you've done that are very tangible because sometimes things you know, I taught a good class, like what is a good class? Like, and if you're going to say that you didn't meet that standard, like, all right, well, let's talk about some like facts and figures. So you can talk about the training that you've done, the training that you're doing.
You can talk about what you contribute that also isn't tangible. Like what parts of you do you share with your students in your classes? You bring your knowledge, definitely from these certifications, from these trainings. [00:12:00] You bring your compassion, you bring your empathy, you bring, you know, all of these strengths, your honesty, you bring your sense of observation. You bring so much to the table. Those are just off the top of my head. I say for myself, I bring my sense of humor and all of those things you can, you know, bring up to yourself. Like you're bringing something that is uniquely you to every class that you're teaching. And that's incredible.
As you start teaching, you know, once you teach that first class, you always can, you know, look back and say, you know, I've taught this class or I've taught this style of class. I know at Club Pilates, it was really intimidating to me to learn all the different class formats. But once I had taught a Suspend, once I had taught a Control, once I had taught a level two class, then I was able to like, look at it and say like, I've taught this class. And if you haven't taught your first class yet, but you're on the [00:13:00] path, you can also look, we'll get this training that you're doing. All of the things that you've practice taught, you know, like those are things.
And in terms of hours, I was looking at my teaching hours that I've- just curious. And I looked at it. I've taught more than 3,500 hours of classes. That's insane. It's so insane. And then I'm going to be like, oh, they're going to find out I'm not a real teacher. It's like, well, what were you doing for 3,500 hours? If you weren't really teaching, like, what is, what is going on here? So whether you have those teaching hours, whether you have that teaching experience, every class you teach is adding to that. That's wild. That is absolutely wild. And I love it.
I have a tank top that says mindset is everything. And I don't think mindset is everything, but I do think that mindset is a big part of dealing with this. And when you are entertaining your thoughts that you're an imposter or that, you know, you [00:14:00] don't have the skills or the capability to do the things that you're currently doing, that's one way of looking at any situation. But we can reframe thoughts that we have in an entirely different light and entirely more positive light.
Um, this is something that you'll do if you do check out the Woebot app, which is free by the way, like it's really awesome. I do have the link to the Anti-anxiety Notebook in the show notes and I'll link to the Woebot app. Um, but it gives you this opportunity that, you know, you've broken the cycle because you've noticed that you were going that way.
You then have a choice. Like once you break the autopilot that you're running on, once you stop that, then you can reframe what you're thinking. And so instead of thinking, like what if I'm a really terrible Pilates teacher? What if I'm an amazing Pilates teacher? What if I'm a fantastic, excellent, incredible Pilates teacher that students love coming to my class [00:15:00] and, you know, love learning Pilates with me? You know? Like you can flip the script and have a different thought that has a very different feeling in your body in a very different way of looking at it.
So, you know, when you're thinking, you know, oh, what if they find out, I don't know what I'm doing. Like what if they find out that I'm great at what I'm doing? You know, what if I know exactly what I'm doing and I'm planning these classes and I'm leading these movement adventures in a thoughtful, precise, compassionate, delightful way. So taking the time to reframe the thoughts that you're having, especially once you have them on paper and be like, these are the specific thoughts and fears that I have about this. You can come up with alternate stories to tell yourself.
Another thing that can be really helpful and really good at combating our imposter syndrome when it pops up is our ability to accept compliments. [00:16:00] And I mean, that's tough. It shouldn't be tough. I shouldn't even say that it's tough, but I can tell you that it's been tough for me to accept compliments.
So what I do is, especially when I receive something that's written, whether it's an email or a text or a message on Buy Me a Coffee where a person has taken the time to share with me how they feel about my teaching or what an impact that I've made in their life, I keep that because that's another tangible thing that I can hold up and say, well, if I'm a really terrible teacher, this wouldn't be true because, you know, I value this person's opinion and I've worked really closely with them. And they've said this really kind thing to me. So it's another way to tell yourself a different story.
And sometimes seeing yourself through other people's eyes is really important because every teacher that you look up to and you're like, oh my gosh, they just have it together. They make it look so [00:17:00] easy. All of these beautiful things happen when I take their classes. No one knows what's going on inside anyone else's head. So that teacher that you're looking at being like, oh my gosh, absolutely amazing. They have their own potentially chaotic thing going on in the background that we're not privy to.
And so we spend a lot of time on social media and in other classes, you know, taking workshops, learning from other teachers and seeing this polished, you know, person potentially. But there could be something else going on. Like we have the same fears, the same insecurities, the same worries, the same, you know, mental gymnastics juggling that happens in any class.
You know, you're thinking, oh my gosh, it flowed so smoothly. And the teacher may be thinking, oh my gosh, I completely forgot that plank series. Um, how am I going to get that back in there? So cut yourself some slack the same way you would give a friend some slack. And, you know, know that we'll never know [00:18:00] the entire full story of anyone else.
Another thing that can be really helpful is to talk about it. Whether you talk about it with your close friends who are Pilates teachers or not with your mentors, with your colleagues, maybe you do see a therapist and you can share this with them because I don't know if I can say it's a universal experience, but I do think it's more common than you think. And you just aren't alone. And any time you can talk about it in a place where you feel supported is great.
And just a closing thought that, uh, in the last podcast episode, when Micki Price Havard was talking about how important it is that you as a teacher are bringing your unique experiences with Pilates, with movement, with people, to your students. That that is impossible to replicate. No one else can teach like you. No one else can approach the exercises like you. And it's going to benefit your students that you're there, that you're sharing your thing. It doesn't [00:19:00] need to be perfect. Like newsflash. There is no perfect. There's just us interpreting Pilates and sharing it with our students. Like that's what it is.
The industry's better with your contributions. The Pilates landscape is vastly improved because of these different ways of teaching and this different tapestry of teaching. So if you ever catch yourself thinking that you aren't good enough, that you're not a real teacher or anything like that, notice those thoughts and then do not engage with them. You know, like don't act on them. Don't believe them because you're awesome. And if you needed someone to tell you that you're awesome. I will tell you. You are amazing and you're doing great.
I hope that helps shine some light on imposter syndrome. I hope that those strategies, whether it's the [00:20:00] journaling or the Woebot app, or just any of those ways of confronting those thoughts as they arise. I hope that those help you, if they're something that you needed or something that you were looking for.
I really appreciate your support of the podcast. If you're listening, I appreciate you rating and reviewing the podcast on Apple Podcasts. And I'm not sure can you rate on Spotify, but anywhere that you can leave a review, I appreciate all of those really kind words that you've left.
I'm very thankful to my supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. I'm so looking forward to having our Zoom chat for July and just catching up and seeing what you're working on, what you're up to. If you want to get in on that, definitely visit my, Buy Me a Coffee page and contribute, and you can make that appointment and we can hang out. It'll be a great time. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with some more Pilates Teachers' Manual goodness. Talk to you again soon.
[00:21:00] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates, goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
The adventure continues. Until next time.