• Posted in January 2024

The Tyranny of Imposter Syndrome in High Achievers



Do you often feel as if you are an outsider in your own life and your accomplishments are not yours? Do you question your successes and feel as if your achievements are somewhat shallow and unwarranted? Do you experience internal dialogue that is highly critical feeding a personal narrative that you are a fake, or worse a fraud?


Imposter Syndrome, originally identified by Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, in 1978, is a condition many high achievers experience, where individuals do not internalise their successes. Their self-doubts are experienced through critical self-dialogue, feelings of being a fraud and imagery of being found out, these representations frequently lead to sabotage. People with deep Imposter Syndrome live a life of polarity, oscillating between highly focussed behaviours which lead to personal and professional achievement which they then sabotage.


From an NLP perspective Imposter Syndrome can be identified as incongruencies occurring from parts conflicts.  A ‘part’, is a metaphor for a collection of unconsciously occurring behaviours and beliefs and are bound by values unique to the part.  When fully immersed in the unconscious attributes of a part, behaviours are highly focussed to satisfy the intention of the part.  When a part is active, access to other behaviours, beliefs and values in the whole system of the person’s character is limited.



For example


The High Achiever part is fully absorbed, with behaviours relating to the current goals, with strong feelings of being unstoppable, images and self-talk relating to their success. State, will be a flow state to support the achievement. 


The Imposter Part ”“ can kick in enroute to the achievement, or shortly after the goal is satisfied, when the person dissociates from their accomplishment and critically evaluates their success on par with their previous failures. The internal dialogue is highly critical accompanied by feelings of anxiety to feed the imposter narrative - the success will be short-lived, they were lucky this time, next time they will not be so lucky, the internal voice articulates loudly they are fraud and will be found out.


The Sabotage Part, to be free of the haunting from the imposter, the saboteur part kicks in, and the person associates to highly destructive behaviours, which at the time provide respite from the imposter. The logic of sabotage is, expose yourself as a fraud, rather than being found out. In sabotage there is no pressure with failure, nothing to prove, and a bizarre form of peace is experienced.


The saboteur usually has a threshold, which, when reached, the person will disassociate from the saboteur, before serious damage is done, and self-evaluate the cycle above with a degree of reason. There may be a degree of relief, they did not totally screw up their achievement, they did not get found out, they saved the day before the saboteur ruined everything. They are aware they did not, in their eyes, fully achieve what they are truly capable of and say next time it will be different when they will prove to themselves and the world their brilliance! The focus of attention goes to new goal, and bingo the achievement part is activated, and the cycle begins again


In Structure of Magic 1 (1975) Bandler and Grinder identified two types of incongruencies, present in ‘parts conflicts’


      Sequential Incongruity

      Simultaneous Incongruity

     

The Imposter Syndrome Cycle, explained above, is not intended to be a theory of the elements of Imposter Syndrome, as each case is unique. It is an example of a ‘Sequential Incongruity’, particularly, the high achievement and sabotage parts, when either part is wholly present and the individual’s behaviours are entirely congruent with the part, and totally incongruent with the other part, it’s as if two completely people exist, at different times.


With a simultaneous incongruity the parts are equally present at the same time. In this example, the high achievement part, the imposter part, and sabotage are all competing in real time, and thus less dramatic.  Given the equal presence of the parts, the high achievement is likely to be lower, the imposter expressed as constant self-doubt and the crashes from sabotage to be less chronic as the high achiever is always on board.


New Code NLP for a High Performance Life


In New Code NLP, (Grinder and Bostic), the behaviours and states inherent with the different parts, referenced above, would be identified in the actual real-world contexts where they play out.  In the New Code Change Format the first step is to ”“ From third position, identify a context where a different set of choices are desired.


Note the person does not make any conscious identification of what choices they would like and does not create an outcome. From an outside perspective (dissociated) they see and hear the present state, for example the context where the high achiever is currently active.


The second step in the New Code Change format is to associate to the context, so the person, will walk into the imaginary context they have visualised and sounded and live it out as if they were in the context, seeing, hearing and feeling all the external and internal stimuli associated with the context


After a very clean break state, a New Code NLP Game is played, New Code Games naturally manipulate neurological processes to equally activate dominant and non-dominant brain hemispheres, engage all three major representational systems, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic, as well as utilising scalable parallel processing tasks to produce an ‘Optimised State’ FREE of content in the individual.


Once the optimised state is fully activated, the player enters the context space experienced in step two, so the optimised state is naturally transferred, and when done efficiently will naturally break the boundaries of the ‘part’ that was once present, so in this example the person can naturally achieve and be free of the brutal shift of state the imposter previously brought.


On 20th January 2024, from 1.00 pm until 7.00 pm, you can attend online, my New Code NLP for a High Performance Life seminar, and explore your life patterns which have formed your character in life, and bring New Code NLP patterning to the areas of life where outdated behavioural patterns and unresourceful states have weighed you down.


To break your old patterns and to make 2024, your best year yet, click this link

 

Testimonial

  • I found this really useful in how it pulled together my learnings from the Practitioner course. Michael’s delivery was superb.

    Moz Scott
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