Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

Imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

 

A lot of people feel they are a fraud. Even Maya Anjelou felt that way sometimes. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups tend to feel this more. There are lots of motivational talks, books and videos that can help you if you suffer from this.

One aspect that interests me is this: in every thought there is at least a tiny piece of truth. I’m not saying I am an imposter, but I respect myself too much to poopoo this feeling completely when it does happen.

When I sense this thought creeping up on me, I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions, like “What legitimate reason might there be?”, “Am I afraid of doing something I’ve judged I ‘should’ already know, but is new to me?”, or “Are my personal expectations set too high?”.

  • Legitimate reason: perhaps there is something I don’t know and need to learn, or find someone else who does know this thing and get them on board. Nobody knows everything, not even long-time experts.
  • Fear of doing something new: As I get older, I also get more confident in what I’ve been doing for a while. Then something new comes along, and I’m a novice again. Will I get stuck, or make a mistake? Possibly, but if I have a strategy in place that covers this, I’ll be fine.
  • High expectations: This is probably the toughest one for me, because I do have high expectations for myself. A realistic assessment will help me adjust my expectations to something more attainable.

Traditionally, women feel this syndrome much more keenly than men. It’s been trained into us. If we’re honest, though, we’ll be able to exchange this undermining feeling for something more genuine and fitting. Pride in our own accomplishments, for instance.

The surprising solution to the Imposter Syndrome

Quote of the Week

When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.
-Jodie Foster

Announcements

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

 

A lot of people feel they are a fraud. Even Maya Anjelou felt that way sometimes. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups tend to feel this more. There are lots of motivational talks, books and videos that can help you if you suffer from this.

One aspect that interests me is this: in every thought there is at least a tiny piece of truth. I’m not saying I am an imposter, but I respect myself too much to poopoo this feeling completely when it does happen.

When I sense this thought creeping up on me, I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions, like “What legitimate reason might there be?”, “Am I afraid of doing something I’ve judged I ‘should’ already know, but is new to me?”, or “Are my personal expectations set too high?”.

  • Legitimate reason: perhaps there is something I don’t know and need to learn, or find someone else who does know this thing and get them on board. Nobody knows everything, not even long-time experts.
  • Fear of doing something new: As I get older, I also get more confident in what I’ve been doing for a while. Then something new comes along, and I’m a novice again. Will I get stuck, or make a mistake? Possibly, but if I have a strategy in place that covers this, I’ll be fine.
  • High expectations: This is probably the toughest one for me, because I do have high expectations for myself. A realistic assessment will help me adjust my expectations to something more attainable.

Traditionally, women feel this syndrome much more keenly than men. It’s been trained into us. If we’re honest, though, we’ll be able to exchange this undermining feeling for something more genuine and fitting. Pride in our own accomplishments, for instance.

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Why am I late!

late

I’m worried – that I’ve missed something. What is it? Let’s recheck everything before I go … and why don’t I take extra paper and pens … and how about snacks – healthy snacks … does that mean a trip to the store?  Yes!  OK … I’ll do that …

I don’t know if I should go … if it’s right for me to be there.  Well I committed, but I’d feel better if I finished that paper I’ve been working on first … and how about that mending I’ve been ignoring …

It’s my head that makes me late. Every time! Being used by me to avoid something I already know: that I’m anxious about doing something, or that I really should have said No but said Yes instead.

Once I acknowledge that thing I already know, I’m fine. I drop the chatter and get going.

Why are you late? What do you already know?

Try something new for 30 days

 

 

Quote of the Week

I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.”  ― E. V. Lucas

 

Announcements

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Why am I late!

late

I’m worried – that I’ve missed something. What is it? Let’s recheck everything before I go … and why don’t I take extra paper and pens … and how about snacks – healthy snacks … does that mean a trip to the store?  Yes!  OK … I’ll do that …

I don’t know if I should go … if it’s right for me to be there.  Well I committed, but I’d feel better if I finished that paper I’ve been working on first … and how about that mending I’ve been ignoring …

It’s my head that makes me late. Every time! Being used by me to avoid something I already know: that I’m anxious about doing something, or that I really should have said No but said Yes instead.

Once I acknowledge that thing I already know, I’m fine. I drop the chatter and get going.

Why are you late? What do you already know?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

If you want to be a writer …

A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write!

I heard this from a facebook video of an elderly woman (name unknown). It may seem simplistic, but if so, it also hits the nail on the head.

No matter what you want to do, no matter what your dream is, the only way it will come true is if you take action.

You may be stopped because you feel overwhelmed. If so, try turtle steps – one step so tiny it feels like nothing. Then another just like that. Then another. Before long, you will notice changes you never thought possible.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

When I shame you, I shame everyone

I was at an event a few weeks back. I’d been learning something new, and during the feedback period, the teacher shamed me publicly for failing to “get” something she had reminded me of previously. Her words were to the effect: “I’ve told you about this before and you did it again”.

I did what I always do when I get criticized in this way: I put on a brave face, swallow my pride, and take in what she is saying.  I also stuff down any feelings I might have of not being seen, and of being treated like a 12-year-old. It’s an old story for me – a seeming lack of justice. And I could have easily fallen into that particular self-pity hole.

There are 2 important things I learned from this experience:

Even while feeling the warmth of shame, I noticed that I wasn’t alone in feeling this. Everyone else in the room was feeling it too. The sudden silence and lowering of eyes indicated to me that we were all feeling the impact as shame.

That’s the first point: when I shame you in public, I shame everyone else in the room.

The person who shamed me is nice, good, smart, and caring. She’s someone I like and admire. Her intention wasn’t to shame me, but to give me honest feedback. Her mistake was in the way she delivered it.

The second point is that I’ve done the same to others.  I’ve unintentionally shamed another person in front of others, with the same effect – the room goes quiet, eyes turned down.

There are other better ways of delivering a critique. Asking what was going on for the person, providing feedback on how that impacted other participants, followed by a query on what that person believes they can do next time.

Public shaming is rarely justified. It’s painful and leaves people feeling under-empowered.  Far better to learn how to deliver criticism in a way that leaves the other person – and everyone else in the room – energized.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Control yourself, Grasshopper – The People factor when it comes to stress

 

“It isn’t the work that’s an issue for me. There’s a lot of it, but I can handle it. It’s the people!” I remember saying that any number of times when I became a manager, suddenly thrust into being responsible for mess-ups that weren’t of my making. At least it seemed that way to my then naïve viewpoint.

Sure, I had my heroes – usually stoic men and women who could be calm through anything. I tried to emulate them, and some would say I did it well. But inside, I was often anything but stoic and calm.

I was a mess.

The “What if’s” were my constant companion. “What if Charlie doesn’t get done on time?” What if Louise doesn’t come into work again?” “What if the next person I hire is a closet sociopath?”

Yes. Things were very hairy inside me sometimes. Until I learnt a few “rules that kept me sane and balanced:

  1. Know who I truly have any control over. The only person I can control is me. That means that if I’m worrying over someone else, there’s probably something I’m not worrying over about me. When I hired that last person, what wasn’t I looking at that makes me worry about him now? And why? Now that I’ve hired him, what can I put in place for myself that would give me peace of mind?
  2. Be transparent. If I’m not truly calm and stoic inside, then don’t pretend I am. That only sets me up for a future heart-attack, and lets others think something about me and the situation that’s simply not true. I may talk myself into thinking I’m doing everyone a favor, but I’m not. Not that throwing a fit is the answer. It definitely isn’t. But neither is bottling things up.
  3. Be open. It always amazes me how things turn out when I remain open. All those times when I decided ahead of time that a particular result was inevitable were never great. But any time where I was able to remain open to what became available were really pretty good.

For me, it’s always the people who I stress over. But it doesn’t have to be. When I’m open and transparent, and stop trying to control what I can’t, life is a lot less stressful.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

Moving forward

 

Paulo Coelho said “When you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”  Like most – if not all – of us, he has a story. In his personal story, his parents committed him to a mental institution when he was 17 for 3 years. There were most likely many times where he felt powerless and let the fact that he was victimized overwhelm him. But he ultimately found his own way out of that mire and was able to move in the only direction open to him: forward.

I have a story. It’s different from Paulo Coelho’s. I could have let the pain I suffered overwhelm me. Sometimes I made bad choices because of that pain. Ultimately, though, I moved in the same direction – the only direction – open to me. Forward.

It’s possible to rewrite your story that way, moving forward.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Closing doors

 

I witnessed explosive anger today from an unlikely source. A woman, who I don’t really know, took offense at something said and stomped out, leaving the person she was with standing there. Then a little later, she returned, saying she really wanted to give her companion space, even though the only person clearly fuming was her.

We’ve all been there. Some of us might even have done something that foolish. And if we did, we know it never leads to anything good.

How do you know when to walk away and when to stay? I have to ask myself that question every time I’m tempted to leave an unpleasant situation: do I want to leave because it’s too much of a challenge, or because I’ve done everything I could and now it’s time to invest my energy elsewhere?

The simple answer: How am I feeling?

Am I fuming so badly I can’t think straight? If I am, then I know it’s all about me, and before I do anything, I need to own at least that.

Or, am I at the point of exhaustion, feeling my energy draining even thinking about getting involved ever again? In that case, perhaps it’s time to end things (with grace) and move on.

Or, is it a challenge to me to try and figure this out? Does it energize me when I contemplate moving towards it? If so, then do just that – move towards it, and see what happens.

Do I stay or do I go? The answer begins with self-honesty and then self-knowing.

Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” – Paulo Coelho

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Betrayed by Facebook!

Several months ago, after writing a newsletter and blog twice each week for a few years, I suddenly get an influx of Friend requests on Facebook.  At first, I was overjoyed. Then I discovered that these “friends” weren’t the kind of people who I’d expect to like my writing. So, I began the laborious job of unfriending them.  But really, I was taking my time, not thinking it was something that had to be done immediately.

Then one day, I get a request from the Facebook Messenger system asking if I wanted to activate it.  I did, and that’s when I was betrayed by Facebook.  Every time I got onto Facebook after that, I’d get interrupted by “Friends” and non-friends (people I never friended) wanting to talk. It was like having the hiccoughs and not being able to end it.

Then I started getting photos and videos I didn’t want and never asked for. Yes, I can – and did – block these. But by this point I was feeling distinctly harassed.

I tried de-activating Messenger, only to discover that I couldn’t. I messaged Facebook and let them know the situation and how I was feeling, and to please!deactivate Messenger.  No response.

That’s when removing all unknown “friends” became a priority. I did it. En masse.

At last. Peace.

I learnt something from this: don’t be so hasty in assuming that people really want to be friends with me simply because they say so – on Facebook. And always keep in mind that Facebook has its own agenda that isn’t necessarily mine.

OK. So that was Facebook.  But it could have been almost any large corporate business these days.  With Facebook, there’s no real way of contacting them – as with many online businesses. So, I’m left with something that’s broken and that I need to work around rather than simply fix or get rid of.  Oh, I know they’re a big company and they can’t respond to all complaints or concerns. But they need to. Just like I need to. Just like you need to. If you and I want to maintain our connections in a good way.

Being betrayed by big business might not seem as big a deal as being betrayed by a real friend.  But in a way it is. It’s just that we are so used to this from companies these days that we tend to shrug it off with resignation and cynicism.

I think there’s more I can do. I can write about it and see if that makes a difference.
This isn’t about painting Facebook or any other large company into the corner of evil-doing. It’s about expecting good service instead of negligent service.  And I wonder: if we never complain, why would they think anything’s wrong?

How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust

Quote of the Week

“Betrayal leaves us at a fork in the road … we can become stuck in a bad moment forever or we can put it behind us for good. We decide our path. “

– Carmen Harra

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.