Imposter syndrome will usually show up in your thoughts about your personal abilities and potential for success. For example, when the voice in your head starts asking questions like, “Do you even know what you’re doing?” or “Are you sure you belong here?” Then that doubt could hold you back.
Imposter syndrome can show up in any situation, including martial arts. And here are some of the ways that imposter syndrome might be holding you back on the mats:
1. You feel like you don’t belong.
Getting started with or returning to martial arts can be an intimidating experience. You might feel like people will judge you on how you look, what you can do, or the skills you can apply.
2. You base future success on past experience.
Most of us experience ups and downs in our martial arts journey. Maybe you’ve been inconsistent with your training or fallen short of your goals. And now your inner voice is telling you that the same thing will just happen again.
3. You feel guilty/selfish/weird about prioritizing your health.
If it feels strange to prioritize your health over other things, it might be coming from some imposter-like feelings. Something like, “Only ‘real’ athletes get up at 5 am to train or skip happy hour to go to a class.”
4. You downplay your accomplishments and success.
It’s not always easy to own our successes and accomplishments. Rather than celebrating, you might downplay it.
So, what can you do if some of these thoughts creep into your mind?
Focus on individual improvement.
It’s so hard not to compare yourself to others. But remember that everyone is on their own unique journey. Set some SMART goals that you’re excited to work toward and focus on taking the steps you need to get results.
Acknowledge your past experiences.
If you’ve had some bumps in the road, acknowledge these obstacles. For example, maybe it’s been a while since you’ve had a consistent routine, or you’ve given up on goals (or New Year’s resolutions) in the past. You’re not alone! But by identifying your biggest challenges, you can come up with a plan for how you can overcome them in the future.
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.
Listen to the mental chatter you have going on in your mind around your training. Are you reluctant to prioritize martial arts because you don’t see yourself as a “real athlete”? Don’t let labels and definitions like this hold you back from making healthy changes to your practice and/or lifestyle.
Own your success.
Instead of always downplaying your successes, own those accomplishments. It might feel a little strange at first, but acknowledging what you achieve can be a huge source of motivation, as well as a confidence booster.
Are you looking for a martial arts academy with quality instructors who are dedicated to your development? At One Nation Jiu-Jitsu in Smyrna, we aim to create champions on and off the mat. Contact us to learn more about the programs we’re currently offering and how to get started.