Why What We’re Doing Isn’t Fixing Burnout – And Imposter Syndrome’s Secret Role

I want to talk about a topic that is close to lots of our hearts: why what we're doing isn't fixing burnout, and Imposter Syndrome's secret role.

This is for you if you find yourself beating yourself up, wondering how you can keep juggling everything, scared that your performance is sliding, productivity is nose-diving, deadlines are passing, and we feel like we're holding our breath, waiting to be 'found out' and our Imposter Syndrome is sky-rocketing.

I'm going to be sharing with you what's going on, and why, and - of course - what we can do about it.

Here's What We'll Cover About Imposter Syndrome's Secret Role In Burnout:

  • The stress cycle and how our self-talk triggers burnout
  • The two types of fear - and why only one of them leads to burnout
  • The one thing your body wishes you knew - and why it's so important
  • The 4 Ps of Imposter Syndrome's secret role
  • What we can do - in sixty-second chunks - to turn this around, starting today

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Prefer To Read? Here's The Transcript For Why I Can't Set You Free From Imposter Syndrome:

Please note this has not been fully edited (it takes forever and means I'd create fewer episodes!) So please forgive any AI errors.

x Clare

Hello and welcome to the Ditching Imposter Syndrome podcast. Back after a bit of a break, and today I want to dive in with a topic that is close to lots of our hearts, which is why what we're doing isn't fixing burnout and Imposter Syndrome secret role. So this is for you today. If you find yourself beating yourself up, wondering how on earth you can keep juggling everything, scared that your performance is sliding, productivity is nose diving, deadlines are passing and we feel like we're holding our breath waiting to be found out and our Imposter Syndrome is skyrocketing.

I'm going to be sharing with you what's going on and why and of course, what we can do about it. So welcome today, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe, and while today's episode has been triggered, because I'm talking a lot at the moment about the amount I'm seeing as the next big epidemic, when I talk to H.R. directors and business leaders, they tell me it's one of their biggest concerns for the rest of twenty.

Twenty one people have been pushing their way through. We've coped. We've survived. We've done what was needed to keep going through the various lockdowns and through the pandemic. And we don't yet have enough of a light at the end of the tunnel for us to miraculously feel like our batteries have been recharged. But the thing is, there's been more than the pandemic running. What we can talk about today is the role of burnout, how it happens, the role Imposter Syndrome plays in it, and what we can do.

So if this has been you listen on. So one of the biggest things that's happened over the past 15 to 18 months is most of us have been living with chronic low level stress and sometimes high level stress. We've been juggling everything. We might have had carer responsibilities. We might have been trying to do our job or run a business whilst also home schooling our children. The anxiety that's come from the media and social media and the medical professions and the worry means that a lot of us have become hyper vigilant.

The brain has become constantly wired to look for threats. This triggers the stress cycle, what's called the sympathetic nervous system, the fight-flight-freeze response. So we think of worry based, fear based thought. It triggers biochemical reactions in the body that happen automatically, that fire of cortisol, adrenaline and other stress and fear hormones. These then create what we experience is emotions that feed more thoughts, that fire off more about biochemical reactions, that trigger more and stronger emotions that feed even more thoughts.

And suddenly, a tiny stimulus has turned into a full blown inner drama queen or inner drama queen experience. And we are high as a kite, ready to explode, trying to cope. And by the end of the day, the only way to bring the stress levels down is whatever our favourite evening coping strategy is. So the challenge with this. Is your body feels every thought you think that's one of the treatments for today. Your body feels every thought you think, and that's why we need to deal with our thoughts to prevent burnout.

So there are two types of fear that I talk about. One is Legitimate fear, so that was when I was at uni and I joined the parachute club because I had a huge fear of heights and thought, yay, jumping out of an aeroplane with a glorified tablecloth on my back is a great way to cure it. Spoilt or that it's not two totally different fears. But as I got into that Cessna without a door and I was sitting there waiting as it circled up and up and up, knowing I'd be the first jump out for some crazy reason, that was Legitimate fear.

That was my mind saying, hey, this is a really stupid idea to do on a Saturday morning and I'd really like to survive until lunchtime, please. On the other hand, we have what I call mind-story fear. These are the conversations we have with ourselves, the what ifs, the worrying that trigger that low grade or high grade anxiety where we play out scenarios, we rewrite history. We're telling ourselves stories that trigger the same fear response in the body, those same emotions that then wind up the stories until we're in a full blown soap opera.

And the problem with this is that the body fails every thought you think. And because it feels every thought we think and it's firing off the stress hormones, the adrenaline, the cortisol, everything else that's needed to be able to respond to that perceived threat, even though the threat was only inside our head. The body's designed to cope with that for minutes, not months. The stress response is meant to disappear as soon as that Sabre-toothed tiger ambles away in the other direction to find the next village.

We've been keeping it running for months or every year. And this is exhausting mentally, physically, emotionally. And this is one of the reasons why so many of us are close to burnout. We feel like we just can't breathe anymore. We're on our knees or batteries are empty because those stress hormones come at a cost. They exhaust the body. When we're in the fight-flight-freeze mode, the body prioritises useful things like digestion and day to day cellular level healing and the immune response so that it can be ready to potentially run from that threat.

And when we're in that state for months on end, it impacts the body, it impacts the emotions, it impacts the mind. There's another bit in here as well. If we add I am into that Self-talk, into that mind-story drama, there's mind-story fear is the unconscious mind abey's how many times if we had the mantra of I am exhausted, I am so stressed I am on my knees, the body obliges. Oh Claire is exhausted. She wants exhausted.

Great. Here is how I create. I am exhausted. So we really need to stop watching on self-talk. This is why in Ditching Imposter Syndrome the primary stage is about being able to tame your Inner Critic. When we learn how to choose which thoughts to feed, it sets us free from this automatic stress cycle. It allows us to press pause techniques like the ABC technique that I teach. There'll be a link on the show, notes page four, that teach you exactly how to do this is 60 second chunks.

Now the show notes for today's episode. We have a new You are easier to remember, I hope Imposter Syndrome podcast form forward slash zero one two four Episode 12 Today it's a look at Imposter Syndrome secret role in burnout. If you hang around with me for a while, you might have heard of my model of 4 Ps of Imposter Syndrome. It's in Ditching Imposter Syndrome and I talk about a lot all over the Internet and in my masterclasses and workshops, the 4 Ps Perfectionism, Procrastination, Project Paralysis and people pleasing.

These are full warning sign behaviours that are often triggered by Imposter Syndrome. So perfectionism is where we set our standards incredibly high and we have to go to war with that project. Procrastination is where we fill our time with busyness and it's like we're running with flight mode, getting away from that problem, but kind of dancing around the edges without really diving in. Project paralysis, classic rabbit in headlights. We're frozen. We're ignoring whatever it is that's causing us the stress and the Imposter Syndrome until we use the adrenaline of the deadline to pull an all nighter and push through and do it.

And the people pleasing fairly obvious. Yeah. Going in there and taking on jobs aren't we are not having enough boundaries. You can really see how these 4 Ps eat up time. How they trash our productivity, how they impact our performance. And they increase the experience of Imposter Syndrome, so if we're already on our way to burnout and we add in the 4 Ps of Imposter Syndrome and what the research we've been doing shows over lockdown is Imposter Syndrome has got worse for a lot of people than you can see how running Imposter Syndrome can make burnout more likely and more severe.

And as a final aspect of all of this, I want to talk to you about today, which is the body gets addicted to the adrenalin and the cortisol. If I take somebody who's been running on stress for a long time and I do a short meditation with them, they will almost double count because I've reset the stress response with them. We've turned off the adrenaline, the cortisol, and that's actually been their primary fuel. They need to rebuild the body's energy when we're addicted to the adrenaline, the cortisol, if we suddenly have a calm phase and the body's not getting it, the body will actually trigger thoughts in the brain to create more adrenaline cortisol.

It will actually say, hey, Inner drama queen, Inner drama queen, could you just do your stuff? Because I need a bit of a boost. We will unconsciously create Mind-story drama and Mind-story fear to be able to get an extra fix of the stress hormones. The brilliant news is we can turn all of this around when you know how to reset the stress response. And clearly the body's addiction to the stress hormones and choose which thoughts to fade, which I know when I say it like that sounds absolutely impossible, but it's actually so simple and you can do it in 60 second chunks.

Then we can set ourselves free from the internal cycle that is feeding Imposter Syndrome and also heading us towards burnout. The how to on this one. It's in the podcast episodes. It's on the Ditching Imposter Syndrome website. It's in the book step by step in Ditching Imposter Syndrome. And I have a new course that's coming for you called the Natural Resilience Method. OK, this is about how to rewire your brain and your body to boost your confidence, slash your stress levels and prevent burnout.

And by the way, also presses pause on Imposter Syndrome. So if you want to find out about that, this is going to be an incredible five week course, all in bite sized chunks teaching you exactly how to do this. Go to Clare Josa dot com forward, slash natural resilience. And I've also got another treat for you, which is a class a master masterclass on preventing burnout, going into more detail on Imposter Syndrome role and teaching you some of the techniques I've talked about today.

You can find that at Clare Josa dot com forward slash burn out. And the key thing I want you to remember from today's episode is your body feels every thought you think, and that's why you can't mindset your way out of burnout. But it doesn't mean you can't turn it around in as little as the next few weeks. So I'd love to hear from you. OK, what action are you going to take as a result of today's episode? What could you do to press pause on the thoughts are on the habits of maybe leading you towards burnout.

And if you've enjoyed this episode, make sure you subscribe whatever you get. Your favourite podcast is going to be published each Wednesday. And if you love the Ditching Imposter Syndrome podcast, please help us to reach more people. Go over to iTunes and leave it. A lovely review, letting people know how it helps you and it will help more people find it in the search. Thank you so much for listening today. I'll be back next week when we're going to be talking about how Imposter Syndrome becomes a badge of honour, even if you really don't want to admit that and what you can do to set yourself free from that cycle, I hope you have an amazingly.

About the author

Clare Josa

Clare is considered a global authority in the fields of Imposter Syndrome, burnout and toxic resilience, and has been an international keynote speaker for over 20 years.

The author of 8 books, a reformed engineer and the former Head of Market Research for one of the world's most disruptive brands, she blends research-backed practical inspiration with demystified ancient wisdom, to help you create breakthroughs in ways that are fast, fun and forever.

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