My friend Laila was recently recounting a conversation she’d had with her sister Erica. The two of them are like chalk and cheese in most aspects of their life, but the topic of this particular conversation came down to how they approach exercise.
Laila loves to swim and goes fairly regularly; Erica is a runner and is far more regimented. During their conversation Erica had gone on and on about running faster and further every time she went out, and described herself as ‘pathetic and useless’ if she had a ‘bad’ run.
She then went on to press Laila about how often she swam, how many lengths she did at each session, and what her plan to improve was. It blew Erica’s mind when she found out that Laila doesn’t count lengths and says that (given a stressful job and a busy schedule), if she gets in the water at all, she’s done well!
This was such an alien concept – exercising without a goal in mind – and Laila asked me why I thought they had such different approaches. I knew they’d had relatively difficult childhoods, and also that Laila had done a lot of deep work that Erica hadn’t, which was the key.
As children, they’d had to compete for their parents’ attention: whichever daughter had done ‘best’ was perceived as the favourite and was showered with praise. Both of them had grown up pushing themselves, striving for not only perfection but the external validation that came with it, which led to Laila burning out and seeking help. Erica, it seems, is still in competition, but nowadays she’s in only in competition with herself… where there’s never any clear winner!
This is what I mean when I talk about clients doing deep work to remove the blocks that are holding them back in life, whether they’re being challenged by imposter syndrome, anxiety and/or self-doubt. Erica was stuck in a place of needing validation to know she’d done well at something (whether it was covering longer distances or improving her times) and wasn’t able to take any enjoyment from the act of running itself.
This can then impact other areas of life: when there’s imbalance in one area of our life, it tracks that there’s more imbalance elsewhere. Are you never satisfied with your achievements at work? How’s that showing up in your home life? Constantly telling yourself that you’re not working hard enough at the gym? What knock-on effect is that having at the office? Do you push yourself constantly, trying to outrun that nagging fear that you’re not quite good enough?
You don’t need to feel this way. It’s entirely possible to silence the inner voices telling you that you aren’t good enough, and it doesn’t need to take months and months of work. My FREE 45-minute consultation with takes a deep dive into how the problems that you’ve decided you ought to just live with (but are impacting your health, your work and your life ) can be overcome. I’ll give you a roadmap to the steps you need to take to overcome any struggles you might have with anxiety, self-doubt and imposter syndrome.