Tara Halliday is a specialist in imposter syndrome. Tara has a PhD in engineering and over 20 years’ experience as a holistic therapist, coach and neurofeedback trainer. She is the author of Amazon #1 bestseller ‘Unmasking: The Coach’s Guide to Impostor Syndrome’.
Tara runs Inner Success, an 8-week, one-to-one intensive training and coaching programme for C-level executives to eliminate impostor syndrome for good.
Tara Halliday runs a 12-week Certification in Imposter Syndrome coaching for experienced coaches.
Who is Tara Halliday?
Tara has been a holistic coach for the past 20 years, but before that she was an engineer because she wasn’t allowed to study psychology in school. She has come full circle on that and has been helping people deal with their stress issues and overcoming what’s holding them back.
Around 7 years ago, Tara met a coach that specialized in helping people realize their worth, and because of the work they did together Tara became more conscious of imposter syndrome and its effect on people. She dove into research on neuroscience and the dynamics of imposter syndrome, which resulted in the book she published in 2018.
Later on, she went even deeper into studying how these beliefs are formed and how the brain works and influences how we think and feel about ourselves.
Imposter syndrome is secretly thinking like you’re a fool when you’re not, and 78% of high achievers have admitted to feeling that way.
Myths About Imposter Syndrome
One of the biggest myths around imposter syndrome is that it is a problem of confidence. Imposter syndrome shows up at high levels of performance and people can logically know that they are confident and capable, yet internally they don’t feel it. The tension between what they think and what they feel manifests as the belief that they must be a fraud.
Another myth was that women experience impostor syndrome more than men, but studies in the 90’s revealed that both men and women experience it equally but that men are less likely to admit to it because of social pressure.
There was also the belief that it’s simply a mindset issue. Impostor syndrome is an identity level issue and can’t really be affected by surface level mindset changes. It’s a deep belief that requires specific techniques to address.
The Impostor Syndrome Iceberg
The first step to dealing with impostor syndrome is to get into a calm state. The next step is a letting go process that unwinds the belief that your worth depends on what you do. Because we link our identity to what we do, that’s where a lot of the confusion comes from and that’s what we need to separate.
Beliefs are the brain’s mechanisms to become more efficient. Your perceptions and thoughts get filtered through the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is looking for danger. The problem is the amygdala programs itself automatically based on our emotional responses, so to unwind the impostor syndrome belief you need to reprogram that part of your brain.
Reprogramming the amygdala is a process of recalling stressful events and tapping into the emotions of the memory, and reframing the memory in a positive light. This gives the amygdala a way to redirect triggers down a different path. A typical trigger for impostor syndrome is one of high challenge and low support.
Attempting to avoid impostor syndrome emotions limits your potential and leads to regrets later in life. It can also lead to avoiding promotions, dodging praise, or sticking with a career that you don’t like because you fear that it may be the best you can do or another company won’t hire you.
As a leader, if you see the behavior in someone else you can offer proactive support for people even if they’ve been in their role for a number of years. Oftentimes, the more senior and experienced a person is, the more coaching and help they could benefit from. Encourage personal development and not just technical training. Give them permission to not be perfect and model the behavior in yourself.
Mental health and wellbeing are more acceptable to talk about in the workplace now but there is still a pressure for CEO’s to appear perfect.
We are being taught beliefs automatically as we grow up that are at least a generation or two behind the reality of where we are in the world today. Society is changing so fast now that we need to be more conscious about identifying our core beliefs and programming them ourselves.
Tara has found that the more we address the negative beliefs that are holding us back, we reclaim more of who we are and our innate talents. This removes the internal resistance and makes us less stressed