Mindset Coach Online Business Self Development

Why I Told “Fredericka” To Take a Hike

In fact, I told her to f*%k off. It was high time.

Who is Fredericka you might be asking? She happens to be that little voice of doubt; that little niggle; that stone in the shoe; that alter-ego who really has not served my greater purpose at all.

She has been that voice of self-doubt; that voice passing down her feelings of inadequacy. That voice where I thought I was an intellectual fraud.

She is the voice of Impostor Syndrome.

Wikipedia describes Impostor Syndrome as follows:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenonimpostorismfraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.[1] Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.[2] While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally.

The words “doubts skills, talents and accomplishments to being exposed as a fraud” and “attributing my success to luck” rung true for me.

So, Fredericka had to go!

She came from a time past where I belonged to one of my first online groups, and I was too afraid to tell them my real name.

I was afraid that I might be exposed as a fraud.

She grew some power from there.

Fredericka kept Robyn-Lee, me, from understanding that the success that I was achieving wasn’t due to my efforts. I am glad that I became aware of her motives early on.

I must interject on my words that I am writing here, to say that this blog post is not intended to downplay or supersede professional guidance with this particular syndrome.

It only offers to trigger awareness to the reader, and for them to know that help is at hand and that you are not alone.

A few Characteristics to look out for:

  • Self-doubt;
  • Sabotaging your own success – I am (still) big on this one;
  • Unable to realistically assess your competence and skills;
  • Overwhelming fear that you won’t live up to expectations;
  • Feelings of inadequacy;
  • Rebuking your performance;
  • Striving for perfection because the smallest mistake is agony for you;
  • Extremely sensitive to constructive criticism;
  • Admiration for other’s success but believing that you are not fit for the likes of them;
  • Worrying that others will realise how little you know;
  • Not able to accept praise in the spirit in which it is given, and perhaps feeling like you dodged a bullet because you thought you did a bad job;
  • Believing that you are not capable of lasting success.

If any of these ring true for you, you are likely a sufferer.

It is interesting to note that around 70% of people will experience this phenomenon during their lives. This might also be a sign of some other underlying issue that highlights your need for extra support.

Some of the Tactics that I use:

As with most things in life, we all require some strategies to boost our performance. Whether that is the extra practice at public speaking; or writing in a public forum or even just posting your opinion onto a social media platform, and being resilient enough to receive the backlash that might ensue because all don’t accept your opinion.

It is how we manage our reactions, and for introverts in particular these reactions are mostly internalised.

If you have a “Fredericka” that tells you that you are a fool, try these to dispel that poisonous voice in your head:

  • Talking about your feelings acknowledges them. I am an introvert so like to blog, and a forum for writers like Medium.Com is a wonderful place to write about your feelings;
  • Make a list of your achievements and keep them visible;
  • Focus on your strengths. Yes, being aware of your weaknesses is important too, like being aware that Impostor Syndrome might grab you from time to time. When it does, revert to your list of strengths.
  • Practice an “Attitude of Gratitude”. All too often, we revert to everything wrong in the world, but if you are focused on those things that you are grateful for, your mind starts to change;
  • Every morning, before you start your day run through what yesterday was good for. I get it, sometimes you have to dig deep, but even the simplest thing like “I drank an extra glass of water” leans your head into the positive. Then leave yesterday just there – in the past;
  • Be very particular about what you read on social media. I make sure that I have people and their dogs in my feed! Dogs, I find are awesome to elevate a low spirit!
  • Value your perspective. Every single one of us has value to give to this world. Never doubt it. When you do, go back to your list of achievements and strengths;
  • Don’t play the comparison game. If you are an entrepreneur like myself, it is easy to see how others are being successful and taking action and when seeing it, you denigrate your own progress. Be aware that everyone’s journey is different, and always refer back to your own list of achievements to keep you on track;
  • Failing is inevitable. When a mentor told me this, it hit me full on in my stomach, and I was filled with such fear that it stopped me in the tracks! The reality is that even with a mentor and learning skills, failure will at some time find you. It’s learning how to take those lessons and move forward and be better the next time. Reflecting on those failures and accepting those lessons, goes onto your achievements list. There is no failure, only feedback.
  • Remind yourself that your successes are your work. Yes, you might have had guidance and a helping hand, but you had to do it. You had to sit and study the material if you were heading into an exam. You had to learn a process in your new job; it was you who stood in front of those people, presenting your programme or your case; it was you and you alone, who moved forward.

Accept your power. Be grateful for it too.

Accept your greatness and reward yourself by being your best advocate.

Above all else, speak to yourself with kind words; with constructive words and words that will build you up.

For all introverts who would like to get into the habit of writing, even it is to vent, have a look at my blog on Medium.Com. I have no affiliation here except to write, so don’t be afraid to check it out, and get writing!

Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

Self Development

Five Comprehension Skills to Develop Your Vocabulary – and Learn a New Language.

I have for some months now, being (trying to) learning the intricacies of the Spanish language. Being a regular pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago, with most of the trails being hosted by beautiful Spain, it is far more enjoyable to be knowledgeable in the local lingo.

I was really struggling and found it so difficult to progress with this new language. I put the difficulty down to my age. I mean, I have two young friends who seem to pick up the Greek language with such ease – it must be my advanced age?

When you really think about it though, it is not necessarily someone’s age that makes learning a new language difficult. It is the way you think about the language that presents the most difficulties. Well, so I have read in many articles.

I started to think about my home language of English. I have been brought up in a fully English home. My grandmother was born in England, and her friends spoke with some of the best vocabulary I have ever heard.

The older generation (older than mine of course) really spoke in a way that resounded with a dignified and proper command of the language. I was often spellbound at some of the words.

But even for native English speakers, the English language can be absolutely confounding. I am reminded that I now still try in all instances to develop my own vocabulary, so my difficulties getting my head around Spanish seem reasonable.

In any event, I read an article that mentioned that when we are learning a new language that it is paramount to use all five comprehension skills. I still use these to further master my English vocabulary, so it seemed the most appropriate method to implement to better my Spanish language skills too.

The Five language comprehension skills are:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Watching
  • Speaking
  • Writing


I have always been a voracious reader. I have also been very particular about the books I read, which when I do a “stock take” of my cabinet at home, the books are mostly theological in nature. I am no theologist mind you, but this subject in particular is of great interest to me.

I am also a documentary or autobiography fan. The figures I read about are, wait for it, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a whole series on the Popes, as well as loads on Pope Francis.

I also love a good human spirit story. Lewis Pugh fills that genre for me. I love reading the descriptive paragraphs of his adventures into the unpopulated snowy reaches of our planet, or about his latest swimming expeditions somewhere on the globe.

Business books too. Mindset, productivity, digital skills, online launches and the journey into entrepreneurship, all make up my proud collection of books.

The point here, is that if you are wanting to develop, improve and maintain your own vocabulary, in whichever language, reading is an absolute necessity.

I have now started reading Spanish stories and articles. While it takes me an entire weekend to read just a newsletter, reading does help the learning process. My mindset when I started learning Spanish was that reading was for much further up the learning curve, but I was very wrong.

I read Spanish words now too. Despite my beginner’s status, I have made some great strides getting to grip with this foreign language.

I read. I write the words that I don’t understand in my notebook. I find out what those words mean and write down the English equivalent alongside the Spanish. Then, I read the passage again.

It is a labour of love for sure.


The way we all learned our current languages was listening to our parents and to those close to us when we were children.

It is the adult or the more proficient person in the language who would correct you. As they did, your vocabulary developed.

As we listen to learn a language, to listen will also improve your vocabulary. It takes some active listening, and I find that when I am listening to Spanish in particular, I am now listening with an intention to learn.

I would suggest that this type of listening, active listening in general helps us all in many ways, not simply to boost our vocabulary.

If we are listening with an intention to learn, surely this is what we should all be striving for?


I have some books that have been adapted for the screen. Either in the form of a movie or documentary, the benefit for overall understanding at least for me, is phenomenal.

Having read the words and then watching them being put into action or being displayed before your eyes lends some depth to the purpose and meaning of the book. In my opinion.

In my endeavor to learn Spanish, I now purposefully seek out Spanish movies. Although I might watch them twice, or thrice, at least once with the English credits and another without those credits, I am finding that I have a deeper understanding of the language.

My mindset around my learning is far more positive too.


Many will agree, that without speaking the language and having conversations with other speakers who are better at that language, you are selling yourself short if you are wanting to learn, develop or maintain your own vocabulary.

Speaking holds the key to many instances of learning. While I was doing face-to-face training so many years ago while I was presenting on the subject in my field of compliance, I really did so much learning in the process of speaking.

The exchanges and questions that came up were a breeding ground for knowledge share, and in so doing, I got better at it, as well as got better at presenting in my own language of English. Speaking about the subject gave me more context and I was able to develop and grow to using better words and vocabulary as I progressed into the speaking role.

Productively speaking, and to whom you speak, can never be underestimated for learning and improving your own vocabulary.


All writers who read this (thank you very much for doing that) will surely agree that as you write, and as you engage with other writers work that you become better at your craft. As you read and then write from your own experiences, so much seems to happen to a person.

The writing conjures up feelings that well up from deep down inside and bubble up to the surface. It is not an experience that I have ever had before and writing my blog has given me a deeper sense of purpose and understanding towards my own goals.

To do those feeling and thoughts justice you invest in your skill to help you develop language and the most effective use of words.

Writing, for me, is the culmination of all the above skills. I read to be able to write better. I listen, watch and speak to do the same.

I keep a little journal of all my notes that pop into my head, or when I am in purposeful research. This initial writing is a veritable cornucopia of my thoughts. Granted they might seem shallow to others, but for me, these writings are potential for what lies ahead. For what lies ahead as long as I continue on this path to improve and grow.


What I have learned since starting my pilgrimage towards learning the Spanish language is that, to learn a foreign language and similarly to improve your vocabulary, the same five skills will get you closer to your goal.

They must be used effectively and productively and cannot be practiced in a vacuum. They are a set of five things leading you to one goal. They all culminate together beautifully, and even while I am watching a Spanish movie, I find myself saying the words out loud, as if I was part of the whole conversation.

I hope to be speaking excellent conversational Spanish in the next months. I sure feel better positioned to do so.

I am off to read a book!

Featured Image by PixaBay on Pexels


An introvert on the Camino

What! You are going to walk across Spain, on your own, and then spend your evenings in a populated albergue – with other people! Other people who are highly likely to talk to you! Ask you questions! Want to share their wine with you! Do you remember that you are an introvert?!

Since I am an introvert, this was a conversation that I had with myself. It really did play on my nerves leading up to my departure. How was I going to make it through this ordeal? This ordeal that had the potential to always present itself with social occasions. Social occasions, networking, talking to other people have traditionally always sent me into yellow alert, and have always triggered my self -preservation mechanism to hide out in a bathroom or find a safe spot in a corner somewhere, where I could simply watch people, which is a favourite past-time of mine. But I had to go. So I went.

On my very first night, although the albergue was quiet, the restaurant in the albergue was quite full. I placed myself strategically in a spot where I could see everyone walking through the door and had a good view of the general layout of the space. The hospitalera was wonderful! I suppose she sees many pilgrims on their own, which is common on the Camino, and so she treated me with the care that her years of experience knew how to. Into the second course, a young man and his mother asked if they could share my table. This is normal practice on the Camino, especially in albergues where a meal is prepared for the pilgrims on the trail. That feeling that I had experienced in Madrid on my second time out hit me right in the gut! It happened so quickly, but there was a sense of peace, and I welcomed the offer of company. Strangely enough!

We shared a bottle of wine (I had around a quarter glass, since I can’t hold my liquor anymore) and introduced ourselves and spoke briefly of our plans for the next day, and what brought us to this journey. I listened with such awe as to how this young man spoke of his mother, who was in her 60’s I would think, and the blessing it was for him to spend this time with her. We shared a few laughs and then fell into silence while finishing the remainder of our meal. We watched the going-on’s and then meandered up the stairs to sleep, greeting each other with respect and a good night that we knew we would all have, having walked up Alto del Perdon earlier in the day.

There I was enjoying time with like-minded people, enjoying the time in sharing a meal, and just being who I am, with other people and not feeling like I needed to run away. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of belonging, and all I wanted to do was stay. Stay there, on the trail, with those like-minded people, who held space for me and held it with such care and love. I fell in love on that night. I have been in love before, but this was a different feeling of love. It was love for me! Love for this life, and love for what life held for me.

I am an introvert. On the Camino I am an introvert, but I am ok being with pilgrims. Ok, I am not just ok, I flourish on the Camino.