Imposter syndrome

Jenny Muhlwa
Group Head of Learning and Development, Sumo Group.

Jenny Muhlwa

Jenny Muhlwa heads up the Learning and Development across the Sumo Group businesses. She has been in L&D for over 15 years, is an ILM-accredited business coach, NLP Practitioner, and has run her own business to empower women to feel confident in their abilities.

Imposter syndrome – feelings of self-doubt or feeling like a fraud – is a phenomenon experienced and recognised by more and more people. It’s something that can have a debilitating effect on your career and your personal life. 

So, we were delighted to welcome learning and development consultant Jenny Muhlwa back to the Tentacle Zone for this week’s virtual talk, tackling the subject. Jenny helped our residents explore the neuroscience behind imposter syndrome and gave us practical strategies to mitigate its impact.  

Strengthening the mind

After explaining the science behind imposter syndrome and giving us tips on identifying and handling our inner critic, Jenny offered us some practical strategies for strengthening our minds.

Jenny’s first tip for dealing with negative thoughts? Acknowledge them and move on. 

‘We can’t fight them off. The harder we fight them off, the harder they will come,’ she said. ‘Actually, acknowledge those thoughts when they come in. For example, if you find your inner critic saying, “You really shouldn’t be here; you don’t have the authority”, you should say aloud “Thank you, though, not for today”.

Jenny explained, ‘We’re thanking our inner critic because it’s got good intentions behind it, but we don’t need this thought because it’s not useful for us.’


Jenny’s second piece of advice for dealing with imposter syndrome was all about breathing. Anxiety can come with physical symptoms; in particular, our breathing can become more erratic, rising from our diaphragm into our chests and, in turn, causing more anxiety.  

Jenny’s tip? ‘Breathe in for four, hold for six and breathe out for six’, she said. ‘If you do that four times, it forces your brain to stop as many thoughts going through because you’re starting to count, so your brain is focusing on something else, and you’re starting to do something different with your breath, so your brain focuses on that rather than the crazy thoughts that had been on your mind.’ 

Signing off

Thanks for catching up on our latest resident event. If you’d like to enjoy talks like Jenny’s, why not join us at the Tentacle Zone? We have office space available for both full-time use and hotdesking. 

For more info, head over to our workspace and resident pages. If you have questions, drop us a line, and we’ll get straight back to you. See you next time!