Imposter Syndrome

Recently, we surveyed many Pilates teachers asking about their fears and concerns of being a Pilates teacher. 80% said they suffered from Imposter Syndrome, doubting themselves and feeling like a fraud.

On delving deeper, this belief appears to arise from several sources.

  • Insecurities- of feeling they do not have enough knowledge and experience, of being boring, of fearing failure, of comparing and despairing to others, of being judged.
  • Professional doubt- concern when working with injuries & conditions, feeling the pressure of “fixing” someone.
  • Stereotypes- of not looking like a Pilates teacher, of feeling too old, being dismissed as not a full time teacher, of appearing unprofessional due to being friendly and fun. 

To help combat and address these feelings, here are a few thoughts:

1. Consider why your clients love coming to your class. 

Something I ask, at the beginning of our teacher training, is for the students to think about their favourite teacher and to write down why they love this teacher/class. Almost all answers revolve around how the teacher makes them feel- safe, happy, seen, looked after, epic!  Most clients are not interested in where you trained or whether you know all the muscles of the hip joint!


Take classes just for you- not to film for social media, not for ideas, not to expand your knowledge for teaching your classes, simply for the love of doing Pilates.  Most of us become Pilates teachers because of the passion and love we found when we began doing Pilates. Taking classes reminds us and reignites that passion. Remember why you love it!

3. Be a Pilates teacher

We do not fix people that is not our job! (unless you have addition qualifications such as a degree in Osteopathy!) Be clear on client expectations- we can not promise to reduce back, knee or any other pain, but we can create a safe environment to help people move better, to allow the body to maybe heal itself. Always follow and collaborate with the appropriate medical professionals. Remember we are Pilates teachers and that is our superpower!

4. Make a list of your strengths

What do you uniquely bring to your classes? Focus on these strengths and celebrate them.

5. Consider who are you trying to impress and how you are measuring your success.

Rather than measuring yourself against other teachers, focus on what you feel success looks like- is it helping a client feel stronger or creating a space where someone can feel less stressed and can focus on themselves?

6. Think about who inspires you and your clients

For myself I look to the man himself- his strength, flexibility and power even in his 80s. We do Pilates to live better and longer, as Joe said,

“… the attainment of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”

Finally, know that feeling a “healthy nervousness” in situations is a positive growth opportunity and can help you keep developing and achieving your amazing potential.

I hope this has helped and if you have any questions please contact me. For the recording of the Face Your Fears Virtual Night out, go to the JPilates Associates Area and look for Virtual Night Out recordings.

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