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Alesha Dixon health: The Greatest Dancer host on how syndrome 'held her back'

Alesha Dixon, 41, has achieved more than most people in her lifetime, and this includes being an Action Aid ambassador, performer and author. During her career, the star has spoken about her battle with imposter syndrome.

“A lot of people, even if they’ve not heard of Impostor Syndrome, go, ‘Oh yes, I can identify with that,’”she said last year during an interview with the Daily Mail.

Alesha added: “It was quite crippling, it was something that really did hold me back, massively.”

What is imposter syndrome?
Technically not part of the UK DSM mental health diagnostic tool, Psychology Today recognises the term to describe “a pattern of behaviour where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud”.

Originally coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978, people with the syndrome tend to put their successes in life down to good luck and timing.

Taking things a step further, people with imposter syndrome remain convinced they don’t deserve the success they have.

Remembering her time as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, following her success on the show in 2007, Alesha said: “I could have spent three years on that panel feeling like an imposter, feeling insecure…”

Adamant to challenge her negative self-talk, Alesha pushed on: “You only get one life, and I ­realised there was no point wasting it by questioning whether I should be there or not.”

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“When I was younger, I was afraid to fail and I put huge pressure on myself,” the star continued.

“The difference now is that I don’t see failure as a bad thing or a hindrance. I look at it as a learning opportunity.”

Leaning towards perfectionism and a fear of failure are two key signs someone suffers from imposter syndrome, according to Psychology Today.

Another indication of imposter syndrome is undermining one’s achievements.

“If you get to the root of imposter syndrome, it’s about self-love and believing in who you are,” said Alesha.

“It’s [telling yourself], ‘I belong here, I deserve to be here.’

“Even if you’re petrified, even if it seems like the biggest mountain to climb, take one step at a time, each day do something towards what you want to do and take baby steps.

“I genuinely believe that everybody has something individual and unique to offer — it’s just tapping into it.”

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