Book Review - an overachievers guide to breaking the rules


Book: an overachiever’s guide to breaking the rules- how to let go of the perfect and live the truth

Author: Heather Whelpley


Key Points

  • Heather covers two kinds of imposter syndrome. One is feeling like a fraud. I relate this to the scene from the Wizard of Oz where they discover the wizard is behind the screen pulling all the levers. I feel like someone is going to pull back the curtain and discover that we are frauds. She focuses on how we can stand in our strength and minimize that imposter thinking. The second type of imposter syndrome is that we are and imposter not just in work but in life and we are not following our authentic path. This calls out that it is easier to “stick to what you know” instead of letting your true self show and following our true calling resulting in more joy and fulfillment.

  • She explains the inner critic versus inner voice. The inner critic is that voice in my right ear that whispers all the negative thoughts and stories that could prevent me from moving forward. I am right-handed so too often this voice is on louder because it is on my dominant side. The inner voice is in my left ear that is closer to my heart. This is the voice that cares about who I am in it’s purest and most authentic self. This is the voice that is our curious and kind voice. As coaches we can help our clients turn up the inner voice so people can decide what is most important to them.

  • There are many practical and helpful tools and exercises throughout the book. She includes a visioning exercise to help the reader experience a future-self exercise. I did this on 8/18/2011 and I carry it with me from journal to journal. My experience with this exercise is like Heather’s as I am seeing things from 10 years ago continue to emerge today. Other exercises include journaling prompts, permission slips and looking for evidence instead of making up negative stories.

Application to life coaching

There are so many applications to life coaching and Heather offers many tips, questions, and exercises that I can bring to my coaching practice. These will help me to support clients that may be experiencing that she shares in this book. She reminds us that this is an “experience” and not a syndrome and as coaches we can ask questions from a place of curiosity so our clients can find what resonates with them to uncover their own path forward.


Favorite passage and what made it your favorite passage?

My favorite passage is “I told myself to connect with them as humans and forget about trying to prove myself.” The reason I like this quote is that it is a reminder that I have experience and skills to coach and if I show up as myself then I will be the most successful coach that I can be. If I remember the human connection, then I will trust my intuition and training to be able to serve my clients better.

How will you apply the key message in this book within your coaching?


Key learning for me


I believe that I am better equipped in understanding how limiting beliefs and unwritten rules can have an impact on me and on my clients as well. I can apply her approaches of “leaning into fun,” using our body to make decisions and supporting my clients to find how they can become more of human beings instead of human doings.