Imposter Syndrome [Podcast Episode 8]
Episode 8: Imposter Syndrome
If you’ve ever felt like a fraud, like you don’t belong, or aren’t enough…This episode is for you.
I know this pattern well, and I’m sharing what helped me finally kick this awful feeling.
Learn the 4 main reasons it happens and how to ditch it in 3 quick steps.
Full Episode Transcript
Hello, friends, how are you today?
I have missed you, I’ve had some craziness happening for me.
My grandma passed away about a month ago, it’s birthday season around here, my birthday, my husband’s birthday.
So lots of highs and lots of lows.
And I just needed some time to do what I teach my clients to do, to allow and accept all of the big feelings that I was experiencing and to hold space for them and just allow myself to process those.
And I just needed to take some time for myself and, you know, walk in my talk. That how we treat ourselves should be our number one priority.
And emotional wellness, emotional health, feeling our feelings is really the secret to creating massive results and a joyful life. And so I took some time to do that. And I feel all the stronger, more ready, more capable and getting back to it.
So I’m glad to be here to hang out with you today and talk about imposter syndrome.
Maybe you’ve heard of it.
Maybe this is a new concept, a new term… And you’re like “Dee! What the crap is that?!?”
We’re going to get into it.
I think that this is something that most high achievers have experienced.
At least that’s what the research and the data shows.
This is a very common experience that high achieving, successful people have.
And before I found out that it was a thing, I really thought I was broken, that there was something wrong with me, that I was the only one who felt like this.
And so when I learned about imposter syndrome and that it had a name, I actually experienced some relief.
I mean, it didn’t get rid of it, just learning that it was a thing.
But just knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way was so comforting for me. I felt just a little less neurotic in that moment and that I wasn’t broken, you know, as broken as my big, beautiful brain was trying to convince me otherwise.
So what is it? What is imposter syndrome?
The definition is “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success, impostors suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”
I don’t know about you, but does that sound familiar at all?
So it really is this space where our external circumstances do not match our internal space.
I think that we’re pretty aware that there is a disconnect there, but it’s really hard to to get out of that pattern.
And the thoughts are so loud. The inner critic, the itty bitty shitty committee in our brain offers up all these crappy thoughts. For me, they were very, very loud.
So some of the thoughts that you experience with imposter syndrome are:
“I don’t belong here.”
“I’m not blank enough.” So maybe smart enough, talented enough, experienced enough, whatever that blank is for you.
“They’ll realize I’m in over my head.”
“It’s all going to fall apart or be taken away from me.”
“I don’t deserve this.”
“Who am I to think I deserve this?”
“It’s not enough. I need to do more.” Always chasing more.
“I can’t fail.”
“What if I make a mistake?”
“Oh my God. They’re going to find out I made a mistake.”
“What about those mistakes that I made all the way back in third grade? What if they find out?”
“I feel like a fake.”
“I was just lucky right place at the right time.”
“Anyone can do this. It’s not special.”
Have you ever heard that big, beautiful brain of yours offer up any of those garbage thoughts?
Those thoughts create a big mess for us.
They create so much mental chaos, it becomes loud and deafening. And this creates a lot of discomfort and pain.
Some of the effects of imposter syndrome include:
A lack of belief in ourselves or our abilities.
We start to distrust our own knowledge, expertise or authority.
We’ll downplay ourself in current roles and what we put ourselves out there for. You know, we play it safe and try to hide under the radar.
Maybe we don’t ask for more or seek new or bigger challenges.
Often, we spend a lot of time and excessive focus ruminating on our quote unquote failures in the past. As if running those through our heads over and over and over again is going to allow us to change that.
And man, our inner critic, is so very loud and highly judgmental when we are in the throes of impostor syndrome.
It feels a lot like and includes, you know, perfectionistic tendencies.
We fall into perfectionism often when we feel like we’re not good enough or we don’t belong, when we think that we’re going to make a mistake and that everything’s going to fall down around us.
And most people also are experiencing high levels of anxiety, monkey mind, and obsessiveness when this pattern is in effect.
And this is something that I spent, I don’t know, probably all of my 20s experiencing a better part of my early 30s until I really figured it out.
Like I said in the beginning, I didn’t know that it was a thing. I didn’t know it was something that other people struggled with. I didn’t know that there was a name or a label for it. I just thought that there was something wrong with me.
The underlying root of the problem that causes imposter syndrome is a feeling of unworthiness, and it’s really deeply rooted in feelings of inadequacy.
That we’re not good enough, that there’s something wrong with us, that there’s something that needs to be corrected, something that needs to be improved.
And heaven forbid, people find out that we’re not perfect. And that hey might find out just how crazy we are on the inside. Right.
And this is it’s like such a huge, massive craziness because this syndrome – imposter syndrome – is primarily experienced among very high achieving individuals who have created massive amounts of success.
The worst part of imposter syndrome is the cognitive dissonance that we experience between the knowing intellectually that on paper we’re more than qualified, that we’re accomplished, that we’re successful.
But yet we feel completely to the contrary, that it’s never good enough, that it was an accident, it was a fluke, that we just have to do more.
So the problem is not who you are, what you’ve accomplished or what you’re capable of.
The real problem here is how you see yourself. It’s an ownership problem.
It’s an identity and a self concept problem.
Who we think we are – how we see ourselves – has not caught up to the massive results and success and achievement that we have created.
And like I said, every time I started a new degree, I didn’t feel like I was smart enough to be there.
Every time I earned a new degree, even my doctorate, I thought that they’ll find out that I’m not that smart or that I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I’m not really an expert.
You know, when I was hired as a COO of my organization, sitting in the boardroom in my late 20s, I looked around and thought like I didn’t belong. They all think I’m too young, that I don’t know what I’m talking about. I wasn’t going to last.
Even when I started my coaching practice, even though I had worked as a coach, for an organization for five and a half years and had nearly 10000 hours of one on one coaching experience under my belt, I still felt like an imposter going out there and selling my services.
It’s crazy, right? Like it doesn’t make sense.
The internal experience doesn’t match the external achievements and skills and abilities and capabilities that you bring to the table.
So here are the four main reasons that imposter syndrome happens.
Number one is seeing success as ordinary, that it’s not a big deal. Everyone does this.
A really good example is earning a college degree. For an undergraduate degree. Only about 30 percent of Americans have one. But the belief that everyone has one makes it so that we feel like it’s not a big deal and it takes away from the significance of the achievement. But really, only a third of Americans, eligible Americans, hold an undergraduate degree and even less when you’ve got a master’s and a doctorate.
What success have you created in your life that you’re seeing as not a big deal, that you’re not celebrating, that you’re thinking is ordinary? That’s something that everyone does.
This second reason this happens is because of lack of celebration.
You haven’t slowed down long enough to celebrate each achievement that you have created, each success that you’ve had.
Often, you know, we’re working on these long term goals for so long that by the time it happens, we’re already on to the next conquest.
Our brain is already thinking about the next thing that we want to achieve. And we haven’t taken ownership of the success that we created right there in that moment.
The third reason is because we see success as an event. It’s something that happens rather than evidence of who you have become in the process to achieve that thing.
It’s this belief that “success happened to me” rather than “I am a successful person.”
And the fourth reason it happens is because we see our identity as static or fixed. That our personality, who we are, what we’re capable of, is unchanging.
Rather than it being something that is dynamic and that evolves with us as we grow, as we do new things, as we stretch ourselves to become a stronger, more capable version of ourselves.
So real quick, again, the four reasons that we experience imposter syndrome the most is: (1) seeing our success as ordinary or not a big deal; (2) not celebrating our success; (3) seeing success as an event rather than evidence of who we are; (4) and believing that our identity is fixed, not updating our self concept as we have created more success in our life, in our career.
So you’re probably wondering how to stop feeling like a fraud.
How do we ditch this imposter syndrome?
The first thing is to update your identity or your self concept.
You probably still see yourself as the person you were before you achieved all of the great things that you have achieved.
Do this exercise my coach had me do this, and it blew me away. And it was really uncomfortable when I did it. I’m not going to lie – like I felt actually pretty sick to my stomach putting all of this on paper.
But it really helped me to see myself differently and to stop feeling like such an imposter, such a fraud.
And so the exercise is: “I am the woman who…”
Put that on the top of a paper.
And then under that, I want you to list all of your previous accomplishments and successes and own them.
I am the woman who created this result. And celebrate each one.
List, all of your strengths that you’ve gained from the journey. It’s not just the achievement, but it’s who you have become along the way.
Is it your perseverance? Is it your tenacity? Is it your grit? Is it your intelligence?
All of these things we develop as we are on the journey to the accomplishment.
List, who you’ve become from your successes and to reflect on who you’ve become and take ownership of this new identity.
You are this person.
You have created all of this good. It didn’t happen to you.
It happened because you showed up and created that result.
So own it, my friend. Own it, celebrate it.
Give yourself a big, huge high five, pat on the back. Do a happy dance.
Own that shit.
The next thing that you can do to stop feeling like a fraud, moving forward – to make sure that this isn’t a pattern that continues to repeat itself – is to slow down and celebrate each new success that you have, to wire it into being, before moving on to the next thing.
Each time something good happens to you, no matter how small it is, celebrate it, own it, own how you’ve grown into a stronger, more capable version of yourself.
Own how you created that result that it didn’t just happen to you.
And then the third step to stop feeling like such a fraud is to change your story about failure.
I’ve talked about failure here before and it’s something I want to talk about a lot, because when we’re aiming for big, huge results and massive success, we’re going to fail a lot.
Failure is the currency for success.
We just need to tell different stories about quote unquote failure.
You are not a failure and you can never be a failure.
Failure is not a personal characteristic.
Failure. It’s failed attempts.
And so your success is built upon the failed attempts that you experience along the way.
Failed attempts are how we learn and grow. So you could never be a failure.
And the things that happened in the past, the lack of the result, the mistakes that you’ve made, the things that you ruminate over and lose sleep about, and that big, beautiful brain wakes you up at three o’clock in the morning to remind you the thing that you did in third grade.
Been there, done that. I see you.
Like that shit doesn’t matter.
It’s not a failure. It’s part of who you are.
It helped you become who you are now and it’s helped shape you into the person that you’ve become.
And that’s the same thing with failed attempt.
Like they’re opportunities to learn, to grow, to become stronger versions of ourself.
You know, just make sure that you are taking the failed attempt as an opportunity to learn the lesson.
And that’s how it has value and how we move forward from that.
Don’t have a failed attempt and just quit or throw in the towel, then it really is holding you back and keeping you stuck.
Imposter syndrome is just a collection of thought errors.
It’s not who you are.
You are not broken. You are not inadequate. You are not unworthy.
Your worthiness is inherent.
You are one hundred percent worthy exactly as you are right now in this moment without changing anything.
And you never have to change anything about yourself to be worthy. Because you just are.
Because you are a child of God, you are here on this planet, you are of maximum worth.
Start owning how damn fabulous you are, start owning the greatness that you have created, your list of achievements.
All of the amazing things that you have created.
All of the personality characteristics, the strengths that you have developed along the way.
And celebrate it.
You deserve to be celebrated.
Doesn’t matter how big or small.
Everything that you create, everything that you’re able to live through, everything you’re able to survive deserves a celebration.
So that, my friends, is a little bit about imposter syndrome and how to change those thoughts in your big, beautiful brain so that the achievements that you have on the outside start to match how you think and feel about yourself on the inside.
You do not need to go achieve more on the outside to fix this problem.
You never do.
You never had to.
I know I kept chasing achievements, trying to fix the inside problem, but it was once I finally slowed down and did this work to change my self concept, to see myself differently, to think different thoughts about who I am and what I’ve accomplished, then I stopped feeling like a fraud.
So you’ll never solve an internal problem with an external solution.
And this one is worth slowing down and doing the work over.
Because I know how crappy it feels to show up in life, feeling like you don’t belong, that you’re not good enough and someone’s going to figure that out.
It’s a really crappy way to exist.
And so please, please, please, like sit down with a journal and do that work.
Own your accomplishments and how amazing you are.
I hope that this helps.
Leave me a comment, a review.
If you want some more help with this, join me in my Facebook group.
We are diving deep next week and there will be a free live coaching session on Thursday.
So if you would like some more help with imposter syndrome, I would love to help you with that and give you a little bit of free coaching on it.
If you are listening to this episode much in the future after this has already happened, these live coaching sessions will be in the archives.
So you can get those to go to www.myyeslife.com/live for information on the live coaching session, and the archive, and how to join the group.
That is it.
That’s all I got for you, my friends.
Have a beautiful day.