Hey, it’s Courtney Sanders here and welcome to another episode of Think and Grow Chick podcast. I’m super excited because this topic is something that’s long overdue because I need everybody , and their mama to get over this particular syndrome. What syndrome am I talking about? Imposter Syndrome, yes, yes.
Imposter Syndrome is a fancy title for basically feeling like you’re not good enough. What’s more interesting is that it seems to only strike people who are good enough and who do have what it takes, right? Imposter Syndrome is just basically that feeling of being low in confidence that you don’t have what it takes, and you don’t deserve to be in the room that you’re in. You don’t deserve to be going after the opportunities that you’re going after and somehow you’re deficient. It just really gnaws at you and causes you to play it small and kind of apologize for being there.
Unfortunately, I find that imposter syndrome tends to strike women more than it strikes men and this is actually verified. There are a lot of statistics, especially with the whole Lean In movement, and even the MeToo movement and just the women empowerment movement that’s going on right now, which is super fantastic.
There is a lot of discussion going on about what needs to be done to get more women into leadership roles, getting more women to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to men, and to get more women to play a bigger game.
A lot of research and statistics show that women do feel like imposters at times. Many of them are women that you would never think would struggle with this. They too, second guess themselves and wonder if they even deserve to be in their position. In fact, there is a popular statistic about the difference of males and females applying for a job that has been featured in both the books Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and The Confidence Code. These books talked about how men apply to jobs even when they felt they are just 60% qualified.
Women, on the other hand, would not apply for a job when they don’t feel like 100% qualified. That is imposter syndrome. You think that unless you feel you have 100% of what it takes , you’re not even going to take the chance. That doesn’t work to your benefit and it’s going to hurt your ability to be successful in any arena.
I laugh when I think of this concept. But that is not to say I never struggle with it. I just don’t let it stop me. I didn’t realize Imposter Syndrome was such a big deal for my audience to the point that they weren’t taking action. Until I started taking a lot of question from people asking me how I overcome imposter syndrome and how do I get the confidence to take action.
Because for me, everybody deals with imposter syndrome once in a while. I too, sometimes wonder if I’m good enough to be here, but I never, ever, ever let that stop me. I thought it was common knowledge that sometimes you struggle with your confidence, but you still move forward. So, if there’s one thing I will give myself credit for is that I have developed a lifestyle of taking action despite of sometimes not feeling totally confident about what is going on.
But you have to listen to the podcast to know how I dealt with imposter syndrome when I was pitching for a big national brand that I looked up on Linkedin.
For the full audio, please check out the podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Notes from the Podcast:
In the podcast, there are three points that I want you to consider when it comes to imposter syndrome and getting your confidence up.
- Stop following your feelings.
Just because you feel like an impostor, or because you feel self-doubt or you lack confidence in that area, it has nothing to do with you taking actions. I’m feeling hungry right now as I am doing this podcast. I’ve been dealing with my newborn all morning, trying to get him to sleep before I got on the phone to pitch this and I am starving. Just because I am hungry or I feel feelings of hunger doesn’t mean I don’t have the physical ability to sit down here and record this podcast for you! I find it amazing that we understand pretty much every other area, but when it comes to feelings of confidence, we can’t take action. That is false.
You can take action regardless of how you feel. You can take action scared, you can take action sad. You can take action with self-doubt, even when you’re sick. Your feelings are just that. Feelings. Your feelings are valid. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing and that you should not pay attention to it. You should actually pay attention to your feelings, of course, but your feelings have no bearing on you physically writing the email, or typing letters on the keyboard. It does not have any bearing on you picking up the phone and dialing the number and talking to the person. Those feelings of being not confident does not prevent you physically from doing what you need to do. If you feel like an imposter, so what? Take action. Feeling like an imposter doesn’t mean you are. When we talk about our feelings, I don’t think we fully realized how faulty our feelings are. Often times,they are based on our own internal junk and not based on reality.
You teach people how to treat you.
This quote is very true. “Your demeanor and how you come off will give people clues as to how they should address you. If you come in letting your feelings of inadequacy or being an imposter rule the day, then people will see you as an imposter because you give off that vibe.”
- Talk a bigger game.
What I mean about this is that you want to get into the habit. It’s a matter of discipline. Get into the habit of training yourself not to operate based on how you feel. We’re talking a bigger game. Get into the habit of telling people what you’re doing in a confident manner even when you’re doing something new to you or something you’ve never done before.
Speak about your life, your situation and what you have going on as if you have done it before. Speak according to how you ultimately want your life to be. When people ask you questions, speak from a place of ultimately where you want to be.
All of our moments in life are opportunities to do something really pivotal and beneficial to ourselves. But we don’t take that chance. For me, I’ve trained myself to talk a big game in the sense that I spoke to what I ultimately was interested in creating in my life, not where I was.
When anybody engages me, I talk a big game. I speak to the place of where I am going, not where I currently am, and not where I’ve been. A lot of opportunities will come to you based on who you say you are or who you represent yourself to be. If you are always going around with slumped shoulders and a very apologetic attitude, people will treat you that way.
People will speak to you and treat you as you represent yourself. So, it’s so important to represent yourself according to who you want to be. That’s really the biggest way to get over imposter syndrome. You feel like an imposter because you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not that person. You are always reinforcing to yourself that, “I’m brand new. I’m just getting started. I’m not good enough. I’m a lowly blah blah blah.”
Flip the table on yourself. If you get into the habit of speaking out loud, of communicating to other people from a place of the person you want to be even as you’re working towards that end, guess what, then people will start treating you that way. You will develop a sense of confidence around it, and you will start to see yourself as that, and you won’t feel like an imposter.
This is important for women because we come into a situation with an apologetic attitude and a lot of time we don’t even realize that. We come into a room making self-deprecating jokes. An example would be as simple as when someone compliments you about your dress, and the response would be like, “this old thing? I got this from the clearance rack of Nordstrom.” Why say that? Women are always in the habit of talking down to yourself and making things smaller than what they are. Just say thank you. If someone asks you what you do, tell them what you’re working towards. You don’t have to let them know that you’re a newbie and that you don’t have a lot of confidence in that area.
People like to be around people who are confident. People don’t know you, so it doesn’t make sense to volunteer information that is not to your benefit. It makes you look lower in their eyes. Why volunteer stuff that has nothing to do with your ability to succeed in a particular endeavour. Your skills, talent, and your preparation are what determines your ability to succeed.
We always want to compare ourselves to this mythical-like perfect standard. So when you think that you’re not perfect expert status right now, then anything below that where you might be currently, is just not worthy of either trying, which is so false. Just because you get better over time doesn’t mean where you are right now, is not good enough. You are still worthy to be in the room even if it’s your first time there.
Talk a bigger game and feel confident about it because you want to think about the skills and abilities you bring to the table. That’s what makes you worthy not what credentials you have, whether you’ve done this before, or how old you are.
- Take the time to build up a track record.
This is key. People who are able to tackle something new or something that even though they’re not qualified on paper, they’re able to do this because they have a track record. So literally, a mental Rolodex of all the times that they’ve challenged themselves and succeeded. This is definitely the case with me.
Part of the reason why I feel comfortable doing that, even though I still get little butterflies in my stomach. Well, for me, the butterflies are like a rush maybe I’m just an adrenaline junkie but I get butterflies in my stomach when I’m going to do something new or really stress myself or doing something kind of risky.
That doesn’t mean I always win, but I have enough experiences in my mind to pull from where I know I’m capable of winning. You don’t always have to win, but you need enough success stories in your mind where you know you are capable of winning. You do that by living a lifestyle of putting yourself on a limb.
So again, these points are just discipline. It’s having the discipline to:
- Not act the way the way you feel.
- Speak bigger than what you might feel and speak even bigger than what your present circumstances are.
- Always putting yourself out on a limb and challenging yourself.
For a lot of people, the last time they tried something successful sadly was way back in high school and they’re in their 30’s now. That is not okay. Go out and build a track record and get some fresh experiences under your belt where you can look back and feel confident.
Start small. To do this, evaluate and ask yourself, “What would be a small stretch from my comfort zone?” This is important and sounds counterintuitive but you have to start really small because it’s not about just succeeding at the thing but it’s about building that confidence. So ask yourself, what would be a small stretch outside of your comfort zone and really commit to that and do it.
Change your circle.
Make it a habit to develop friendships and relationships with people who are at your level or higher. It’s helpful to change your circle because once you see that these high-level people deal with imposter syndrome too, it will feel less real. If Gabrielle Union felt unworthy as she spoke about it at The Red Table Talk , then we must all be having this mental disorder and it isn’t real.
Instead of second-guessing yourself, you will start to second-guess the imposter syndrome because you see that there are people who are clearly worthy and have the credentials. If they have it, then imposter syndrome must not be a real thing.
If you don’t have the ability to connect to these type of women, you can still change your circle by who you follow online. Start following transparent leaders online and in this era, there are a lot of very successful people who share on their blogs, social media, and books.
Lastly, if this was really helpful for you, I want you to forward this episode to one woman that needs to hear this. Forward this to a woman who is a bad, bad chick, always killing it, does amazing things and super smart. It doesn’t have to be career stuff. She’s just an amazing person to be around, always lifting you up, but you know at times, she feels insecure or struggles with imposter syndrome. Forward this to the woman because I’m trying to make it so that we all don’t have to deal with this.
Imposter syndrome does not have to be a reality.