This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast to find this and all my other episodes.
Hello and welcome back! I’m so glad that you are here today. We have a really prevalent issue to explore. We’re going to talk about the phenomenon of Imposter Syndrome, how it affects our mental health, and, most importantly, strategies that we can use to overcome it. So, get cozy, settle in, and let’s talk about this journey together.
Before we dive into combating this unhelpful mindset, I want to take a minute to define what it means. Imposter Syndrome refers to that persistent feeling of self-doubt or inadequacy, despite objective evidence of your capabilities and loads of accomplishments. It’s a nagging voice in our heads telling us that we’re not good enough, that we’re just faking it and that one day we’ll be exposed as the fraud we are.
Now, it’s important to understand that Imposter Syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of the success they’ve achieved. In fact, some of the most accomplished people have moved through this very feeling. That talented colleague of yours who seems to be a natural at everything. That success story you’ve seen on tv who makes it look so easy. That influencer always has it together. These same people often have the same experience of doubting their abilities and impact. Imposter syndrome doesn’t discriminate. So, how does this mindset affect our mental health? Well, that constant self-doubt and fear of being exposed can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. It can stop our personal and professional growth in its tracks, limit our potential, and prevent us from taking risks or seeking out opportunity. But don’t worry! We have the power to overcome it.
Let’s talk about some effective strategies that can help us fight against these lies and reclaim our confidence. The first step is to recognize and acknowledge our feelings of self-doubt. By shining a light on our insecurities, we can start to challenge them and start to understand that they are sometimes irrational and baseless.
One powerful technique is to keep a success journal. Write down your achievements, both big and small, and revisit them regularly. Remind yourself of all the times you came out on top, the intimidating obstacles that you overcame, the growth you experienced. This practice is definitely going to help you to rewire your brain over time to focus on your strengths and abilities and build confidence.
Another effective strategy is to grow your support network. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, who lift you up, and who remind you of your worth. Seek out mentors and role models who have faced similar challenges and have triumphed over imposter syndrome. Remember, you are not alone in this journey.
It's also really important to intentionally reframe our thinking and embrace what’s called a Growth Mindset. Instead of seeing failures and setbacks as proof of what you can't do, look at them as opportunities for growth and learning. Embrace the idea that success is not about being flawless, but about showing up, taking action, and learning from every single experience.
Now, I’d like to share a personal story with you. A couple of years ago, specifically when I decided to start this podcast, I experienced intense imposter syndrome. I doubted my ability to create meaningful content, wondered if anyone would listen, and truly felt like a fraud in the world of mental health. But, I refused to let those feelings hold me back. I took the first steps and pulled some tools out of my toolbelt. I used many of the same strategies I just mentioned, in fact. First, I acknowledged my self-doubt and reminded myself that it is a common experience. I took some time to think about the fact that even successful podcasters and mental health experts had faced Imposter Syndrome at some point in their journey. This really helped me understand that my feelings were not unique and that I could overcome them. Then, I started my success journal. I made a deliberate and conscious effort to write down every positive comment, message, and review I received from a listener. I really paid attention to the impact my episodes had on people’s lives and the meaningful conversations that were sparked because of this podcast. Whenever Imposter Syndrome showed its ugly face, I would open my success journal and remind myself of the value I was providing to others. When I received not so favorable feedback on my podcast, I took it as a learning experience. I treated it as an opportunity to really hear what people needed to experience as a result of listening and make improvements. Building a supportive network was also really crucial to me. I sought out mentors in the podcasting and mental health communities that had experience with imposter syndrome. Their guidance and encouragement became a lifeline during the challenging times. I joined an online community where I could connect with like minded podcasters and shared my struggles openly. Knowing that I wasn't alone in this battle against imposter Syndrome made such a difference to me and kept me moving forwards. And as I said before, I welcomed a growth mindset. Instead of seeing my mistakes or setbacks as failures, I got curious. I made them an opportunity to learn, to improve, to learn something new, just to move forward in different directions I hadn’t thought of before. Each episode has become a chance for me to improve, for me to refine my skill as a host, and to dive deep into topics that really speak to me and my audience. I shifted my focus from perfection to progress, understanding that my journey itself is a true measure of my success. Through constant and consistent practice, I slowly but surely minimized my experience of Imposter Syndrome. It’s a recurring visitor that doesn't go away completely, but it no longer holds power over me. I learned to acknowledge its presence but not let it dictate my actions or define my worth.
Now listen, I want you to remember that you’re not alone in this battle against Imposter Syndrome. We all face moments of self-doubt and insecurity. But by taking action, by implementing strategies and seeking support, you can break away from its grip and step into your own power. Before we end the episode, I want to leave you with a few final words of encouragement. Remember that you are here for a reason. Your voice, your skills and your experience are unique and extremely valuable. Embrace your journey, celebrate your wins, and know that you have the strength to overcome any self-doubt!