Hey Everyone! Welcome to Episode 15 of the Darn Good Life Podcast. I am your host, Danielle Roberts. I don’t say this out loud a lot, but I have a tremendous fear of failure, and I often let it prevent me from pursuing my biggest dreams. In today’s episode, I’ll be talking about imposter syndrome, which is a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” I’ll overview how it shows up in my own life and business, and why it shows up in the first place.
Many of us have dealt with feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point in our lives. But when your achievements and successes are a direct result of your own knowledge, persistence, and hard work, and you still feel like you aren’t good, capable or worth enough…you’re likely suffering from something called impostor syndrome.
According to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. (https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/), an estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives.
According to a blog by Hupspot (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/impostor-syndrome-tips), you might suffer from impostor syndrome if:
- You feel like you “got lucky” when you actually prepared well and worked hard, and earned your success.
- You find it hard to accept praise.
- You apologize for yourself when you didn’t actually do something wrong.
- You hold yourself to incredibly — sometimes impossibly — high standards.
- You find the fear of failure paralyzing.
- You avoid expressing confidence because you think people will see it as overcompensating or obnoxious.
- You’re convinced you’re not enough.
In real life, imposter syndrome rears its ugly head to stop you in your tracks, to stop you from reaching the goals you set for yourself.
Because it tells you it’s already been done before. Because it tells you it’s already been done before and it’s been done BETTER than you could ever do it. It says condescending things like: “Who are you to think you could ever accomplish this?”
The funniest thing about imposter syndrome is, it happens to people who are smart, skilled professionals who are often experts in their field, yet they let the fear and doubt creep in.
I wanted to record this episode because imposter syndrome is something I deal with often. I had more confidence when I was younger, especially when it came to my career path, so it mostly came up, really for the first time, when I decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I’ve only been a business owner for a few years, but this still comes up for me today.
My fear of failure is SO enormous, despite all I’ve accomplished. A lot of people are surprised to learn that about me, because I’ve centered so much of my life around career and finding fulfillment.
For example, I have a background working in social media and content strategy.
I went to school for public relations and advertising, and shortly after graduating college, landed a job in advertising. Six months in, they asked me if I wanted to work on a national social media client they recently landed, since they didn’t have any employees dedicated to working in the social space.
So LITERALLY, for the last decade, I have learned everything I know about social media on the job, and I’ve produced insane results for multi-million dollar businesses all across the country. I know everything there is to know about a career in social media and running a successful social media presence for businesses.
- I know how to manage and interact with online communities
- I know how to create a month’s worth of social media content in a day and build robust, engaging content calendars
- I know how to run ad campaigns in Facebook and Instagram and target you based on a product you recently viewed while online shopping
- I know all the right and wrong metrics to look at when determining return on investment
- I know all the resources to look to for the latest daily developments
- I know how algorithms work
- I know how to create award-winning strategies across every network that exists to-date
- And the list goes on…
Now, I knew early on after starting my business that I wanted to help other people become pros at social media. I’ve been talking about it forever that I want to create a course to teach other people how to start a successful social media career, and to also teach businesses that don’t necessarily have the resources to hire someone how they do it on their own.
And here’s the thing – I am more than confident this course will be a HUGE moneymaker for my business. What’s even better, is that I know I’ll get there by helping and providing value to others in the process, and doing something I love, which is teaching, educating, and empowering others. There are so many self-proclaimed social media gurus out there that will waste people’s time and money because they know how to get 50 likes on their personal Instagram post, or tell a business they have the recipe to go viral, and it drives me INSANE.
But for some reason I still convince myself I’m not good enough, and say to myself: “Who do I think I am, dreaming up and going after a goal this big? There are other people out there who know more than me.”
That, my friends, is imposter syndrome. It is intellectual self-doubt.
The sheer enormity of my course creation goal is paralyzing. I let this veil of perfectionism hinder my productivity. And I need to stop that vicious cycle.
Perfectionism perpetuates imposter syndrome because it leaves us thinking and rethinking, and editing and re-editing, and scrapping concepts and reconcepting, and comparing our progress to some unrealistic, benchmarked, “perfect” outcome that doesn’t exist. Let me repeat that, more for myself than for anyone listening: The perfect outcome doesn’t exist.
I know I’m not the only one when I say that imposter syndrome has stopped me before I ever gave myself the chance to start, when I could have been putting what I know out there into the world – failing if I have to, if it means pushing myself forward and elevating what I can offer to this world.
I follow a photographer and entrepreneur named Jenna Kutcher – you may have heard about her. She built her online empire from the ground up, and I’m sure she makes bank, and she has a great time doing it (or it seems that way).
She wrote a blog about imposter syndrome, and one of the things she talks about is Claiming Your Title. She says that we often hide behind titles that the world knows, and downplay what we know we really want inside so we don’t invite more conversation or have people question our path.
She goes on to say:
“The world is comfortable with corporate things, executive terms… but I felt like the world was against the dreamers, the doers, the people who were pursuing something more. I knew I was fragile enough to believe others’ opinions if I welcomed them into my life, so I often just left out that little detail that I was attempting to escape my “impressive” corporate job that I hated in order to do something different.”
That resonates with me a lot because I know in my heart I’m an entrepreneur, but I’ll often bring up the other things I do that society views as more quote-unquote acceptable before I ever own how far I’ve already come, which is quite a long way.
Or I say things to myself like: “Once I’ve replaced my corporate income, THEN I’ll be a successful business owner.”
Rather than owning the fact the entrepreneurship is a journey, a journey that I am on. I am an entrepreneur NOW.
Let’s stop imposter syndrome in its tracks and think about all the things and dreams and accomplishments our futures hold for us, if we just get out of our own way. Let’s write those things DOWN and surround ourselves with other dreamers and doers.
Think about it…at the end of the day, imposter syndrome shows up because we have big dreams. We want to achieve big things; we want more for ourselves and our lives. And you’re trying to measure your ability to achieve those dreams against what’s already been done before while staying humble.
Progress is better than perfection.
And life is short, so we should do everything we can to make it a darn good one.
We are capable. We are enough. And I cannot wait to see what the world holds for us. Now, let’s go out and begin.