Hello everybody, welcome to episode 58 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino.
Today we’ve got part two of a question that was sent in recently. In our last episode, I answered some questions about my history, and as I mentioned the listener also asked about a particular struggle of hers. So today we’ll be addressing that. We’ll be addressing imposter syndrome, which is an important thing to address these days when we’re all exposed on a regular basis to people at the top of our own industries. Let’s have a listen and see what we can do to help…
QUESTION: “How do you deal with imposter syndrome? I feel like everyone else around me knows better, has something worth listening to and deserves success. I've started my social media management and singing services but when I ask for business and recommendations I can't help but feel like a fraud like they should find someone else more qualified who knows what they're doing. One of my mantras is to “fake it until you become it,” but I would love to be radical authentically and own my skills and services and realize my full potential as an entrepreneur boss babe.”
How to Get Rid of Imposter Syndrome
First of all, let’s point out that the woman who said I had a nice voice in the last episode has now just revealed herself as someone who teaches people how to sing, so, thanks for that. I appreciate you for both asking about me and trusting me with this struggle of yours. Imposter syndrome is running rampant, so this is a good opportunity to close the book on it as best we can.
The first thing I remind anyone of who’s dealing with imposter syndrome is that there’s always someone you can help, even if it’s not anyone. Our perfectionism, our desires to be great, our desires to be entrepreneur boss babes as it were, lead us to forget this and focus instead on the masses.
But you have to start somewhere, and if you wait to start until you feel you can help the masses, then you’ve already missed countless opportunities to help people in the way you’d like to.
For example, let's say I have a child (I don’t, but let’s say I do). If my child comes up to me and says, “Dad, teach me how to play basketball,” I’m not going to say, “Sorry, child, I’m not Michael Jordan, and he’s really the one you should be talking to about this” and then go about my business while my child is left to his own devices and starts throwing basketballs through the kitchen window.
I can still teach my child, as I still have more knowledge of basketball than they do, even if I’m not yet an expert. Doesn’t mean I can’t still become an expert, and widen the net of people under me that I can help, but for now, there’s someone for me to help, so I’ll help them.
The same is true of your business. There are plenty of people you can help right now, and if you let your anxiety about not being to help more people prevent you from helping the ones you can, then you’re passing up on opportunities not only to help people, but also to do the work you love and keep learning it so you can get better at it.
And it doesn’t have to be laced in lies either. If you’re so compelled, you can still be forthcoming with these people about your skill and experience level, and as long as your prices reflect that, I’m sure they’ll appreciate the honesty.
How to Deal with Feelings of Inadequacy
It’s also worth noting that you said yourself, you’re new at this job. So these feelings of inadequacy are only to be expected. Everyone’s nervous at the beginning of their journey, and the nerves or sense of imposter syndrome — while frustrating — are also signs of humility and willingness to learn. All feelings and attributes have their flip side; they have good and bad. And while it’s easier to focus on the bad sides a lot, anyone who doesn’t seek out the good just as much is doing themselves a disservice and not treating themselves fairly.
So if you’ve not acknowledged the good part of these feelings, you’re objectively selling yourself short. If you’re not paying as much attention to those you’ve helped and the skills you’ve learned as you are to those you HAVEN’T helped and skills you HAVEN’T learned, you’re hardly giving yourself a chance to be satisfied with your work.
Paying equal parts to the good and bad can be hard for some people though. So if that sounds like you, and reframing your thoughts like this seems to be an impossible thing to do once you’ve given it a valiant, legitimate effort, well, then the conversation changes a little bit. It’s important for you right now to differentiate between feelings of inadequacy at this point in your professional journey and long-term, general feelings of inadequacy.
This is precautionary, but I encourage you to scout out other areas in your life and whether or not you regularly feel inadequate in them. If you find that you have these types of feelings in many scenarios as opposed to just having them regarding your work, it’s not only another example as to why your work is probably fine the way it is, but it would also tell you that’s it’s time to start addressing where these general feelings of inadequacy come from and focusing on that to heal yourself right now. It goes without saying that a counselor would be a great help for you IF this is what you feel is going on. Again, I’m not necessarily saying it IS the culprit, but it’s worth your time to at least consider that.
“Fake It Till You Make It”
Finally, the last thing I’d like to comment on is the “Fake it until you become it” mantra you’ve adopted. I guess I just want to ask, “Become what?” Fake it until you become what?
I’m not sure there’s a final destination here, especially if you consider yourself to be a particularly ambitious person. Even if you get to the top of your industries, you’ll still want to improve. You’ll still see how your services could be better, or how you could expand your services, or anything in between. Everyone will keep seeking their own version of progress in one way or another, and if you’re so focused on this business, it will likely be the area in which you never stop feeling as though you could get to another level.
Don’t be afraid to be satisfied at any point of your journey. You’re allowed to say, “I’m satisfied right now, let’s keep it going as it is.” You’re allowed to say, “I’m satisfied right now, let’s hang it up and do something else.” And you’re also allowed to say, “I’m satisfied right now,” or “I’m PROUD right now, but I’d still like to improve.”
Yes, it’s possible, nay, IDEAL, to be both proud of what you’ve accomplished, but also willing to grow. So keep patting yourself on the back, keep working hard as long you care about the work enough, and saddle up for the long haul of this push and pull.
And don’t worry about the flashy, click-bait-y “boss babe” terminology. It’s just a social media term that probably has another year left of shelf life, and you’re so much more than that.
That’s a wrap, folks! Thank you so much for joining me for the back-half of this two parter.
Like usual, I hope everyone was able to gain something from this episode and I hope you, the asker, was satisfied by both today’s episode and the first part.
Everyone, please, if you have questions of your own, we’d love to hear them and help you out here on the show, as we do. You can email your own questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll do our best to help you out. Who knows, you might even get two episodes. And we’ll also send you a free book from our collection if you’d like one. So don’t hesitate. Hope you all have a great rest of your day, hope you’ll tune in next time, and thanks everyone, sincerely, for supporting the show. Until next time.