This week we’re talking about Imposter Syndrome — that disconcerting sense you may not be entirely worthy or qualified to be doing whatever it is you are doing, and that accompanying sense of dread that it’s just a matter of time before everybody else figures it out.
Imposter syndrome is a well-recognized phenomenon that affects almost all of us at one time or another, and it can be a significant source of chronic stress.
So here, we talk about our own personal experiences with imposter syndrome. We also share what we’ve learned through our professional explorations of it, plus some expert strategies for not letting it get the best of you.
From investigating your negative self-talk to overcoming your unconscious upper limits, we suggest ways of identifying and navigating through imposter syndrome. And of course, we offer you some experiments to help you evaluate the impact it might be having in your world.
“Imposter Syndrome” Episode Highlights
- Dallas’s trepidation and disorientation every time he publishes a new book or appears on television as an expert
- Imposter syndrome’s roots in fear of inadequacy, failure, and vulnerability
- Five types of imposter syndrome as defined by Valerie Young: The Perfectionist, The Superwoman/man, The Natural Genius, The Rugged Individualist, and The Expert
- Pilar and Dallas discuss their answers to nine questions to help you better understand if you suffer from imposter syndrome
- How some people use narcissism to drown out their feelings of inadequacy, and the importance of defining and understanding our hidden motives
- Suggestions for unraveling imposter syndrome, starting with understanding that almost everyone suffers from it
- The value of questioning your thoughts
- The potential costs of imposter syndrome — and the promise of finding your “Zone of Genius” (as defined by Gay Hendricks)
Ask yourself what would happen if you decided that you weren’t all that smart and that you didn’t have anything to share with the world. How would it impact your life? Would it be as terrifying as you think? Does thinking about it allow you to unravel your identity from all the externalized outcomes?
Take the New York magazine imposter syndrome quiz, or review one or more of the Resources below. If you don’t relate to the problem of Imposter Syndrome at all, become aware of how many people do, and see if you can regard their struggles with compassion.
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- A simple definition and overview of Imposter Syndrome via Harvard Business Review
- “7 Signs You Suffer From The Imposter Syndrome” via Business Insider (features great quotes from Meryl Streep, Maya Angelou, Will Smith)
- The collective works of Brené Brown on shame, fear, and vulnerability
- “The Five Types of Imposter Syndrome and How to Beat Them” via Fast Company
- New York magazine’s imposter syndrome quiz
- Dallas’s “I Am Not a Guru” blog post
- Kevin Simler’s and Robin Hanson’s The Elephant in the Brain — confronting our hidden motives
- Charles’ Eisenstein’s essay: “The Age of We Need Each Other”
- The Work of Byron Katie — questioning your thinking
- Gay Hendricks’ The Big Leap, and his “Overcome Your Upper Limits” article in Experience Life magazine
- Our “Therapy” episode
- “Learning to Deal With the Imposter Syndrome” by Carl Richards, via The New York Times
- More suggestions for overcoming imposter syndrome in “Who, Me?“, via Experience Life
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