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How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome, also known as imposterism, is a psychological occurrence in which people doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as frauds. They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think. Many people suffer from imposter syndrome and also suffer from perfectionism.

Not long ago, I had a profound experience in shifting my imposterism. I was asked to be interviewed on a podcast alongside two other highly competent, high achieving women. One woman was a lawyer and the other was a CEO of a large corporation. I was “just” a stay-at-home mom, podcast host, and life coach. As these women spoke, they answered the questions intelligently, articulately and with lots of experience. 

woman questioning her life
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

When it was my turn to respond I fumbled on my words, my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. I couldn’t think of what to say. I felt like “a fish out of water.” I felt like an imposter. I asked myself, “who am I to be sitting here with these women?” “I am not in their league.” 

The reason I couldn’t respond appropriately was because I was in “fight or flight” mode. I felt that I didn’t belong and if I was exposed that might threaten my survival somehow. The reality is the only thing at risk was my ego. Whenever we go into “fight or flight” we go into survival mode. That’s why my heart started racing and my palms were sweating. It is also why I couldn’t think clearly because the part of my brain that thinks rationally was shut off by my survival brain.

About half way through the interview, I decided I had to do something differently. I decided I was going to be a hundred percent vulnerable and call out the truth. The first thing I did was I asked the host if I was allowed to swear on her show. When she responded “yes”, I then said I wanted to be honest with them. Here is what I said next, “I feel like a fucking imposter.” I proceeded to explain that I felt intimidated by them and that I felt like a fraud. I felt like what I had to offer was not nearly as valuable as what they offered. After I shared this, the other two guests thanked me for being so vulnerable and honest. They shared that they were feeling the same exact way. Imagine that! After that admission, I started to relax and we had an amazing interview.

At the root of imposter syndrome is a core childhood wound that we are not enough. We were told in one way or another that who we are is not good enough. This happened for me when I hit puberty at the age of eleven. Most of my peers had not hit puberty yet, and therefore, I looked different from the tribe. My body changed drastically in a short period of time. My boobs, hips and thighs got so big that I still have stretch marks to prove it. 

I decided I had to do something differently. I decided I was going to be a hundred percent vulnerable and call out the truth.

I felt different and I was ostracized by all the boys. They called me names and what was worse is that I never felt like I was girlfriend material. The boys that I liked rejected me. I was not good enough. This wound stayed with me throughout my adult life. I never felt that I was a good enough daughter, wife, friend or mom. In order to know my goodness and feel that I mattered enough to speak up during that interview I had to heal that wound inside me. It was hard work but so worth it because I have returned home to my true self and know that I am worthy of love and belonging just because I was freaking born.

You are worthy of love and belonging too. You matter!! You are the same energy that is in the ocean, trees and flowers. Trees don’t compare themselves to one another and judge themselves as unworthy. Only humans do that. So I invite you to see where you are feeling not enough in your life. Do you feel like an imposter or a fraud? Do you constantly compare yourself to others only to feel that you are falling short.

If so, I encourage you to start the journey of healing. This is what I do. I help others to become aware of their perfectionist tendencies and to heal from the childhood wounds that caused them to feel that they aren't enough.

If you want to listen to the full episode of that interview click here.  


Meet the expert:

Kim helps people to remove their “masks” so they can be their true selves, and show up fully and to create meaningful connections with themselves and others.

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