Hi, lovely ones. Welcome to episode number 45 of Hello, Rebecca Ray. In this episode, I want to grab imposter syndrome with both hands and take you through why we experience it and what we do about it. And there’s a very good reason why I’m talking about imposter syndrome this week, which I’ll talk about in just a moment, actually in detail. But before we do, I want to shout out Faie who left this beautiful review after listening to the podcast. She titled it the golden combo of deep wisdom, authenticity and wicked humour.
Every episode is chock full of practical resources, heart-warming anecdotes, and inspiring encouragement. I so appreciate the way Beck effortlessly offers rich wisdom for those who have been on personal growth journeys for decades and those newer to the path, lots of rich wisdom for entrepreneurs as well. A favourite in my podcast queue!
Thank you so much Faie reviews make a huge difference to this podcast landing in more ears. So just from the bottom of my heart, please know that if you plan to leave a review, or you have already left a review, thank you so much, it really makes a difference. So let’s talk about imposter syndrome.
And I need you to know that my fear system is hyperactive right now. Not because I’m recording a podcast. But because imposter syndrome has me around the neck this week. So I’m recording this in the week that my latest book Setting Boundaries is being released into the world in Australia and New Zealand. For those of you listening internationally, please know that I will reach you. And as soon as I have dates, I will let you know what those dates are. But this week culminates in a couple of weeks of quite intense publicity for the book. And not only am I very nervous about the book landing in your hands, because I care very much about whether or not this book is helpful for you.
I know it’s a topic that many of you struggle with. And I deeply want to make sure that not only do I honour those struggles in a way that they deserve, but I provide you with the tools and the wisdom that you need to be able to navigate your own boundaries in your life, to be able to come out the other side and feel empowered again. And so I have no guarantee that the book is going to do that for you. I mean, I’m sure it will, won’t do it for some people, because I’m not for everyone. And that’s a really important thing to know as well. If you’re putting your work out into the world, there is no person that is for everyone, you simply just can’t resonate with 100% of people that come across your work. So I’m not trying to reach every single person in that deep way. But I am trying to reach those of you for whom my work already resonates. I just really bloody hope that I’ve done a decent job of this book, because I want it to be useful for you.
I want it to be transformative for you. And so because there’s that fear that’s already sitting there. And then on top of that, I’m doing publicity for the book. And I’ve been lucky enough to get publicity in a lift out that was in our national papers. So in every single state, I had an extract of the book featured over the weekend. And just in a couple of days time, so almost 48 hours Exactly. As I record this, I am going on national tv live for the very first time.
So this is a major thing for me. I have never been on TV in this way before. I’ve never been interviewed on TV, let alone about a book that I’ve written. So let’s be honest, I’m fucking scared, like, really, really scared. And I don’t want you to think I’m just doing this with this kind of unshakable confidence. That’s bullshit. I am so scared. But I think what happens in business and just in career journeys at large is that the more you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, the better you get at being able to accept that fear is part of the process. But a part of that fear is imposter syndrome, the experience that perhaps I’ll be found out to be a fraud, perhaps, I don’t know everything I need to know about the particular topic that I’m writing on, maybe not everything, so don’t ever try to know everything, but perhaps it’s not good enough. And so I want to talk about that today.
Because my experience of imposter syndrome this week is very real. And that has been many times in my career, even when I was in clinical practice, I used to feel like an imposter at times, and doubt whether or not I had the skills I needed to be able to do my job. Well, despite evidence to confirm that I was a great psychologist, I am a great psychologist. But you know, fi doesn’t always listen to logic. And so I want to talk about imposter syndrome today, in case you’re experiencing it too. Because it can be or it can at least feel debilitating. So, if we’re going to define it, imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling and or believing that you are not legitimately deserving of your success and achievements and that you will be discovered to be less capable than what you are. In other words, if you’re about to go on national TV, you feel like you might have a breakdown.
Or at least say something really stupid than have the host look at you as if to say, Are you serious? Why have we got her on? So yeah, I’m a little scared about that. However, we’re gonna do it anyway. I asked my community about how imposter syndrome showed up for them. And Megan said, “imposter syndrome shows up to me when I’m about to do something that is big, and I’m well prepared for and I know what needs to be done, then the day before. And the morning of that little voice shows up being like you are a fraud. People don’t take you seriously, who do you think you are?” Pauline said “it’s the continuous feeling of needing to upskill or retrain or study towards the right qualification. The voice says you can’t do that only someone who is qualified properly can.” And then Karen says, “For me, it shows up before I even start a project Who am I to do that particular thing, so I don’t even attempt it.” And Katie says, “I’ve always felt like I’m second-guessing myself. I have self doubt a lot of the time. I think describing myself as someone that can be a scaredy-cat would be accurate. These feelings have kept me from doing some of the most important things that I really want to do in life.” And this is exactly why I’m talking about imposter syndrome, lovely ones, because I want to show you that you can have these fears, but do it anyway. So as I talk about my own feeling I’m experiencing this week.
I promise you the fear is real, I feel it in my biology.
So anxiety shows up for me as physical symptoms. My heart’s a bit racy this week, I’ve noticed that I’m not breathing well. Obviously, I’m not dead. But I mean that I’m not breathing in a thorough way. I’m not slowing my breathing down and breathing from my diaphragm. Instead, I’m experiencing this really shallow breathing and it’s because the anxiety is sitting in the background about all the things that are happening, that imposter syndrome is just noshing quietly in the background. Who the hell are you to do this? It’s not just me that experiences this, it’s you as well as you can tell from those notes from my community. But the thing is, we need to be able to have imposter syndrome in order to be able to do the things that are important to us. And you might be thinking back that’s bullshit, I want to find a way to get rid of it. And that’s totally understandable. But I’m going to explain why that will set you up for a struggle that you probably won’t win in just a moment.
Before that, though, I want you to understand that imposter syndrome usually isn’t experienced by itself, it comes with whole other hosts of what we might call side effects. So imposter syndrome is also experienced alongside people who tend towards high achievement or even over achievement. People who identify as perfectionists people who tend to work past the point of exhaustion so they risk burnout. It’s also experienced alongside the fear of failure and the fear of judgement or rejection from others. And those people We tend to disregard praise from others. So they especially tend to be critical upon themselves. And when other people compliment them or praise their work, they tend to dismiss it and believe the self-criticism more than the praise from others. At this point, I just want to stop for a moment and want you to think about how imposter syndrome showed up in your life. Where has it stopped you from pursuing or achieving your goals?
And where has it affected your ability to recognise and celebrate your achievements? And I wonder if it’s ever affected your sense of worthiness as a person. Now, I kind of makes it sound like not such a good thing. I do want to clarify, I, I totally understand, especially this week, that imposter syndrome is not comfortable. However, it’s not always a bad thing, believe it or not. Imposter syndrome gives us motivation to learn so it actually helps us to strive to learn more, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It helps us to maintain a state of humility, so we don’t get too big for our bridges when imposter syndrome is present, who actually says big for their britches, other than like 85 year old Nana’s, however, I am kind of a Nana trapped in a woman’s body in her 40s. So that’s on brand for me, let’s go with it. Let’s go with we’re not going to get too big for our britches just to keep the Nana energy flowing. So it helps us to stay humble. It gives us resilience to keep trying gives us empathy for others experiencing the same thing. It helps us to recognise and accept that it’s a common part of the experience of achievement. And it helps us to practice learning to accept praise and compliments.
The thing is, though, you need to find a way to make it part of your experience in a way that accepts it without fighting with it. All change starts with awareness. But awareness is nothing without understanding the reasons why the reason why imposter syndrome occurs in the first place. Once you start to understand the reasons why imposter syndrome shows up, then you can create the space to respond differently. And responding differently means you create a life and a business where you’re not just repeatedly stepping in your own way, but instead moving forward. But why do you feel like an imposter? So if we’re going to get to the bottom of this? And really look at the understanding around this? Why is it that you feel like an imposter?
Why is it that I feel like an imposter that we all do at times. The thing is, belonging is one of our basic human needs. The need to belong comes immediately after the needs to eat, drink, and be safe. So in our hierarchy of needs, the needs to be loved, and to belong to our people. And next, they’re that important. Belonging is inherently attached to survival. We need other members of our clan, so to speak for resources and information. So we prioritise all behaviours that can improve our acceptance within our clan. And this plays out in our brain neurochemically.
The more we are accepted as part of the ingroup The more we experience the effects of oxytocin and dopamine. These neurochemicals make us feel good, and they motivate us to prioritise the needs of our clan, over anything else. So in other words, what we’re trying to do is just make sure that we’re good enough for the clan, so that the clan keeps us as valuable members. That then allows us to have access to resources protection, the chance to reproduce and essential information for survival.
It’s pretty damn important. And then that’s played out neuro chemically which prompts us to repeat the behaviours that help us chip along. In other words, imposter syndrome is the fear that you’ll be discovered not to be a member of the ingroup, which on a biological level, would have once threaten your survival. It’s a defence that prioritises emotional and physical safety.
So if as a child, your attachment to your primary caregivers was disrupted in some way you may experience imposter syndrome as a function of underlying fears that started when you were small. For example, the fear of abandonment or the fear of intense criticism from your grown-ups. imposter syndrome might then show As a fee that you don’t have the right to be in the place or the role or the relationship that you are, because those above you might not approve of you. So those in authority might not approve of you. And because you fear that you’re not as good as your peers and therefore might be rejected. So in other words, imposter syndrome speaks to the very need, that we want to be approved of, and we want to be included as part of the group.
It shows up in different disguises like people-pleasing, which can often be a healthy relational strength, but it becomes unhealthy when it’s always at the expense of your needs.
- It can also show up in disguise as loose boundaries
- Discounting your own needs
- Denigrating your skills
- Ignoring or discounting your achievements
- Not trusting in your own wisdom
Imposter syndrome is a function of ensuring you won’t be seen by authority figures or peers in your clan, or the in-group to be a threat. Therefore, it’s an unconscious attempt to avoid exclusion. In other words, we’re trying to stay safe here, we’re trying to stay protected, and to continue our membership of the clan.
Now, in terms of what’s happening for me this week, here I am. Living, I have to be completely honest with this. And you know, that’s how I roll full transparency, I could never have imagined that I’d be sitting here today about kind of planning, I’m planning what to wear, I’m planning what time we have to leave. And I’m planning what I need to say, for a national TV appearance in a couple of days time. I could never have imagined that I’m about to release my fifth book, would you believe? And I say that because I can barely believe it myself. And imposter syndrome shows up as if to say, but do these people know that you’re you?
Like, do they know that you’re actually just a Mexican food loving kind of slot that really doesn’t like any effort anywhere? Do they just Channel Nine know that. And I think the thing that imposter syndrome used to do for me is, before I got okay with being imperfect was it used to just really make me step into perfectionism even more.
So I was very much a perfectionist, very much someone that was practised in intense and kind of hateful self-criticism, certainly all of my 20s and probably part of my 30s as well. But I realised somewhere along the way that to be able to get to where I want to go in my career, I need to ditch the self-criticism.
I need to accept that every time I level up and something new happens like going on national TV or having my work featured in a national newspaper, that imposter syndrome will be there.
But I need to be able to accept it as a passenger, but not stop, not let it stop me from actually doing the things I need to do, to be able to reach my goals, and to be able to reach you because all of this is actually about us connecting you and I connecting that’s what matters to me. What matters to me at the end of the day is Did I say something that helped you?
Did I write something that you read, that allowed you to experience yourself in a different healthier way, that’s what matters to me and to be able to get to you, then these opportunities are actually really important. And if I let imposter syndrome get in the way, then I would end up emotionally paralysed and not able to move forward. So what I’m saying is, it’s not about turning imposter syndrome off, we can’t turn off the fact that we’re human, and we have these strong needs to belong. Instead, it’s about learning to identify when it shows up for you, and then finding ways to move through it while not attaching your results to your worthiness.
We move through it by connecting with our values and using the energy as a force to lean into the impact that we’re trying to make on the world. So that’s what I want to leave you with today. Lovely ones. I want you to remember the impact that you’re trying to make on the world and by the world. I mean, your audience, your communities. I mean your children. I mean the people that you love in life. I mean yourself. What is it that you’re trying to do if you were to at If you were able to talk to your 80 year old self, what would she say? In terms of how you want to live your life and what you want to stand for?
You are more than capable. Even if imposter syndrome shows up, we do it anyway. This is how we move forward. I hope this episode has been helpful for you lovely ones. I am backing you every step of the way, for whatever you’re out to do right now, that is prompting imposter syndrome to get a little bit loud. I’ve got your back. And I’ll hold the belief in you while you develop it for yourself. If you want to find any more information about my new book setting boundaries, you can do so at rebeccaray.com.ay/books. And you’ll find all the details there.
I hope you’re able to get your hands on my books, and I hope he was especially loved the latest one setting boundaries. Thank you for being with me today. I’ll catch you in the next episode of Hello Rebecca Ray very shortly. Lovely ones. Thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you’ve got something meaningful from this episode, and the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay. Make sure to subscribe. And if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much. I love seeing your shares on social media. So please tag me, catch you next time.