Episode 10: How to manage imposter syndrome

"My Tips to Managing Imposter Syndrome"

In this episode I’m talking all about ways of coping with imposter syndrome because over the past 20 years I have gone through imposter syndrome on and off consistently. And I probably will for the rest of my life.

It’s not something that you should be worried about. It is a completely normal feeling and it is part of our human nature to doubt ourselves. But we can use this and we can embrace the feeling. 

We can utilise it to remember how we felt and use that energy to drive us forward.

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{1:35} My experience with Imposter Syndrome

{3:07} Embrace the feeling and let it go

{7:26} Track your success

{11:16} Having the right mindset and motivation

Check out all episodes and download worksheets – https://dawnmcgruer.com/podcast/

Connect with Dawn:

Instagram @dawnmcgruer and @businessconsort





Web: www.dawnmcgruer.com

Dawn Mcgruer:

Welcome to episode 10 of Dawn of a New Era podcast, the Chronicles of a Serial Entrepreneur. I cannot believe we’re at episode 10 already. And this one is an episode really close to my heart, all about how to manage imposter syndrome. And it’s something that many will not talk about and feel ashamed that they’re experiencing it and see it as a weakness. And do you know, what it truly isn’t. You’ll never truly ever get over imposter syndrome. And I really feel that you can use this as a positive. And I want to talk about ways of coping with imposter syndrome because over the past 20 years, I have gone through imposter syndrome on and off all the way through. And I probably will for the rest of my life.

It’s not something that you should be worried about. It is a completely normal feeling and it is part of our human nature to doubt ourselves. But we can use this and we can embrace the feeling. We can utilize it to remember how we felt, and use that energy to drive forward. So, especially for me, when I wrote my book and I got my publishing contract in May, 2019, I was so excited. I cannot tell you what I felt. It was like a massive accomplishment, something I was just so proud of. It was a lot of pressure and getting the contract was one thing, but then writing the book and delivering it… Because when you get a publishing contract with a business publisher, they don’t see your book, they just see your proposal.

So by the time you’ve written 400 pages and sent it across for the deadline, they still have not read one word of your book. So for me, I went through massive imposter syndrome. As soon as I’d written the book, I felt this huge weight lifted. And it was really cathartic just to get it well done, sent it off and just felt this sense of relief. And then I was really happy and I remember celebrating, having a glass of Prosecco and saying to my partner, “It’s done. And the next time I see it, it’s going to be in print. It’s going to be the shops. It’s going to be everywhere. And people around the world are going to buy my book.” I was just stoked. Absolutely flabbergasted really, number one, that it had happened and it didn’t really feel real.

But then as soon as I went through that, it was like a roller coaster. I went straight back down. I started feeling really negative about the book, started having massive imposter syndrome thinking “I’ve written a book who am I to write a book? Will people read the book? Will people buy the book?” Every doubt possible. I started doubting the contents. I started going back and having a look at it. And every time I did this, I reread it and I felt good. And this is something that I would encourage you to do. So if you create content or you write something out or even you’re writing your book and you have the self doubt, just go back and reread it. Because honestly, what you think you’ve written is never as good as actually you have written. And I promise you that, when you go back and look at it, you’re like, “Wow, did I write this?” And that boosts you forward?

So for me, I honestly say embrace the feeling and make sure that you understand it, but then get past it. Do not wallow too long in it because it’s a really normal state to be in. Because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want people to think badly of us. And it’s something that I struggle with a lot. Because when I started doing things like stage speaking, I always just used to be thinking… Going on stage and talking to hundreds, if not thousands of people. And I would start thinking just in that immediate time before I went on, what am I talking about? And then as soon as I was on, I was fine. So for me, it’s very much just getting hold of what you feel, that negativity. Sense checking it back and just making sure, is this valid?

Say to yourself, is this even valid? Nine times out of 10, it won’t be. There’ll be always this little lingering doubt. You can never control everything. I couldn’t control where my book was going to be. All I could do was plan, make sure I’d done the best I had, that I’d written and given all my knowledge in the way that I just felt that people would embrace. And then it flowed and I got past that. I mean, there’s still be a time that, out of thousands of reviews, you’ll always get a negative one and that’s normal. You might trigger someone. Someone might just genuinely not like my book. That’s not a problem. I don’t care. It will definitely hit me. And it will hurt me for that immediate minute and I’ll read it through, but then I go back and then I start reading all the positives. So try and think about imposter syndrome as just a normal part of the working day and embrace the feeling, sense check it, and of work your way past it.

So knowing the signs of it. So I knew that I was going to go through imposter syndrome when I wrote my book, because it’s always that anxiety, because you don’t know what the future holds. So generally what happens with imposter syndrome, it comes because we don’t know what’s happening next. So if we knew that everyone was going to like it, we’d be fine. We wouldn’t be judging ourselves. But it’s this unknown, unchartered territory that you’re going down. So just be aware of the signs and then just keep pushing them back, but embrace it before you just push it. Because we don’t want you to box it. Know you’re not alone. Everybody goes through it. Honestly, if someone tells you they’ve never had it in their life, they’re lying. Honestly, there will be one thing somewhere in their life that they’ve doubted. And distinguish humility and fear. The fact that you actually have imposter syndrome says to yourself that you are proud, that you’re really dedicated to helping people and creating something of worth.

It gives you that social proof really that you care and that you want to serve people in the right manner. So I think it’s absolutely a good thing that we feel it because it means that you are not trying to be perfect because perfectionism will never happen. That’s something that will cause massive anxiety. You’re better just to get it done and out there. There will always be things in my books that I think, “Oh, I wish I’d put it in.” But do you know what? I can’t bring up everything in one book. I just think, that’ll be my next book. So try and think about as that, this humility of wanting to please is natural, but be kind to yourself, be kind because we’re all human. We’re all racing through things a hundred miles an hour, and we are creating what we want to put out there, be it a podcast or book or whatever.

Literally, when I put this podcast out, I went through imposter syndrome. Because I was thinking, “Will anyone download it? Why does someone want to hear my story? Does anyone care? Will anyone actually listen to me? Will I get shot down because I’m giving advice or that I’m actually showing some of the negatives that I’ve experienced in business? Will people think about me in a bad way, because I’m not just always giving the shiny, nice ways of doing business.” And I did. And then do you know what, as soon as I got out there, I went through this awful feeling and then it hit number 17 in the entrepreneur charts, climbed and climbed and climbed. And then people started getting in touch with me and telling me that they listened to my podcast and they found it really, really helpful. And then I just started to think, “Oh, all is fine.”

So tracking your success and thinking about what success means to you at the beginning, that will help overcome or manage your imposter syndrome. I don’t think anyone will truly ever get past it. Why did you do it? Did you achieve those goals? What was it that you put out there? Was it a podcast? Did you want to hit a particular goal? What does success mean to you? It doesn’t always have to be metrics and money. It could just be serving people, helping people. And that is absolutely fine. Because that’s what a lot of content is there for, it’s to add value. Now, again if you’re suffering with imposter syndrome over maybe a project or something, or just even your business. Some people feel that they’ve started a business and because you’re not recognizing the results, you start doubting yourself.

And it’s just a natural way that your body’s defense mechanism creates in your brain. So think about maybe talking to a mentor or somebody. Feel free to message me and tell me, if there’s something that’s bothering you. If I can help, I absolutely will. The other thing for me is to say yes to opportunities and to say no to things you don’t want to do. So, one thing that I have learned is that when I first started business, I wanted to say yes to everything. It was like, I have to be there, do everything and be seen to serving 24/7. And it doesn’t have to be that. Literally you hit burnout. I’ve been there, I don’t always have things balanced. During lockdown I hit burnout a little bit because I hadn’t had time off and I had to step back and rejig things.

So nobody’s perfect. No one has their life solved. And it’s just a balance, it’s just about winning more than you lose. And when it comes to imposter syndrome, you have to understand that this is a natural thing that you’re going to experience. It’s not a particularly nice feeling. But I always think to myself that if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be sense checking what I’m doing. And I want you to think about, when you get these feelings, if you recognize the signs, just maybe walking away and thinking about how you’re feeling. And when I say embrace it, I mean literally sit down and feel it. You might be thinking you want to walk away and you want to avoid the feeling, don’t. Really breathe through it.

This is something that helps me a lot. If I feel anxious or nervous or just not right. I sit with my feeling and I just breathe through it. And it just seems to dissipate and it means that I’m not boxing it and I’m not building up emotion that might come out in other ways later. But it’s just kind of recognizing it in my body and then managing it through. Now, in terms of imposter syndrome, what I want you to do is, today’s podcast activity is all about showing up and telling me what you feel. I feel with imposter syndrome, that if we all come together, and we all support each other, it’s something that we can absolutely manage. And I’m going to go put a post into our Facebook group, which is the Business Consort, Marketing and Motivation and Mindset. So if you’re not already a member come and join. And the activity is to come and join the group, and I’m going to put a post, I’m going to pin it to the top, all about imposter syndrome.

And I’m going to talk about my story and I want you guys to share yours. And if you’ve got any helpful tips, if you are a coach or you deal with mindset, please show up. Please come and help others because that’s what you’re there to serve. And I just think the more that we can collaborate on this, the more that we can share, we can take this whole topic that is seen is sometimes a negative or weak factor and just take it hands on, move with it and embrace it in our lives and just understand what it is. And if people are sitting there feeling alone, come and join the party, come and talk to us. And that’s what we’re there for because running a business, yeah marketing is amazing. Marketing will absolutely smash getting the clients, converting them to paying customers.

But if you don’t have the right mindset and you don’t have the motivation and these barriers will hold you back. Imposter syndrome for me is something that you might find that you don’t want to talk to other people. You might find that you just feel like you’re a fraud and it’s difficult for you to actually step out. You might actually be in a little bit of denial of what it is. You might not even recognize that it is imposter syndrome. You might feel that you don’t deserve it. That you’re a fraud, that you’re going to get found out, or it’s not perfect. Everyone’s going to think you’re a fake or that you’re just not good enough. And they’re onto you. And you might have this kind of feeling. And this is true in a lot of people who are scrolling through social media, that others are better than you. And that you’re just lucky to be where you are.

These thoughts are normal and everyone will have experienced them. But you definitely are not alone there. And to be honest with you, those feelings are things that you need to do a shift with because they will hold you back. If you honestly feel that others are better. One of the things that I do is just focus on getting on my own lane. I put my blinkers on and think about what is my mission? What is my vision? What am I doing? Because everyone’s at different stages. I’ve seen people go on and go, “Oh, I can’t believe this person’s doing this.” It could be that they’ve just seen an influencer on social media who has been around for the past 10, 15, 20 years. And they’re trying to benchmark themselves who’ve just started the business last week.

Well, of course you’re going to feel like FOMO, of course you’re going to have this fear of missing out and feel that they are doing better. You have to be realistic about where you are in your journey and what it is you want to achieve. Because what you see on social media is just this small snippet and you have to be true to yourself and think, “Right, this is where I’m at and what I’m doing.” So just yesterday I had a client who I’ve worked with just only for a couple of weeks. And they said, “Do you know what Dawn, I just… I look at everything that you are doing. And I just want to be at that point.” And I just said quite simply, “Do you know what? That’s taken me 20 years of hard graft and grief to get to.”

This didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t just go onto LinkedIn, get 27,000 followers overnight. You have to put the time in and you have to understand that your journey is your journey and wherever you are, that’s fine. You’re not measuring yourself against someone who has been in business five, 10, 20 years. It could be that you’ve even swapped industry and you’ve been a business owner for awhile. You have to think about what makes sense for you at where you’re at.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. I hope you honestly start to feel positivity yourself. The biggest message I want to give to you out of this podcast and go away feeling is, be kind to yourself. If you are going through this, please come and join the group. You are not alone, share your feelings. But also be kind to yourself and start thinking about, instead of giving yourself this negative internal voice, start talking to yourself about what you’ve achieved. Chart some of the success. Some of the people you’ve helped. If I think about it, it’s not just about doing things and moving forward. I think back to all the people I’ve met in my life.

In our Academy, we have trained almost 28,000 people. I sometimes lose sight of that. And I forget that these are people I’ve helped. I’ve been instrumental in their lives and this is what you have to do for yourself. So chart your success, think about what you’ve done and how you’ve helped other people and how instrumental you have been in people’s lives. Because we only live once. There’ll be so many people out there who treasure you and have had amazingly positive experiences from you being a business owner. So I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Come and join me in the group. And I will see you on next week’s podcast and see you in the group. Take care.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and don’t forget I’m going to be with you each and every week. So download and listen on dawnmcgruer.com or on iTunes and come and join us in our Facebook community too. All the details are on the website and I’ll see you next week.


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Dawn McGruer's Marketing * Motivation * Mindset Group

Speaker. Author. Podcaster. Strategist.

Multi-award-winning speaker, strategist & best-selling author of Dynamic Digital Marketing - Helping to inspire entrepreneurs to rise to meet today’s challenges and be powerfully present to shine online.

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