Stop Feeling Like an Imposter!

Most people now understand the concept of Imposter Syndrome - that feeling when you think you are going to be found out as a fraud. That you shouldn't be where you are, or be doing what you are doing because you are not good enough.

Where does it come from and what's the reason it seems to be so universal. That's what I'm exploring in this episode, so you can finally let go and realise you aren't an imposter and get out there and perform!

Episode 44 - Stop Feeling like an Imposter! copy

The Courageous Performer Podcast

Stop Feeling Like an Imposter

If you would like to learn how to let go and perform brilliantly, so that you can feel confident (even without being able to guarantee the outcome!) then go to to find out how to work with me.

Read the episode transcript here:

[00:00:00] Do you ever feel like an imposter when you stand up on stage? Do you ever feel like you're just about to be found out? You know, there's a lot of talk today about imposter syndrome because I think almost everybody I've ever met and certainly everybody I've worked with as a performance mindset coach has talked about and has Described some level of imposter syndrome and it might be when you're on stage or it might be even when you're just talking one to one with somebody you suddenly think Oh, I'm gonna show myself up.

I'm not good enough to be here. Why? Why am I doing this? They're going to find out I'm not good enough and Today, I would like to talk to you about the reason this happens because There's a lot of talk about imposter syndrome and how to handle it and how to deal with it. But I don't hear so much said about the reason it's there.

Because really, imposter syndrome is designed to protect you. It's you trying to [00:01:00] protect yourself. Because you don't want to make a fool of yourself. So if you can be realistic about where you are in the hierarchy in any space, then You have this idea that you will be able to keep safe in that space. You won't be too big for your boots.

And you'll know where you are in the pecking order. You'll know who you are allowed to talk to and who you're not allowed to talk to. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But this is absolute rubbish because there is no real hierarchy., this hierarchy is this social construct, and, it's sort of something we all hold in our heads and we're trying to find out where we are in the hierarchy.

But actually, in trying to find out where we are in the hierarchy, that is what triggers this imposter syndrome because we start second guessing ourselves. Am I really here? Or am I here? Am I higher than I thought I was or am I lower than I thought I was? You know that feeling when you walk into a space and you look at a [00:02:00] group of people and they're really confidently talking and you think, Well, I'm not sure I can go up to that group because I'm not good enough.

Or some group is talking really intellectually and you think, Well, I'm not intellectual enough to talk about, to talk with them. Or some group is looking really cool and you think, I'm not cool enough to Go with them, but you see people looking shy in the corner and think, well, I can talk to them. But then maybe you don't want to talk to them because then you wouldn't be, and it feels very school playground ish.

This whole idea of working out where you are on the ladder so that you don't make a fool of yourself. When I kind of worked out that there was No ladder, no hierarchy in terms of how good we are as human beings. It really freed me to be myself. It really freed me to realize that I could go up to anyone in appropriate circumstances, obviously.

And be able to talk to them [00:03:00] as an equal, as an equal human being. Now, I can't talk to, you know, a Nobel Prize winning economist, about economics in any way that, you know, on any great level that they might be able to talk about economics, but I can certainly go and talk to them and ask them about it and inquire of them about it and, and have my opinion about things because I am equal to them as a human being.

And it freed me up. Because I stopped trying to measure myself, how good I was, or bad I was, and it helped me do this thing where I separated what I did from who I was. Now that might not make complete sense when I say it like that, but this is something I've been working on with, the group who are going through my Fearless Performer Program at the moment.

And it's this idea that So many people talk about you are what you do and I disagree with that. I don't think we are what we do. We do what we do [00:04:00] and it forms part of our overall identity. But if I'm a teacher, and I tell you I'm a teacher, you know practically nothing more about me than I teach some people something.

You'd have to have more information to get more of an idea of what I did, but it tells you nothing, absolutely nothing, about who I am as a person. And when you start to detach of What you do from who you are then you stop judging who you are by your level of achievement I Realized when I started this journey towards the beginning of this journey as a life coach That I'd spent my whole life trying to prove that I was good enough, you know, just, just about good enough by collecting all these things to prove myself, you know, first class degree, job as a barrister, [00:05:00] all these different things, winning awards, whatever it was, but none of them actually made me feel good enough in myself.

They might have, and I don't even think they made me feel good enough as a barrister. They made me feel better for a time, but they didn't actually affect my inner self-confidence but when I started to detach them and let go of the idea of hierarchy and working out where I was in the pecking order, everything started to sort of dissipate and it actually allowed me to do what I do better.

I know that sounds really perverse, but it allowed me to do what I do better because I wasn't seeing what I did as a measure of how good I was as a person and that freed me up to fail. on occasions. On quite a few occasions, actually. But the more, the happier I was to fail, the more I tried. And the more I tried, the more successful I became.[00:06:00]

So by separating what I am from, who I am, from what I do, it allowed me to let go of using what I do as a measure of who I am. By letting go of that measure it allowed me to try and fail and not feel like failure was a damnation of who I was. Didn't say anything about my value as a human being and so I was happier to Try and fail, which meant I was happier to keep trying more often Because failure didn't have the same impact.

Now, how does imposter syndrome fit in with all of this? Because imposter syndrome, as I say, is all about trying to work out whether you are Good enough in the hierarchy to be where you are doing what you do and that's Associating who you are with what you do. Do you do what you do well enough? To, to be where you are and to be who you are [00:07:00] and when you let go of that it frees you up to try and fail, which means you try more often, which means you actually become more successful.

So, imposter syndrome is designed to keep you safe by keeping you in a place where you know where you are in the hierarchy, but because the hierarchy doesn't exist, that just creates anxiety. So if you let go of the hierarchy, you let go of the anxiety, which means you can try, and when failure happens, because the more you try, the more likely failure is to happen at some time, it doesn't feel existential.

I'm Hattie Voelcker from Find Your True Voice. I hope that has helped.