20 Feb Magic in the Room #44: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
All humans experience a lack of confidence and the fear that they don’t belong from time to time. When these feelings and conditions occur together and persist, they can take the form of what we call “impostor syndrome.” Many people – maybe as many as 70% of the population – struggle with it at some point. In this episode, Luke and Hannah discuss what it means to belong, and share tools for overcoming impostor syndrome.
What is imposter syndrome? According to the Webster dictionary, it’s a psychological condition characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success. It’s an internal belief that you are not good enough and somebody will find out that you don’t belong here.
Many will have experienced self-doubt or had a crisis of confidence at some point. Most people reading this will have experienced imposter syndrome on some level and thought, I don’t fit in. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I don’t know enough. And yet, here I am doing these things.
Hannah and Luke share their experiences. One of the tools we can use to combat the dreaded imposter syndrome is confidence. But it’s seldom enough to remove feelings that you don’t really fit in or feel a sense of belonging. Overconfidence also brings more problems to the table.
Luke also shares a few examples of the Dunning-Kruger effect on the spectrum’s opposite side. It’s a form of cognitive bias where individuals believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. We all need to be more confident on occasions, but when we genuinely don’t know anything about something, we need to seek feedback and avoid falling victim to the Dunning Kruger effect.
To feel more connected, we need to connect more. Only by creating more connections for more people can we unlock the greater impact we are searching for. But being too self-conscious will run the risk of contributing to insecurity. The trick is to focus less on the self and more on others’ needs. For example, if you perform a presentation to an audience, you need to focus on that audience and what they need from you. This shifts your focus away from yourself to an outward focus.
On the Magic in the Room Podcast, the hosts often talk about the importance of mindset. An outward mindset involves focussing on having an impact outside of yourself. If you can help create a meaningful connection and create a bridge for someone who might look like they’re not feeling comfortable with the group and doesn’t feel like they’re part of what’s going on and help them feel included, you will create more belonging for yourself too.
Hannah shares three tips to help listeners overcome imposter syndrome. Firstly, make the decision. Even if you don’t have all the facts, if you have 70% of the information, make the decision. The next tip is to keep doing the thing and keep showing up. Finally, monitor your inner dialogue and or internal monologue. Pay attention to the messages you’re sending yourself through your thoughts, words, and actions.
Remember to focus externally on how you can impact others rather than how you feel inside. These are just a handful of simple tools that can enable you to help meet other people’s needs and help them be successful and short circuit some of that imposter syndrome thinking.
Please share your experiences with imposter syndrome or tales of unwittingly falling into the Dunning Kruger effect by messaging Chris, Hannah, and Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org.