August 28, 2023

Episode 35:
Quieting the Whisper of Doubt:

Conquering Imposter Syndrome and Unleashing Your Inner Author

Learn how to embrace your dream of being an author by conquering Imposter Syndrome.

Episode 35: Quieting the Whisper of Doubt: Conquering Imposter Syndrome and Unleashing Your Inner Author

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Podcast


In this episode The Author Switch Podcast, I discuss imposter syndrome, a feeling of inadequacy despite achievements. Imposter syndrome is more common in women, with 70% of adults experiencing it at least once. High achievers (25-30%) are also prone. Symptoms include self-doubt, comparing oneself to others, fear, and stress. I also share 9 strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome.

Additional Resources

Recap & Takeaways

  • 02:58 What is Imposter Syndrome?
  • 04:04 Symptoms of Imposter Syndrome
  • 06:45 Tip #1
  • 07:37 Tip #2
  • 07:53 Tip #3
  • 08:23 Tip #4
  • 08:47 Tip #5
  • 09:19 Tip #6
  • 09:55 Tip #7
  • 10:23 Tip #8
  • 11:31 Tip #9

Transcript for Episode 35: Quieting the Whisper of Doubt: Conquering Imposter Syndrome and Unleashing Your Inner Author

Hello and welcome to The Author Switch Podcast, episode number 35. Now today we’re going to be talking about the whisper of doubt that gets into our head and makes us think that we don’t belong where we are. Now here’s just some little factoids about imposter syndrome:

=> Women are more likely to experience imposter syndrome than men.

=> And about 70% of adults may experience imposter syndrome at least once in their lifetime.

=> And 25 to 30% of high achievers may suffer from Imposter Syndrome.

That’s why I’m talking about this today, because what I’ve found in my experience hanging out with authors is that authors are a population of people who often feel like, who am I to write this book? So, I want to get to that. Right quick.

But before I go into today’s topic, which again is quieting the whisper of doubt, conquering imposter syndrome and unleashing your inner author, first I would like to just introduce myself just so that in case you are new to my world, you have an idea of who I am and why I’m talking about this.

I’ve been an author for 16 years and I’ve been in marketing and PR for 30 years. I even earned a master’s degree in journalism from what U. S. News & World Report named the number one graduate program in public relations. And to add on to that, I’m certified in author marketing.

Now you’d think with all that experience, I would be so confident that I can do what I do, which is basically Sherpa people through the author’s journey.

And now I do.

However, I’ve been able to do what I do now for at least 10 years. But I only started it about a year and a half to two years ago. Why? Because of that quiet whisper of doubt. Who am I to help people with their author’s journey? Well, I finally came to the conclusion, why not me? I went through enough programs and realized that they weren’t offering things that I wanted to have in them. So why not fill in the gaps for other authors that I was experiencing?

Well, this is very common. In authors and in the general population. Now, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who are American psychologists, said back in 1978 that imposter syndrome was “the phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite evidence of high achievement. And while these people are highly motivated to achieve, they also live in fear of being found out and exposed as frauds.”

Can you relate?

If you are a high achiever, if you are smart and know your stuff, very likely that at some point you will totally be able to relate to that. You’ll think who am I?

Well today, I’m going to help you do two things. One, I’m going to help you realize whether or not imposter syndrome is rearing its little ugly head on your shoulder and whispering into your ear. And I’m going to give you some actionable tips that you can take to knock that little bugger off your shoulder and into the dumpster.

Sound like a plan? Well, let’s go.

Now, there are a plethora of symptoms that can manifest when you have imposter syndrome. For example, the obvious one, self-doubt. You doubt that you’re able to do what it is that you are able to do.

You have a sense of incompetence, like, like you’re not good enough, or you don’t have enough skills yet.

You may frequently find yourself comparing yourself to others, like, oh, that person over there, they know this better than I do. And honestly, they may know some things better than you, but you know something better than they do. That’s almost always the case. You may have low self-esteem or a low sense of self-worth.

You may experience fear and anxiety, especially regarding an achievement related task.

You may feel immobilized in your ability to move forward and do stuff that you were born to do.

You may get stressed and burned out more easily.

You may underperform.

You may also find it hard to accept praise or compliments. And you may even argue why that praise isn’t deserved.

You may find yourself having an inability to enjoy your accomplishments. I don’t know about you, but that’s me. I’ve, I’ve had that many times. In fact, I’ve often said, “Oh that little thing, that was so easy.” Because when you know a skill really well, it is really easy to think, well, everybody can do it.

But they can’t.

Another symptom is going overboard on a specific task because you’re afraid of failing. You may feel that you need to be the very best and dismiss your own talents when you aren’t your very best. You may set nearly impossible goals for yourself and feel disappointed when you fail to realize them.

Boy, setting yourself up for failure, that sucks. It’s painful. And that is imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head.

And finally, you may feel guilty because of your success. I know that sounds counterintuitive. But when you are successful and you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, you think, I don’t deserve this success. And there’s a part of you that’s thinking, people are going to find out I wasn’t worthy of this success.

So that. This is an overview of the symptoms that you may experience when you have imposter syndrome. So how do you kick imposter syndrome to the curb and unleash your inner author? Here are some tips.

First, and this is going to sound counterintuitive:  Invite it in and learn what it has to teach you.

If you’re feeling like you aren’t good enough or that you are a fraud, that may be your subconscious trying to tell you something.

It may be telling you that you haven’t done one little thing that you need to do.

It may be telling you that you’re going in a slightly wrong direction and need to pivot a little bit.

Or it just might be telling you that you need to tell yourself that it’s okay. It may be your inner child saying, I need to feel loved and this thing that you’re doing that you feel like a fraud at triggers that need to feel loved. So, show yourself some self-love.

Tip number two.  Be honest when you don’t know how to do things. Remember, being wrong doesn’t make you a fake. You need to know more than the people you are teaching, yes. But that doesn’t mean you need to know everything.

Get mentorship, that’s tip number three.  Get help in two ways. You can get mentorship in dealing with your feelings of being imposter, but you can also get mentorship in doing the thing that you feel like an imposter at. Your mentor is going to help you be better in that. And they should be encouraging you and helping you realize that imposter syndrome is false.

Tip number four,  channel your energy into learning. If you’re feeling like you don’t know enough of a specific area, then learn more. Nothing’s going to stop you from continuing to do what you’re doing, but you can always get better. Life is a journey, a journey of learning and improving and getting closer and closer to mastery.

Tip number five,  avoid defensive pessimism and self-handicapping. This is something that often happens when you have imposter syndrome. You say, Oh, I’m not that good because you’re defending yourself against success and you may give yourself rules or goals that you can’t possibly meet or follow. In other words, you’re self-handicapping.

Don’t do that.

Tip number six,  accept that you have some role in your success. Yes, you are in charge of whether you do well. You’re also in charge if you don’t do so well. Some of the time, on both cases. Do the best you can and always try to improve. If you’re always doing the best you can and always trying to improve, imposter syndrome plays no role in that. Because imposter syndrome says you can’t do anything, but if you’re making an effort, you are doing something.

Tip number seven,  focus on providing value. No matter what level you’re at in whatever it is you do. You can provide value to the people who are meant to follow you, to the people you were meant to serve. So, if you focus on the value that you are providing those you serve, rather than on yourself, Imposter syndrome is less likely to get a hold.

Next tip,  keep a file of people saying nice things about you. I know this sounds kind of silly but do it. Whenever somebody sends you a nice note, gives you a testimonial, says, gee, you’re really cool, take a snapshot of it, put it in your I need a pick me up file. And then whenever you’re feeling like, I’m not good enough, go to your I need a pick me up file and read all the wonderful things that people are saying about you. Because it is highly unlikely that you, if you’ve had any success in your business, that not, that at least one person has said something wonderful about you.

So, keep that on file. And if you don’t, if you’re new to your business and don’t have any testimonials yet go back further. I bet you have a report card somewhere in your elementary school, or your high school, or your junior high, or middle school, or whatever school you went to, that says you got an A, or at least a B. B’s are pretty good, too. Collect those things so that you can… look at them and bolster yourself up when you’re feeling down.

And my last tip is  realize that when you hold back, you’re robbing the world. I’m going to repeat that one. Realize that when you’re holding back, you are robbing the world. Now I mentioned this in an earlier episode of this podcast that There may be more than one person doing the same kind of work that you do, but only you were meant to serve the people that you were meant to serve.

If person A can only really learn whatever it is that you teach from you and you don’t teach it, person A doesn’t get to learn because they can’t learn well from someone else. That’s why so many people will go through one mentor after another. They’re searching for the right one and you just may be that right one.

So do what you can to make yourself feel good about yourself. Bolster up your courage. If you have to, then pretend that you’re confident until you are. There are people out there who need you, who need your books, who need your products, who need your services. Don’t let imposter syndrome rob not only them of your services, but you of your self-esteem.

This is Carma Spence of The Author Switch, and this is the end of episode number 35, and I will see you in the next episode. Ciao for now.

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The Author Switch is a podcast dedicated to helping experts, entrepreneurs, and small business owners turn on The Author Switch — and keep it on — so that they can leverage the power of books to take their businesses to a whole new dimension. Learn more about the show and where it is available on its page.