Everyone has had those moments where you have that feeling that everyone else has it all together, and you’re the only one who is completely paralyzed. Hopefully, you know that’s not true, and today, Kevin speaks with Kimberley Davis and Dr. Melissa Hughes, two women who deal with – and work beyond, the impostor syndrome.
Listen to the full episode
The Irony of Impostor Syndrome
More often than not, it is the people who are the most accomplished who suffer from impostor syndrome the most. Melissa talks about how high achievers aren’t always good at reaching out and asking for help. Kimberley agrees and talks about the steps that she’s taking to combat that hesitance to get involved in projects with others and collaborate professionally. That instinct to do it alone is a self-preservation instinct – but one that often backfires.
The Inner Critic
Melissa and Kimberley discuss what the impostor syndrome means to them: sometimes it’s when your inner critic takes over your confidence, sometimes it’s about other people’s expectations – or what you think they are. Kimberley makes a powerful statement about giving yourself the right to do what you do, and take up the space you need. Melissa adds that it’s important to share what you’ve done and what you’ve learned without being afraid you’re speaking out of turn, or that you’re not ‘expert’ enough. When you chart your own path, you’ll often be faced with the impostor syndrome.
The Importance of Trust
Trust is a huge and critical part of the human experience. Melissa points out how important having trust for others is when it comes to achieving your goals. Kevin adds that the listeners to this episode are also being entrusted with this kind of vulnerability. Our early experiences can have a huge impact on our ability to trust, our bravery, and our confidence. They often supply the sound and tone of those inner voices that tell us we’re not good enough. Kimberley shares some challenges and experiences she has encountered when talking about her background, and what they have taught her about standing up for herself.
We’re Wired to Connect
Creating a Humans First culture makes a huge difference because it increases the sense of belonging we need to take risks and achieve great things. This matters at the organizational level, but on the personal level, we can’t afford to wait until we’re in a fantastic culture – we need to take individual action to feel confident in ourselves. Melissa, Kimberley and Kevin discuss different strategies you can use to defeat your impostor syndrome.
Authenticity and Seeking Truth
It’s important to be aware of the impact you have on others and the world – how you show up and how you treat people matters. All too often, someone who is ‘just being honest’ may be telling the truth, but they’re often not being kind or helpful or supportive. None of us can control how other people will respond or react to us, and not having that control leads to impostor syndrome. Melissa points out that we often wouldn’t speak to others the way we speak to ourselves – and why not? Kimberley talks about faith, and the impact it can have on impostor syndrome.
The Jam Session ends with some final thoughts and reflections on impostor syndrome, connecting with others, and being mindful of the impact that we have on the world. One of the biggest fears leaders have is being exposed as an impostor – these feelings plague everyone on the path of achievement – and there is something validating about knowing you aren’t alone.