In Good Company
Make Imposter Syndrome work FOR you
Hi everyone and welcome to a new episode of The Mompreneur’s Guide to Work-Life Harmony. I'm Hadley Stone
And I'm Scarlet Red
And it seems like we changed co-hosts today, didn't we?
We absolutely did.
Well, there's a reason for it, so keep listening so you find out why.
So, does it seem, sometimes, like everyone has it together, and you're the only one Scotch-taping your way through life, or using double-sided tape for that matter? Welcome to the club. In today's episode we explore the phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome and why do we feel like phonies both at home and at work sometimes. Why do we have that nagging feeling that at any point, we're going to be found out as a fraud? For us moms, it tends to feel like we don't have our shiz together and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. So, Scarlett, do you sometimes feel like a phony too?
Oh my god, most of my time. Am I allowed to say that? Whether it's being a mom, or running my own business, there's so many times actually like, I think to myself, do I actually know what I'm doing here? Am I doing the right thing? There's so many questions! But of course, when anyone asks me from outside and like they all think I totally know what I'm up to. So it's quite interesting.
So you're part of the club?
Oh yeah, full on! VIP member
VIP member, oh my God yes I also have like, I think Platinum status in that, and you know, just to ease, some notions about Imposter Syndrome. We definitely can say that it is not a mental disorder. So just putting it out there. It is mostly a phenomenon that people experience when they feel like they know what they're doing right? So it's very uncomfortable. It feels like you are winging it in a way. But the good thing is that studies show that everybody's in good company because, about 70% of people actually feel this way,
Is it? Seventy percent? Wow, that is a high number
Yes so that means that seven of your ten best friends are also probably using glue guns to keep their life afloat so it’s not something to fret about
Honestly it's actually true, sometimes you know, when you have your some of your besties around and you're talking to them about something and you actually confide in them, “You know what? I made this decision, no idea whether I did the right thing, or whether that was the right call” and you kind of let your guard down in front of them, and they say back to you “I know! I feel the same. I just did the exact same thing” and I'm like, “Phew” I am not alone in this world. So that's why I love just talking to people and sometimes being quite open, of course you need to choose the right people to do that around, but it's quite amazing, actually,you know, that's what we shouldn't judge we shouldn't judge things that are going on social media or people like looking at them from afar be like “Wow look at them, they have it all together, they know what they're doing” but do they, really? Do they?
Yes and the thing is that we're in good company, you know, the likes of Michelle Obama, Beyonce, JLo, Maya Angelou, all of them for the most part have failed or are still feeling like Imposter Syndrome themselves in a way. So, this is not something that only happens to us, mere mortals, but we can also see from top celebrities and top performers in the world, that they also get to experience this at certain points in their lives too.
So, why do you think a lot of people feel like phonies?
That's a very good question. I think that there's this fact that we are social animals for that matter, like we're, we have been designed that way, and there are norms and rules in society that we must follow if we want to feel accepted. So, this social acceptance factor is, is not necessarily linked to self- esteem, but it was a survival mechanism, dating back to our ancestors. So, even though, nowadays we don't really have this need for survival, like back in the days where it was a matter of life and death, quite literally, still there are norms and rules in society that we feel that if we don't conform to then we're going to be excluded from the group, from the nuclear family, from the community that we belong to, in a way.
I know it's such a strong need for us to be accepted, isn’t it? And like to follow up. We often follow a path that we don't necessarily believe in within our heart but because everyone else is doing it, you're like “Okay, I'm going to do that too because I want to feel accepted, I want to feel like I'm in their club as well. There's so many things, especially when it comes to motherhood, as well, all the choices that you need to make is like: are you having a natural birth? Are you having a C-section? Are you going to breastfeed? Are you not? Are you breastfeeding in public or is that a taboo? You know, it's like, there's so many like little factors. It's crazy what society does to us, they're definitely a big part to blame aren't they?
Yes, and it's not only crazy that society does this, it's also crazy that we actually try to live up to these expectations as well. And then we suffer in silence, putting on a brave face that all is well and all is okay, but on the inside, we're feeling lonely and incompetent. Because behind closed doors, everything is crumbling around us and we don't feel that we can actually cope with those norms and expectations.
Exactly. So, for Imposter Syndrome, like full disclosure here: when I first heard also of that word, I didn't really understand it, to be honest. Like, it's been a word or a title that's been going around for quite a while now, and a lot of people are talking about it and everything and I don't really understand it. Is it, but you can really explain it in a way of pretending to know what you're doing isn't it? Just a way to pretend your way through either your work or your motherhood journey and just finding a way and putting on a certain mask.
Yes, Absolutely. I mean, I feel that in certain situations of motherhood you do question yourself with “What am I doing?” or trying to second-guess the decisions that you made and wonder, if you're the only one that is also feeling that way. Because sometimes, especially in motherhood, we're in the moment- we're caught in the middle of making really fast and quick decisions on the go. And we really cannot consult an expert or get a second opinion or, really, do some research, or get on Google, or ask a good friend or somebody that we trust and that can be a good mentor. So we need to make quick decisions on the go, and then we second-guess those decisions. And then we also wonder if the decision that we made was the right one, is it going to have a negative impact in our children? Or how is it going to affect them? Or if it even was the right decision, and so we feel that we are constantly winging motherhood.
Yeah. Do you know what I found was like a really big challenge for me is that when I was working before when I was still in the corporate world, and I come from the hotel industry, is that I was always surrounded by a team, right, a team of experts around me that I strategically hired.
So like, funny story as well when I had to got my first director role to be like in charge of a huge chunk of the hotel, like several departments, I was like okay I was an expert in my field which was sort of like the front office department and all that comes with it. But then all of a sudden I had like new departments that I was heading up that I honestly did not have so much knowledge about. But you're like “Oh my God, I'm coming in as sort of their boss and I need to pretend that I know what I'm doing and I know what I'm talking about.” And I remember sitting in meetings and leading the meetings and asking really good questions and in my mind is like “Oh my God, I have no clue”, you know, So I strategically also made sure I hired really good leaders in those positions that know their department inside out, because I knew I didn't, and I felt very much like an imposter and those moments where I then I also had to present things to my boss about that performance of that department, and it took me a while to understand the ins and outs and I couldn't have done it without these leaders in place- those experts in their fields.
Now, when I turn that around to becoming a mom, it's like in the hotel I had an orientation process, I had a huge manual on the brand, on the property and everything, but when I came home from the hospital with this baby in my arms, I had nothing- I had nothing to go on. I'm like, “Okay,
Well you also didn't have a manual or a manual update
Oh no, they forgot me on the mailing list to be honest, but I didn’t. And so now comes the bathing part for example, and I wish I could hire an expert strategically that is in charge of bathing or on the feeding part it's like, but now you have no one. You're literally there by yourself as parents, taking care of this child whose responsibility is, it's all your responsibility right and you feel, oh my God what am I going to do now? I think the key there for me was then to understand I need to surround myself with a really strong group of other moms or other parents out there, recruit by small group of besties that I have on speed dial, so that we can tackle this motherhood game together.
I love that. And I do think that there is that aspect of even if you have gone through motherhood, a first time around, you don't necessarily have the same factors or the same environment, the second time around because new family dynamics are happening. And then you have to, in a way, start from scratch, because now there's other things to consider that you didn't had to think of or that you didn't have to factor in the first time around as a mom. So, even if you can call yourself a veteran, you're always on some sort of learning curve.
And I definitely want to say that if you factor in being also in a new country if you're an expat, for example, or you're also starting a new business in a new country, those are multiple layers of new situations and new learning curves that you have to go through in a way, quite literally, winging it and making decisions on the spot because you don't have, as you said in your example, in your corporate career, that privilege of having a panel of experts that can guide you and give you feedback and information that you need as you're going through the motions. So, definitely, you are not alone, if this is your case. I think that is a very challenging time, it's also very fun and exciting time. But, but there is that nagging feeling at the back of our heads and as you just wonderfully said it, having people on speed dial that you can rely on and that he can ask to, to give you that encouragement that you're actually doing a great job or that you're not a fraud is of great help.
Yes and now the emphasis on this tribe, on this international tribe, like you and me right now, we're also in two different countries, but you're one of my biggest supporters out there right in terms of business and motherhood and, but you're not even in the same country but it doesn't matter because we have each other just like literally a message and a phone call away. And because being an expat, let's face it, working really hard, navigating a new country, a new language, a new culture, with our kids, while growing a business, slowly creating this support network around us to survive and thrive. And then boom, husband comes home “Oh we’re moving to a different country”. Okay, let's pack up and try to do that all over again. It's like a never-ending adventure, oh my God it's an awesome adventure! I wouldn't trade it in for the world, but it comes, definitely comes with challenges that are different than if you were based in just one spot. So that tribe. I think is completely invaluable and it doesn't have to be a big tribe, just a few trusted people that help you navigate these right these phases in your life is just, I don't know what I would do without you and without our group that we have created, it's incredible.
Yeah, support systems, are the best. So please, whip out your phone, add in the couple of names of those trusted allies, and tell them, say “Hey I'm starting this chat group, and I want you to be in it because whenever I am feeling like a phony, whenever I’m feeling like I'm a fraud, I need to send a 911 text, and be reminded that I am doing a great __(fill in the blank) in the moment.
And you gain two very powerful things from doing this. First of all, by verbalizing it, you take away the power. Because what happens is that this Imposter Syndrome happens in your head, and inside your head it becomes bigger, it becomes real. It feels like it is the truth. And when you're actually putting it out there, and you have someone as a sounding board, they can easily echo what you're saying, and maybe you hear it back and you say, “Oh my God, yes that is a very silly thing to say” or “That's a very silly idea to be having at the moment.” So, that's one thing.
And the second one, is that when you have your tribe, and your group of besties that are there to uplift each other up, you are able to better navigate those challenging times. And just knowing that someone else might be going through something similar because they might also share their own experiences of what it has been for them, it brings you back into keeping things within context. And context is key. Context is something that we all need to understand that it affects how we view things, because if somebody asked me: “Oh, do you think that having four followers is enough?”, I would say, “Well, it depends on the context. If you mean four followers on Instagram, I would say that's a bit on the low side, but if you have four followers in a dark alley in the middle of the night and you're walking by yourself, I would say four is too many followers.” So you see, context, really is the key here.
Yeah, it's so true and I also love what you just said about taking away the power of that syndrome is honestly, before we started this recording, this podcast recording just now, I actually just needed to vent to you about something I'm going through right now about this upcoming event that we have and just feeling a little bit overwhelmed and just as soon as I said it though and talked to you about it, we had those few minutes, I honestly I feel so much better, I feel so much better and I know that after that I can go back with a renewed energy and for that I'm always grateful for and that honestly, I couldn't do it alone. I couldn't and I don't want to.
It's not fun alone.
No, no. And speaking of fun. Let's talk about masks
Within the current times we really need to be very clear about what masks we need to put on.
Not those not those masks, we were talking about fun masks.
Okay so tell me more.
So, taking on a new persona is something I think that I found super helpful, especially in times when I feel a little bit lost, or a little bit like literally not knowing what I'm doing while raising my little one and trying to do a million other things on the side. So, I sometimes tried to put on just a mask for myself and alter ego, and alter identity, an alter diva let's put it that way. After all, if we think about Beyonce has Sasha Fierce. Stefani Germanotta, she becomes Lady Gaga, right. And Jennifer Lopez turns into JLo, and I'm sure there are so many more as well. They all have their, their stage names, their face in front of an audience or, but like for me, I do that a lot in business as well. Well on some parts, well not so much at the moment, because I'm currently really into a passion business where it's completely me, myself, my authentic self. I don't feel like I have to do that so much anymore, but definitely I still do that as a mom sometimes. You know, the good cop/bad cop mask, or the, you know, kind of like, you come to this point of disciplining your child and you're like, “Oh man, I don't know which route I take and disciplining. Do I tell him this, or that?” It's that going to shape how he's going to behave in like five years from now, I have to make a quick call so you put on this alter diva mask, and you just go with it, and you go with it.
Yes, to go with it because, here's the thing. For those listening, this is, this is not about us being all cutesy about, “Oh, put on an alter diva, and let's have fun.” This is not about playing pretend, or being inauthentic. This is really about finding that essence within you that you can use to tackle the mental limitations that we're having about ourselves, which are usually made up.
So, this alter diva or this Alter Ego is the one that helps us improve that aspect of our lives that we're finding challenging to handle. And that is making us feel like a phony at the end of the day. So, one, one good thing that you can do with this persona that you're taking on in a way, is to ask yourself, you know “What is the biggest area of frustration for me right now?”, “What do I must want to become, to help me successfully handle this?” And then you get specific about how you want to be showing up, and this alter diva comes into the scene to help you bridge that gap.
So, that is what we are referring to when we say, you know, that you're Scarlet Red, and I'm Hadley Stone, because what we mean to say is that sometimes with the original or birth giving names that we have, we mentally have these limitations that we think are not allowing us to fully succeed in what we're trying to accomplish. But then this part of us that is not us but sort of us, can come into the rescue. And finally, Imposter Syndrome can be your greatest strength, at the end of the day, because it means that you are conscious of your ability, and that you are aware that you can improve. So that's, so that's something that you can play as a strength rather than a weakness. And if you want to find the full guidelines on how to effectively tackle Imposter Syndrome, you can check it out on the The Momergy Movement blog post- the link is in the show notes, and then you will understand why I'm Hadley,
And why I am Scarlet today,
See you next time, keep that Momergy up.
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Imposter Syndrome Post on The Momergy Movement Blogsite: Click here for the full guidelines on how to effectively tackle Imposter Syndrome