65. Kicking Imposter Syndrome to the Curb – Kim Meninger Interview

Most of us go through times in our lives when we experience inner doubt and lose confidence, second-guess our success, or deal with unhelpful thoughts that sometimes sound something like:

“I’m not as smart as people think I am (or I used to be) and pretty soon they’re going to figure that out and cast me out.”

“I better perform at 150% all the time … perfectly … with no mistakes … no matter the cost … or I won’t be enough.”

“I don’t deserve my success, it must have been luck.”

“Everyone else is a better parent, a better leader, a better spouse, more effective, more … fill-in-the-blank … and I am an outsider. ”

Have you ever had any of these thoughts that really go beyond typical competitiveness or a desire to do well, putting you in an unhealthy mental space of anxiety or self-doubt? Have you ever succumbed to them by sidelining yourself from an opportunity you earned?

If you have .. if any of this sounds familiar … it’s because it is very common … according to Psychology Today, around 20-30 percent of high achievers may struggle with something called “Imposter Syndrome” .. and roughly 70 percent of all adults will experience the feeling at least once in their lifetime. 

The feeling of not deserving the success attributed to them is more prevalent among women, research shows, particularly women of color. 

The Belle Curve hosts discuss this fascinating topic with a special guest and fellow podcaster: Kim Meninger, host of “The Imposter Files.”

Kim is an ICF Associate Certified coach and CCE board certified coach with certifications in career, executive, and leadership development coaching. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an MBA from Boston College and is passionate about drawing upon her decade of corporate experience in high tech to help women become more visible and impactful leaders. 

Key Points:

  1. Imposter Syndrome is an epidemic, to Kim’s view – so many people deal with it and it feels heavy to carry it around and not talk about it. 
  2. The feeling shows most often for risktakers who step outside of their comfort zones. 
  3. It shows up a lot in people who have taken a non-traditional path to get where they are.
  4. If your environment is not set up for you to do your best work and be authentic to you, it is important to be aware of that. 

Highlights:

  • How Kim first heard about Imposter Syndrome and how it affected her going forward
  • Kim’s experience in high tech – feeling like she was surrounded by much more technical people and dealing with anxiety.
  • Mary Scott shares her experience with the feeling from when she was an Air Force JAG.
  • How Liz faced it when she got her certification to be a Spin instructor.
  • Rachel’s experience one day filling in as a referee, and as a professional in a field where information compounds daily.
  • Helping your direct reports feel welcomed is a good way to help them feel they belong. 
  • The stereotypical workplace is biased toward men and extroverts and ideas for how to make a more supportive environment for others.
  • It’s our natural desire to want to conform – so we tend to pull back when we don’t feel credible in a particular environment. 
  • There are physical and emotional symptoms that affect people dealing with imposter syndrome and can present as anxiety, stress, perfectionism, and over-thinking and over-exerting to compensate out of fear of not measuring up.
  • We should reframe our thoughts to think of our strengths – as in, how can what I bring as an introvert add value? – rather than comparing ourselves to others and feeling out of place.
  • It helps to move into a mental space of problem-solving and curiosity to take simple, actionable steps instead of swirling around in anxiety.

Resources Mentioned:

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