It's Saturday, which is podcast recording day for me.
And today, I felt inspired to do a spicier episode.
I'm calling things out for society gaslighting you into believing that imposter syndrome it's all your fault.
It most certainly is not.
Have a listen as I dig into five reasons you have imposter syndrome that aren't your fault.
PS In the episode I talk about the Confidence Catalyst Challenge starts. It's all about diving deeper into becoming a confident, authentic leader and create a meaningful personal development plan for 2024.
Enroll before January 8th, and at the event you'll get a bonus resource: The Feel-good Networking Cheat Sheet (even if you're shy, introverted or just plain don't like small talk). Learn more here.
well, Hey there, I'm Liz St. Jean, and this is the Rise in your Nine to Five podcast. Where I help quietly ambitious leaders who want to have meaningful and fulfilling careers, making an impact in the world. It's where strategy meets intuition to become a better leader with more joy, less stress and endless impact.
So let's break free from perfectionism, imposter thoughts. And that inner rule keeper that keeps you in a career comfort zone. It's time to become unapologetically you. And step into the life you were meant to live. We're going to talk presence, productivity, and having it all. Or as my four-year-old would say, we're going to take over the world. So let's get to it.
Welcome to this week's episode. And this week I wanted to touch on some reasons you have imposter syndrome that aren't your fault. And the reason I'm doing this is because I've really noticed over the years. That's something that I'm calling societal gaslighting when it comes to imposter syndrome. And it's this concept that imposter syndrome means there's something wrong with you and that you there's something inherently flawed within you.
And it's caused by lack of self confidence, lack of self efficacy, et cetera. And it makes it feel like, wow, I guess this is just something wrong with me when I'm about to tell you these five reasons. And I'm sure there's more than five, but today we're looking at five. Five reasons that it's not your fault.
There are external factors that create these feelings. And you notice that quite often. I will use phrasing like imposter syndrome feelings because you know, there is a kind of a core imposter syndrome. That has to do with where, despite all your successes, you're worried, you're about to become your boat to be found out as a fraud. And sometimes for some people you can feel that all the time. But for most people who I work with, it's more like imposter syndrome feelings. We have moments of feelings and sometimes they last longer than others, but we don't necessarily identify with always having imposter syndrome.
But returning to this idea, this, this concept of societal gaslighting. I really believe that it has been baked into our system, that when you're having self doubt or concerns about failure or concerns with being a fraud, having those fraudy feelings, as some people like to call them, I do believe that there's a lot of messaging out there that really puts all the ownership back on you. And I'll give you actually an example, like it's so baked into. Uh, into society that I went to when I went to chat GBT, it very nicely confirmed it for me, not in the way that it expected, perhaps. As though chatty PD can expect something. What I did is I give it. Can you chat GPT a prompt and said an asset.
What are 10 reasons? Someone may experience imposter syndrome and I won't go through all of them, but what it gave almost all of them had to do with it. Yeah, something inside of you as though it just spontaneously happened. It talked about perfectionism, fear of failure, new challenges, comparing yourself to others.
Um, being dependent on external validation, lack of self-efficacy Attributing your past successes to luck. That's a big one that can come up, but all of these are very kind of internal as though, like, it's just like a grew inside you. I don't think I gave my son for Christmas. He got the set of crystals where you grow crystals at home.
And how it works is you take this hot water and you measure out all the crystals and you pour the crystals into it. And then you sit and wait and you watch it develop. And it's actually pretty cool. Like these crystals are really growing, which okay. As another aside, it's I feel like it's really cool because I remember as a child. I had something like this.
I was trying to do an experiment with crystals. I was trying to grow them and it didn't all work out at all. So this is like, oh, this is kind of cool. This is like my childhood experiment coming back to life, which is, which is pretty fun. Anyhow, I'm watching these crystals grow and now I'm thinking. Okay.
This idea that imposter syndrome just grew inside you. It's almost like this crystal thing as though. All you're doing is seeing the crystals just spontaneously growing. But that's not the case. Okay. These crystals and imposter syndrome feelings, first of all, you need the right environment. In this case for the crystals, it was this hot water and they were very specific about the water you had to boil water, and then you wait until it got to 40 degrees.
And for sorry, 40 degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit. I'm Canadian high. Uh, Canadian here. So you waited till I got to 40 degrees in the right temperature. And then you had to measure out the right combination of colors to get the color you wanted. And you poured it in and there was this whole solution.
You had to stir the solution to the right amount. Anyways, there's this whole process that went into it. Then you set it down and then you just watch them grow. And I feel like imposter syndrome in society is like that, like most messaging around imposter syndrome and how to get your confidence and all that kind of just talks about the growing crystals. And the reason I'm bringing this up.
And I reason I want to shine light on this is because. We don't get the messaging that it's your fault. You don't get explicit messaging, nothing pops up on your Facebook feed saying, Hey, are you responsible for your own imposter syndrome? Right? Like you're not going to see that explicit messaging. But the implicit messaging is that it's your fault. Hey, I that's what I believe.
I believe the implicit messaging around a lot of imposter syndrome work that's out there is implicitly it's implying. That it grew that those crystals grew inside you and we're getting ignore the environment. We're going to ignore the solution. We're going to ignore that it went to the 40 degrees. We're going to ignore that there was this combination of crystals colors that gave the color to it. Right. That fear of failure, perfectionism, um, comparison to others, Right. Those, those are the crystals at Cru. Hey, that's the imposter syndrome. Like that's how it's showing up. That is really triggering those feelings now. But it came from somewhere. Okay y'all it came from somewhere. And so I wanted to do this episode. Not for you to get stuck in it or take on the victim role or the victim mentality.
I don't want you to do that. That's not, that's not going to be helpful for anyone but I do want to share with you like that. It is not your fault. Okay. It's not your fault. There's a lot of conditions out there. Those ripe conditions for creating those crystals. You know, these imposter syndrome, crystals, like they feel sharp, right? They. It's hard. If you have those imposter Mullens coming up, those feelings, those thoughts that come up, they're sharp. But you know what these crystals, I promise you, you can break them. Okay. I promise you that. But let's first to get into that place of being able to break them. Let's really think about.
Okay. What, what were those conditions in the first place? Because that gives you power gives you power to see those conditions. And that by recognizing those conditions, seeing them and realizing that that's what caused those imposter crystals to grow.
You're going to be able to prevent those crystals from growing, right. You've just purely recognizing them is one of the surest ways to prevent them from growing again. Now I do want to do a little side note. If you are interested. At the time of this recording.
So I'm recording on January 6th. We are just about to go into a challenge that I'm running called. The confidence, catalyst challenge. And I've talked about this and if you're on my email list, you've heard about it. I would love to see you there. It's $20. And what we're doing is we are looking at 2024 how am I going to ditch the self-doubt? How am I going to transform my confidence in 2024? I'm going to be running you through a very laser focused week, right? We are not looking at spending lots and lots of time on this it's laser focus and helping you come up with your personal development plan. And I also promise you that you will feel more confident by the end of the week. And you're also going to have this plan, this personal development plan, your. Your career, your professional aspirations, like how are you going to grow that? What will you do in 2024? It's going to be motivating you. It's going to inspire you. And you're going to get that time to reflect are going to carve out that time to reflect, because I know. If you're anything like me, it's so hard to carve out that time.
Right? All the other commitments, all the other fires. And we need to put out all of that ends up taking over and we don't create that space. So my invitation to you is to come join me. You can find out firstname.lastname@example.org slash challenge. That's the mint ambition. Dot com slash challenge. Come on over, come join us.
Oh, I love to have you there. Okay. So let's talk about these five reasons you might be having imposter syndrome and the reasons that they're not your fault. Let's look at the environment. What creates it? Okay. One of the very first things. And I go into this in detail in episode 67, I go into more detail. But it has to do with imposter messages. So I really believe that. Shifting our view from imposter syndrome to imposter messaging is very empowering. When we open our eyes to see how many imposter messages. We get from childhood in society, in the workplace. That really helps really reorient and recognize, oh, this is that this is the water.
That's 40 degrees that allows the crystals to grow. Right. So imposter messages from. It goes off and fright from childhood all the way up to yesterday. Last, your last meeting with your boss, perhaps. So in childhood, some of the imposter messaging we get has to do with you, what is a leader or what is leadership?
You know, you're told either, either very directly through your family messaging, more often it's through either school messaging or, and here's a big one, the TV shows and the movies you watch through your childhood and just what you observed. About who were leaders? I hear this over and over from my clients. Right? This is an important reflection question that I ha I ask everyone to do. Who goes through my bootcamp. Is to really reflect on What were they told about leaders and leadership? As a child. And what did they tell themselves?. And the big one that I hear is that Leaders are charismatic. Leaders are larger than life leaders command the room. Right. You hear that quite often, right? How do you command the room? Well, little aside here. Some of those same people will also say, well, everyone's a leader. Well, how could everyone be a leader if everyone's commanding their room?
Right. So there's this false notion that is kind of. Is, um, planted in childhood around what is a leader? What do they look like? Who do they look like? Okay. And that carries with you and that impact because in the back of your mind, you're not even conscious of it. But is that you're constantly competing with this notion of, well, I'm not like that.
So I'm not really a leader. And it says drag on your mental energy that you're not even aware of. But now that you're aware of it, that really helps you, it helps kind of burst it, burst that notion. Hey. But, and then in the workplace, you get this again, you get this as well. So in the workplace, there's often both implicit messaging and exquisite messaging.
And again, go into a lot more detail in episode 67. So definitely recommend you check that out. But really in brief, the implicit messaging is that no, one's actively telling you that you do not belong. But when you look around you, maybe you look up at your senior leadership, maybe even look three or four levels down your leadership team. And there is no one in that chain of command in that hierarchy, in that senior leadership position. Looks like you, who sounds like you, who thinks like you, or has the same upbringing as you. Hey. It's comes back to some unconscious bias and unconscious power that I'm going to talk about in a moment.
But essentially this is why representation matters. And we know this right. We know that representation matters. This is why, because without representation without when you can't see yourself, You're not when you're looking at that and you don't see yourself there, it's very hard to imagine yourself being there. Okay. So that's implicit. There is still explicit messaging.
Now we've evolved quote, so to speak since where the exquisite messaging was remarkably bad about who belongs in leadership. But that explicit messaging is still there. That explicit imposter messages and the most. Common one that I hear of has to do with parenthood. And especially for, for females, for people who are, who identify as mothers in the workplace. Hey. And what happens is you'll hear things like. Well, you have a young child now is not really the right time for you to get a promotion. Right.
You still hear that? You're hearing it less a bit less now, because there are actual laws that say that you can't say that to someone, but you will still hear that. And often it's even said with someone who they think they're helping you, they think they're doing you a favor, right? It's very patriarchal view of who should become a leader. And there's other versions of explicit messaging about why you don't belong in a leadership. In a leadership role. But those are just some examples.
So imposter messages that are out there, of course, you're not going to feel like you belong when you're getting imposter messages. Hey. It's not your fault. A. Now, like I said, we don't want to sit in that victim energy of course, but let's also recognize that it's not our fault. Okay.
Now the second reason imposter syndrome in the workplace is not your fault. Has to do with your managers . Most managers. Very significant percentage of managers. Have never been taught how to give feedback.
Well, Most training about if they even get training. First of all, they probably don't even get training. A lot of them. Most of the training out there. They've kind of cut and dry, quick training. Um, here's how to do a performance evaluation. Is is kind of, is founded on a, on a patriarchal system. The idea that leader knows best.
They tell you what to do. And it's almost always coming from a place of what you need to fix. And on top of it, it's not very specific. Hey. In that system, where first of all, you probably don't get a lot of feedback. It comes kind of out of the blue and it's usually feels negative, right? It's very corrective.
Here's what you did wrong. Here's how to fix it. I know better than you do. Do it this way. Well, especially when it's do this, that, this way as well. Like at least if someone's telling you, I want you to achieve something is at least better than do it a certain way. But a lot of managers are even stuck in here's how to do it, because this is how I did it.
So you're doing it wrong. In that kind of environment. Of course. You're going to feel doubt about your success. Of course you feel doubt about your successes in that environment. Okay. So if you're interested to learn more about like good feedback, Uh, I really encourage you to go back and listen to episode 65. I interviewed Petra Vega about what she calls feel good feedback. It's a spicy episode. So listen to it. When you don't have little ears, if you have kids or kids are around. Don't listen to it with the kids around. I will say we got spicy. But it's an excellent. Excellent episode.
What I want you to do is to recognize that. And don't get angry about it. Don't feel like a victim about it. Don't even tolerate it, but what you could do is recognize and feel compassion. For that manager. He doesn't know how to give you. Give you good feedback. Okay. You can feel compassion towards them. And you know what?
You can start practicing giving yourself feedback. So go listen to that episode, I talked to Petra, check out her stuff about how to give good feedback and give yourself that feel good feedback. And just recognize that in the system, if you're getting bad feedback. So I don't mean bad as in like corrective, all of that part.
That's part of it. But like if the feedback you're getting is, is not well done. That is going to bring up the imposters imposter syndrome feelings. So I want you to be able to not have that affect you, right. We want to take back control of this environment so that those imposter syndrome crystals aren't growing. So taking back control means don't let it affect you.
Not letting it affect you. Feel compassion for that manager. They've never had this explained to them or shown to them in a good way. It can feel compassion for them. Hey, Phil love for them. And then give yourself the feedback.
Okay. That's number two, number three has to, to with. Narcissism. And I actually, I just but an hour ago or so. Got off a recording of an interview that I'm going to publish most likely next week. It could be the week after. Keep your eyes peeled for this one. Oh, my goodness. You have to listen to this. I did an interview with Who specializes in.
Parents who, who co-parent with a narcissist. If you want to check that out, go to her website is coaching with Ms. Sancha. anka.com. I had her on the, on the show to talk about how does narcissism show up in the workplace? Hey, so I'm not going to go into detail right now, but go listen to that episode.
So that should be episode, I believe, episode 73 or 74. Listen to that, even if you don't think you're working for a direct narcissist or with direct narcissist, we talk about kind of the, the workplace as being narcissistic. I want you to go, absolutely. Go listen to this. So here's the thing with narcissism, whether it's your. Uh, a boss or a coworker, or as we talk about like the workplace. What happens is it first you get love.
Bombed is what she calls it. You get love bombed with all kinds of you get showered with promises and you feel really good about yourself. They build you up. But then soon enough, they start chipping away at you. Okay. They'll chip away at you. And it really leaves you in this place of self-doubt. They're very good at chipping away at your confidence and nitpicking on things and making you question yourself, especially because you were so loved bombed in the beginning. And in the episode we go into how a lot of corporate structures. Encourage narcissistic traits in the workplace.
So even if your boss is in a narcissist, even if your coworker's not actually a narcissist, there's a lot about incentive structures and how we do things like promotions that encourage narcissistic behavior. So keep an eye out for that episode, I go into more detail, but that's another reason that it is not your fault that you're having those moments of self doubt and why you might find yourself swinging between. Looking at your resume feeling really good about your complements.
And then the next moment just feeling like I can't even do my job. I should just go become a Starbucks barista. So that's reason number three, we've got the narcissistic box and the narcissistic workplace.
Then reason number four has to do with unconscious bias. And, you know, you've probably heard about this before. We're, we're fairly aware of unconscious bias and how it impacts. Dynamics in the workplace. And how it shows up here is that you're, you're doing great work. But you realize that you don't get as acknowledged as someone else and you realize a colleague. It's typically.
So here's a typical, not always, but typically it'll be a white male colleague, often charismatic, attractive, quite tall, kind of fits that. Stereotype. And here, I'm going to go back to that childhood imposter message piece, right. That stereotype of what is a leader. Okay. And because those views are so baked into society and it's, it's so unconscious people just don't even realize that they're responding differently to men and women to white versus bi-pod. And so you can end up in a situation where you're needing to do more work or do it differently. Show up differently. To counter that unconscious bias that may be happening. And maybe you're not even necessarily aware of it. But this is the piece as well. I want to draw your awareness to it. Like the more you're aware of it, the less power it's going to have over you. Hey, just recognizing, and again, we're getting to that place where we're not feeling like a victim. You could get angry if you want.
Sometimes that anger can really fuel, especially if you want to get, go into advocacy about this. Anger can fuel, but it's short-lived, I will warn you and it can really burn you out. So I would actually encourage you to fit, to be able to move past that and move past the victim. Who's past the anger, move past the tolerance for sure.
And rationalizing. Oh, well, you know, my time is coming. That's a tolerant language. Move more into that space of their love. Compassion looking for solutions being solution oriented and seeing opportunities. Moving into that space when you're recognizing that this is happening. Hey, that's how you break down these conditions for yourself. Is to not let them affect you, even if they're happening. But want to recognize it. What can I say unconscious bias?
It is real. It is real.
And this links very closely into the fifth reason. And the fifth reason has to do with navigating. What's called the double bind. So, if you haven't heard this term before, it's most well-known and for, for women in leadership. So the double bind when it comes to leadership and, and again, it was born out of, specifically for women.
I'm going to talk, I'm going to give some nuances in a moment here. The double bind is the idea that society has different expectations of leaders. Then of women. Okay. So society expects, it's baked into our society. That leaders are agentic is the word agentic. They have agency. What that means is they take action.
They're right there. They're leading. Right. If I say to you, they're leading, right. You're probably mentally picturing someone who's either taking charge or doing something right. Not being passive, right. Being proactive. They're being agentic is the word for it? They're often, very often we often seen as being direct.
Right. Remember I said earlier about commanding the room, there's a command presence. There, there is a very, uh, if we think about there's a very, Stereotypically male energy around that, around being a leader. It's baked into our society. That that is a leader. On the other hand. What's a baked into our society. To be female. Or to be a woman. Is to be warm. Nurturing. Caring. Loving. Empathetic kind. Right. Have you ever heard of mothering in the workplace? Like the implicit gender message around that. Is it, that is what women do right to mother somewhere.
Wait, it's just, it is so baked into us. That that is what women do. So the double bind is that. When you become a leader when you are a female or when you're identifying as female identifying as women. People, almost the old, they don't even know they're doing this. Okay. This is what all the studies show like, they're not doing it on purpose. But they don't, there's a disconnect.
There's a dissonance in how they see you. Because they want, they're expecting a leader to be a certain way, right. With those stereotypical masculine tendencies. Right. It is, it is actually so baked into the system that there have been studies and they, what they called it in the 1970s is they said, think manager, think male. That was the actual refrain.
This was, this was the, the academic community studying leadership. Had that refrain think manager, think me think male. Because it was so baked into people's brains, that the leader would be a male that they can't, it's just such a reflex that people assume that.
And they assume masculine energy we can call stereotypical masculine. Energy and tendencies.
And then they see a woman or someone who's identifying as a woman. And their brain wants to see mothering. And kindness and warmth and understanding and enveloping you in this warm hug, right? Like a warm caught cup of cocoa. And the brain kind of freaks out the brain doesn't know what to do with that. 'cause like, well, you, you can't be a leader if you're doing that, but you can't be a woman if you're doing that right.
The brain kind of freaks out. So they call it the double bind. That people identifying as female people identify as women when they become leaders, they're constantly navigating that double bind. Right. Not wanting people to think that they are unkind or you know, that they aren't emotion don't have emotions because that would clash with society's view of, of womanhood. But they also need to show that they have agency and they can make decisions and that they can be direct because otherwise that clashes with society's view of leaders.
Hey, so navigating that double bind. Is absolutely going to have give you imposter feelings, right? Because you're, you're constantly, well, am I a leader? And my female. And if we take it one step further too, it's not even just about identifying as female. I think it has more to do with the stereotypical energies, I think is more helpful to understand it, because think about it this way there.
And I've talked to two men who who've highlighted this, or they identify as being quieter. They are warmer. They're identifying as more sensitive. So they're identifying with this. That more stereotypically female energy. Well, people really don't know how to deal with that.
Right. When that shows up as your leader. So not only are they not showing up with that kind of more stereotypical masculine energy, but they're also not identifying as female. Like the people's brains can really freak out about that and have a hard time with seeing that person as a leader. So that can be really difficult. And let's be honest, like that can be difficult. And then you can get into intersectionality.
So intersectionality is where our identities intersect. Right? We don't just have one aspect of our identity. So of course, they're going to have imposter feelings when you're feeling like you're not fitting the identity or the role that society is expecting from you. Hey, so that's really what it boils down to all these five reasons.
I just wanted to really dig it really shine the light. Okay. Because. I feel like we don't talk about this enough, but you don't hear about this enough. Shining a light to understand these conditions where those crystals grew. Okay. But, like I said, I don't want you to live there. Okay. We don't want to, we don't need to live there at all.
What I want you to do is be aware of it. And so when you see it happening, we don't need to fold into ourselves and that kind of victim energy of like, just, I can't deal, I can't cope. We don't need you to do that. We, we don't, we can, but we don't need to go into fighting energy warrior energy. If you do, here's what I will say.
If, if you're listening to this and you're like this isn't right, I'm really angry that you're feeling that anger and you want to stay with it. What I will ask you, encourage you to do is figure out how can you channel it in a way that you are fueling yourself to either make change or to achieve something, but also recognize if you stay there too long, it will burn you out.
So that's why I caution, spending too much time in that angry place. And I really, really want you to, to avoid going into, you know, Facebook groups or venting sessions where all you're doing is, is, is kind of like a fire tornado. It's just whipping around, whipping around, whipping around like that, that will burn you out.
That's gonna really burn you out and bring and make you crash. So be careful with that angry energy, it can be used, but we want to be careful. Okay. I really don't want you to get into a place of tolerance and ration rationalizing, like, okay, well that I understand why I'm in this place and you know, I can cope.
It'll it'll be okay. I don't want you to stay there either. It's not as high of an energy. What I want you to do is get to a higher energy place, where you can see it happening. You recognize like, oh, this is what happened. This is, this is, this is what helped the crystals form. And we're not going to stay there anymore. Right.
We're going to move on. And maybe he, maybe you do have some of that angry energy. And you say I'm going to smash those crystals. Hey. But what's really cool. Is when you can transform them. Right. Sure. You can smash them. That we can absolutely smash it. You smash, the patriarchy smash all of this. But I really, I invite you to think about how can you transform it. Hey. So that's what I want you to take with it from his episode is being able to recognize the conditions either that have caused it in the past for you, or possibly causing it right now.
Right. You might be in those conditions right now. Be able to recognize it. And get to a place where you feel that you can transform. Hey transform that confidence. That's that tagline from, from the event that I'm running. And I would love to see you at the event. You don't have to go to the event. I do invite you to transform your confidence no matter what. And if you are interested in doing that transformation with me, It's a $20 entrance fee. There are some upgrades available if you want to get even more personalized attention from me. But $20, it was going to get you in the door and we are going to do that transformation together. And like I said, it's, laser-focused .
There's not going to be a lot of fluff is not going to be going down rabbit holes. We are going to be focused on identifying for you. What does that transformation look like? Transforming your confidence. Right. Getting to a place where we're ditching doubt. We can look at me and say, it's not my fault.
Look at all of this. And then how do I take ownership over the transformation? Right. So I'd love to see you there. Hopefully it will. You can find out email@example.com/challenge. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out either on email or Instagram or LinkedIn, you can find me at all the places. And with that, have yourself a wonderful day and I will catch you next week.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Now, before you go, make sure you click to follow the show this way you don't have to go looking for the latest episode. I'll come to you. Just click the plus button or the follow, and you'll get the latest episode fresh off the press. Thanks again. And remember that you are amazing. Now, get out there and RISE.