Breaking Through Imposter Syndrome: Empowering Your Success
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Episode #120: Breaking Through Imposter Syndrome: Empowering Your Success
About the Episode:
A note to all the smart women who feel like Imposters:
If you ever feel insecure, inadequate or like a fraud, I want you to know that it has NOTHING to do with you, or how capable you are.
The truth is that even the most successful women at the heights of their careers, including Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, have also experienced imposter syndrome.
In this podcast episode we'll explore the phenomenon of imposter syndrome and its impact on women. You'll learn:
- The origins of imposter syndrome
- How to recognize the signs and behaviors in yourself, and
- Practical strategies to overcome it and thrive in your personal and professional life.
- Connect with me on IG and FB.
- Watch my free class and learn how to get more done in a day without stress and burnout.
- Get your free copy of the Podcast Study Guide.
- Subscribe for weekly tips and strategies to empower your brain.
- Learn more about The Journey, the only comprehensive coaching program for high-achieving women, that will teach you, in just 12 weeks, how to get more done, feel better, and overcome imposter syndrome.
Full Episode Transcript:
Full Transcript Here
120. Breaking Through Imposter Syndrome: Empowering Your Success
Welcome to the Empowered brain, the only podcast using science, psychology and coaching to help you rewire your brain and create a life you love with your host, Dr. Vanessa Calderon, a Harvard grad physician, master coach, and mother of two.
Hello, sweet friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I am so excited to have you all here. Today we are talking about how to overcome impostor syndrome. So the last three episodes that I created about the patriarchy were really a setup for today. In fact, when I first sat down to draft the episodes about the patriarchy, the reason why I was drafting them was that I had actually sat down to draft an entire podcast episode on impostor syndrome, and realized that I couldn't really introduce that topic on this podcast without first talking about what leads to impostor syndrome. Because many women don't realize that the reason why we feel inferior or insecure, has nothing to do with you. It's not your fault at all. It's not because you're not smart enough, you don't have enough credentials, or you don't work hard enough, has nothing to do with that. And so much to do with all of the systems of oppression that exist around us. So that's why I created these last three episodes. If you haven't yet listened, feel free to go back. It's a podcast series, with three parts that dive into the patriarchy.
Where it comes from, how it affects us now how it shows up, and things that we can start doing day to day small little things that we can all do to dismantle the patriarchy. All right. So let's talk about impostor syndrome. So why am I bringing this topic up? Because we all deal with it. In fact, there was a study that was published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science that estimated 70% of people experience impostor syndrome, at some point in their lives 70% of people, and that includes really successful people who are at the height of their careers. In fact, you can read about how Oprah Winfrey talks about how she still felt insecure, even when she was at the height of her career, or Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor or former First Lady, Michelle Obama, how they all had these experiences of feeling insecure, incapable and doubting their abilities, even with their degrees, even with all of their experience, even with their titles.
Alright, so what is impostor syndrome? Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where an individual will doubt their accomplishments, and have this persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite any evidence of their competence. Alright, so I'm sure that if I were to ask you, have you ever felt this before? You'd be like, huh, yeah, I guess I have maybe felt like a fraud sometimes or doubted my accomplishments or my abilities. And the truth is that this is true for so many people. But it's especially true if you're a smart, high-achieving woman, especially if you're a woman of color. This is true. Alright, so what we're gonna do today is I'm going to talk a little bit about where it comes from, but just briefly, because I just created three entire podcast episodes to dive into that. And then we're going to talk about how it presents and how to recognize it in us and then what we can do about it to start overcoming it. Alright, so let me just quickly review where it comes from. Now, let me remind you, that impostor syndrome is multifactorial.
And it really comes from a number of different sorts of oppressive systems and other things, where we have internalized stereotypes and expectations. So one, which I just created, an entire series about the patriarchy is a big one. So when we internalize those patriarchal
thoughts, expectations about women, and their lack of ability to do certain things, that might really cause us to ingrain those feelings of self-doubt. Same thing with any type of internalized racism. Or even if you were raised in a home where you saw examples of people that look like you, like other women, not speaking up, or deferring to someone else in the room, all of those types of things you have internalized and likely have led to your experiences of self-doubt, or now what we call impostor syndrome. So the same is true about intersectionality. So intersectionality will compound the effects of any kind of system of oppression.
So intersectionality means you're not just one thing. You're not just a woman, for example, you have other identities. So me I'm a woman, and I'm Latina. And if you are you know, you might be a woman, you might it'd be transgender you might be, you might identify as a woman who's gay, but also African American. So notice those overlapping identities and how they will compound the effects of oppression. So that's the term of intersectionality. And why I bring it into this topic today because you can see how when you internalize all those different identities and the different systems of oppression, they're going to further exacerbate your symptoms of imposter syndrome.
Goodness gracious, I was like, Well, how can I give some examples of how this shows up? When I was thinking about my life, and all of the times it has shown up, and friends Holy smokes, I could come up with like an example after another example after another example. Starting from like, way back when I realized that people believed that Latinas or brown people were inferior, I didn't, I was raised when I was a really young kid around a bunch of Latinos. And so I didn't have that experience. I did experience a lot of machismo, which is the Spanish word for the patriarchy. And so I did internalize a lot of the oppression of the patriarchy when I was young.
But when we moved into this primarily white neighborhood when I was a teenager, I remember hearing all these racist remarks, and that is when I really started to internalize so much inferiority all through high school and a lot in college. And so I would sit in these large classrooms, or I would be put in these groups of men or, or white men, and I remember just feeling like Holy smokes, I'm not as good as they are, I'm not as smart as they are, I'm afraid to speak up, I'm afraid to raise my hand. And, you know, again, impostor syndrome is such an interesting phenomenon. Because even though I was the person in, you know, I was thinking back in high school, how it was a predominantly white high school. And here I am just like five foot, 100 pounds, you know, Latina, and I was the person in the gifted classes, I was the person, you know, taking like advanced calculus, graduated with honors. And even though I had all those things, I still experienced impostor syndrome.
So had nothing to do with my credentials. So I went on to college, same thing I experienced so much impact I just had already internalized that had already internalized inferiority. And I didn't have the consciousness to know that that's what I was feeling, or that's what I was experiencing. And then I went on, and, you know, got accepted into medical school into a fantastic med school, really competitive medical school. Even though I was in med school, I still didn't think I was as smart as everybody else who was there, or that I was going, I was so afraid to raise my hand in the lecture halls or answer questions, because I was afraid to get them wrong. And then everybody would know, here I am super inadequate, and I shouldn't be here. And then I went on to a fantastic residency program. residency is where you do your specialty training in medicine, for those of you who are not in the medical field, and in your last year of of your residency training, there's something that's called a chief resident, so they vote you to become the leader of the residency program.
And so when they announced the chief residents, they announced my name. And I remember at that moment, how I totally just like involuted into myself, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, what just happened? I'm not good enough to be chief president, how could they have called me, I shouldn't even be here, I can't believe I even got this far. I was so afraid, I was so afraid that I was going to fail. And then everybody would know that I wasn't smart enough to begin with and that they should never have accepted me. And this went on and on and on. And I just still like, look at this time as like so interesting. You know, at this time, I had already had degrees from Harvard, I was already an MD, and I'd already graduated from medical school. I have already had all of these credentials. And I still felt like this, which is so fascinating as I look back.
So if you have experienced any of this, and you weren't sure what to put it, how to sort of label it, or what name to put on it. Let me support you and tell you that this is a phenomenon that has nothing to do with you and has nothing to do with how smart you are, how many credentials you have, how capable you are has nothing to do with that. And everything to do with how we've sort of internalized what we've seen around us. Okay, so I'm going to shift now and share a few different attributes. So how is imposter syndrome present? So I'm going to share a few different attributes. As an, as I'm listing these off, I want you to sort of label like oh yeah, that's something that I have So recognize if any of these are something that you identify with.
Alright, so here's the number one. And this is kind of like the obvious one, right? It's feeling insecure, or having self-doubt, or feeling like a fraud. Okay. So that's the number one telltale sign that you might be experiencing impostor syndrome. So again, this is, despite any external evidence of your ability, you might feel like you're faking it, and you might feel like you're going get discovered as inadequate or inexperienced. And this will hold you back from raising your hand in the boardroom, it'll hold you back from speaking up in a meeting, from like, for me when I was afraid to raise my hand in the lecture hall, for example. And you know, what I've seen over and over again, this shows up for physicians a lot when they're charting.
So if you're a physician, and you're listening right now, and you think your charts need to be perfect, you and you know, like, you have a bunch of charting to do, and you hate charting. One of the reasons why is because we're so afraid that if our charts aren't perfect, someone's gonna think we're not smart enough, or we're not good enough, or that we're inadequate. And that little bit right there, like feeling like, we got to make our trips perfect. So people know that we're really smart. That comes from imposter syndrome. So if that is slowing you down in your charting, I want you to just take a moment to notice that. Alright, the second one is perfectionism, which I kind of alluded to here with this last one. So the second is perfectionism. So this is especially true for really smart, high-achieving women who face these societal pressures that they need to excel. And everything that you do, can't just do it, you got to be great at everything that you do. So what happens here, is that impostor syndrome manifests as this constant need to meet these impossibly high standards. And yes, of course, some of the high standards or standards that we put on ourselves, because we want, we don't want to fail. And we didn't just put them on ourselves. We put them on ourselves because of what we have internalized from society. Maybe they didn't come directly from my boss. But that came from some like, weird show that you have watched when you were growing up where you saw this woman that was perfect at everything she did.
And even when you're achieving success, if you experience impostor syndrome, you're gonna dismiss any of your accomplishments as not being perfect enough. So that's perfectionism. Alright, the second one, or the third one here is attributing your success to any external factors. So for example, you continue to advance in your career or you do really well at something and you just say, Oh, I was just really lucky. Or I was only able to do that because so and so helped me. So you downplay all of your efforts, can you downplay your competence? Okay, so just a quick side note, I just watched the Barbie movie. And it was really, really, really, really good. And, I mean, on so many different levels, I thought it was amazing. For one, it was just hilarious and entertaining. But on a deeper level, the society that the Barbies lived in, where it was an all-women-run society, where women just loved and supported each other with patriarchy didn't exist, was just so interesting to see how capable and how beautiful and how amazing it could be for women to really own their success. I don't know, if you've seen the Barbie movie you may have picked up on this where there was this one part in the movie where they were giving people awards for Nobel, I think it was for writing a book or something like that.
And they said, and the best book writer goes to so and so. And the Barbie stands up and says, yes, thank you, I put a lot of hard work into this. I am a really good writer. And it was just so interesting to see someone owning their accomplishments at that level. And that is something that's really hard for high-achieving smart, successful women to do when they experience imposter syndrome. They're afraid to own their success for a lot of reasons, right? For one, they don't actually believe they're successful, but they're afraid to be arrogant, or to be seen as arrogant, which again, also comes from the patriarchy.
All right, this also goes into discounting praise. So when people tell you that you are really good at something or a good job, what do you do? Are you someone that just says thank you? Or are you someone who wants to totally discount it? And maybe you say thank you out loud, but in your mind, what are you doing? Are you thinking that that praise is insincere? Are you thinking that they must say that to everybody? Do you think that Oh, yep, you fooled them, you know, now they think you're really good at it. Now they think you're competent. So what is it that you do when somebody gives you praise for something? So that's another sign of imposter syndrome.
All right, here's another fear of failure. So listen, every human being is afraid of failure. It's how our brains are wired. But the fear of failure is incredibly amplified. When you experience impostor syndrome. This might lead to you being afraid to take on a new role, or a new leadership position because you're so afraid to fail, that you don't think you're going to be good enough. So you hold yourself back, I'll tell you that when I first decided to become an entrepreneur and start my coaching business, I was so happy that I did it because it is totally my dharma, I am now living a mission-driven life where everything I'm doing is in service to, I really feel like making the world a better place and really supporting a woman. And it just is amazing. But when I first started, oh, my gosh, I was so afraid to fail, that it would slow me down and it kept slowing me down, and it kept slowing me down. I do it perfectly. I kind of do this. And I would procrastinate and do all of these other things. Because I was so afraid to fail.
Because I didn't think I was good enough to do what I was doing. I didn't think Who did I think I was to go out and start this on my own business? I'm uh, I'm just just a doctor, quote-unquote, I shouldn't be doing that. That's not for me. So if you have that fear of failure, just notice how it's amplified by impostor syndrome. Alright, here's another one that's so, so common for a lot of smart women. It's comparing yourself to other people, especially other peers or role models. And you use that as evidence against yourself that you're not good enough. You might even think things like, oh my gosh, look at what they've already accomplished. Look at what they're doing. And if you are a woman in a currently underrepresented field, so if you are a woman in like a tech field, which I have a lot of women in tech fields or a woman in specialty in medicine, where there's not a lot of other women, this is doubly hard, because you'll see other women there. And there's so few that you compare yourself to the one or the one or two women that are there. And you you make that mean that you're not good enough, you make that mean that you must not measure up to the achievements or success to be there.
That's a really big one. All right, another one is overworking. Again, this kind of goes to fear of failure. So this is such an interesting one. So bear with me here. So what happens here, when you experience imposter syndrome, you think you're not good enough. So what do you think you need to do to prove your competence, you think you need to overwork to prove your competence. So you're overworking you know, you take on excessive responsibilities, you say yes to everything, and you try to do it perfectly, which causes you to work even harder. Obviously, when you're working that hard overworking saying yes, and not creating boundaries, it leads to burnout. And when it leads to burnout, now you are sort of fulfilling this prophecy, you already thought you weren't good enough, you already thought you needed to work really hard to be successful. And then you either become successful, which reinforces the thought that you had to overwork to be successful, or you burnout, which reinforces the thought that you were not good enough to begin with. So notice that.
Let's see if there's another one that I've missed here. I think I covered all of them here. So that was a lot. So let me just quickly review. So these are the ways impostor syndrome will show up for you. So again, the big one obviously, is self-doubt and feeling like a fraud and afraid to be caught out or afraid to be caught like oh, there she is. She's inadequate and inexperienced, which keeps you from speaking up. And if you're a physician, it can keep you from completing your charts. The second is perfectionism where you think you have to be perfect at everything, so nobody will know that you're inadequate.
That's really again, there's this quote, I heard about perfectionism, which is perfectionism is just shame but dressed up in gold. It's just like, a different word for shame. But that's really what it is like, you're so ashamed to be inadequate, that you think you need to be perfect.
The next one is attributing your success to external factors and discounting praise. So anyone anytime anyone tells you Good job, you say like, Yeah, but or I just got lucky.
The big fear of failure, which gets amplified by impostor syndrome, comparing yourself to other people, and then overworking, which is a big one. All right, so I'm gonna give you a quick example of how this can show up by showing an example. One of my students, and then we're going to talk about all the ways that you can overcome it. Alright, so I had this student that was in the journey, and the journey, by the way, is my all-inclusive coaching program that deals with all of these things we talk about, you know, how you can become more effective.
So you have more time to do the things that you really love doing. So, her name is Sarah. Well, that's not her real name. But um, that's the name I'm giving her for the scenario. All right, Sarah works in a male-dominated firm in a tech firm. So she's incredibly competent at coding. That's, that's what she does really, really well. And she was so good at it, she had contributed to so many successful projects. And she had been given this opportunity to lead a team on a new project. And as soon as they had given her that opportunity, she immediately started to doubt her abilities. She started thinking Hold on a second. I don't think I belong in a leadership role yet, maybe I'm good at coding, but there's no way I can do it on this type of scale. And she really worried that her team was going to discover that she was inadequate, and not capable enough.
Okay, just sharing that little brief story there. All of you listening from the outside listening in, you can probably notice all of the ways that she's thinking that she's an imposter. But when you are the person living that experience, it is so hard for you to move to pull apart the thoughts from the truth. It's so hard to pull apart what I'm feeling from what's actually happening.
So if you notice, Sarah was doubting herself, that's a big one, she started attributing her success to external factors. Yeah, I'm really good at coding him. But I always get help, I always just contribute to the team. She started experiencing perfectionism thinking that she wasn't ready to lead because she wasn't perfect enough, she had to be flawless. If she was going to take on a position of power, she started comparing herself to other people, because in her firm, the only other leaders were dudes, they were all men, she was gonna be the first woman to lead a team like this. And even though she didn't say that out loud, when we were coaching, she didn't say I'm afraid to lead because I'm a woman, and they're all men. She just assumed when we dug deeper, that leaders were just men in her organization, that couldn't be her, she wasn't good enough to do that. Notice how that shows up. And then the last one was, she was she was afraid to fail. And we're, again, the human brain is wired to fear failure. But when you have impostor syndrome, it really just, it really elevates that fear of failure. She felt like she was she wasn't going to live up to the expectations that everybody had on her, she was going to let everybody down. And that she would fail. And then it would just confirm that she wasn't good enough to begin with.
Okay, so let's all hold space for Sarah. And for everyone else who's experiencing this, this is just one example. I shared all of my personal examples, but I want you to notice how this shows up for you. And it shows up sometimes in the smallest ways where we haven't even like put our finger on what we're feeling. We're just like, wow, like, I don't know why I just feel insecure, I feel inadequate. I'm afraid to speak up. I don't know why or you speak up and you judge yourself immediately. Alright, so let's go into sort of the last part of the episode now where I'm going to share with you a few ways if you strategies to overcome impostor syndrome.
All right. So the very first thing I want you to do is I want you to acknowledge and normalize your feelings.
Acknowledge when you feel insecure, when you're feeling self-doubt, when you're feeling afraid to speak up in a meeting, when you're feeling nervous when you start doubting yourself, when someone gives you a compliment, and you just don't take it in. And instead, you want to second-guess the compliment. I want you just to notice that. That's it. Just note, practicing noticing something, noticing a thought noticing a feeling in your body. When you notice it. Guess what happens?
You move that to the conscious part of your brain.
It's an exercise in mindfulness and awareness, you move it to the conscious part of your brain, and you no longer act from the subconscious part of your brain. This means you're moving an unintentional thought and feeling over not good enough to an intentional thought. Ah, interesting. Look at that. Look how my insecurity is showing up.
And when you do that, if you remember the cognitive thought model your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings, create your actions, and your actions create your results, when you're moving an unintentional thought, which will give you an unintentional result to an intentional thought, guess what, you're going to create intentional actions and intentional results.
Alright, so first, just acknowledge that it's showing up for you to recognize that these things are true. These things are common, especially for smart high-achieving women, especially for women of color. So if that's you, when it shows up for you, I want you to just notice and remind yourself that this is a human experience.
shows up for everybody. Even the most successful people that you see out in the world, even they have it. So whoever you've put up on a pedestal and assume they must just be so confident I had one of my students the other day, tell me Oh, but my sister is so confident, or my boyfriend is so confident.
And it's just so interesting how we don't even look for examples in their lives of when they're not. Because we've just already drawn this, like direct comparison, they're so confident, I am not. And I want you to notice how everybody experiences insecurity at one point in their lives. And maybe they didn't all internalize impostor syndrome, but they all experienced a level of insecurity. So just notice that. The second thing I want you to do after you notice is to challenge the negative thought to challenge thought. So the first thing you need to do though, really is notice that it's a thought to begin with, in Episode 115. So a few episodes ago, I taught you a pneumonic, the core mnemonic that supports you in creating awareness, thinking through the thought and pulling it apart, noticing your thinking brain from who you are from your true core self.
So go back to that episode, if it's helpful for for you. But it's a great way for you first to notice that it's a thought. And once you notice that it's a thought. Now it's time for you to really replace the thought challenge the thought, and then replace it. So how can you replace it? Think of something that comes up for you, whenever you feel insecure, whenever you're afraid to raise your hand. What can you tell yourself in those moments? So maybe it's as simple as I'm doing the best I can. Or here's one that I had to practice a lot when I was first working on a lot of this me, which is, even though it feels uncomfortable to believe it, I know that I'm capable enough, I know that I'm capable to be here. Even though it feels uncomfortable, I know I'm in the right place, even though it feels uncomfortable. I know I deserve this promotion, I know I can lead this team. So that's another one that you can use, but come up with your own so that you can start challenging these thoughts for yourself.
All right, I'm gonna give you a journaling exercise that you can use to challenge the negative thoughts. So one of the things you can do is you can write down your negative thoughts, and then you can start countering them with evidence of your accomplishments. Now, you know, what's funny about this is, I did this for myself. And even though I was doing this for myself, in my own journal that I wasn't sharing with anybody else, it felt so uncomfortable, I would list out the negative thought. And then I would create, and I would talk about all the evidence. So listing out all the evidence, all of everything I've done in my life, all of my achievements, to counter that thought, and just listing those things out felt so uncomfortable.
Why? Because I was like, in my brain, I was like, Oh, I'm being so arrogant, or I'm boasting, or I don't need to list these things off. This is so obvious. And I just want you to notice how that comes up. Because when you start listing out those positive things about yourself, what you're doing is creating evidence to the contrary, to the contrary, you're not insecure, I mean, you're not an adequate look at everything you've achieved. And sometimes you actually need to do the work to list it out for yourself and see it. And if your brain is trying to tell you, you're being arrogant, or you're boasting, or this is so obvious, or this is stupid. Notice, that's the ego, that's the ego talking. So sometimes you need to push through that. And that's even more evidence that you should actually create that list. Alright, so again, step one, acknowledge and normalize your feelings. Step two, challenge your negative thoughts, I gave you a few different ways to do that. Step three, celebrate your achievements. I wish I could just yell this from the rooftops celebrate your achievements, it's so important to celebrate the smallest things that we do.
So if it's helpful, you can create a success journal, where you at the end of every week, regularly write down everything you achieved. At the end of every day, instead of telling yourself I didn't get enough done or you know, feeling disappointed that you didn't check off every box, start first by saying, Oh, look at everything I did achieve. Look at everything I did go accomplish, Oh, I'm so proud of myself. So celebrate the really small things and celebrate the big things, but celebrate yourself. I do this all of the time with my students on the journey. And some of them are so uncomfortable there. And me too. I used to be really uncomfortable doing this too, because I thought the small things just weren't good enough to celebrate. And I didn't want to say them out loud, especially in a room of other people because I had this thought they must have done things that were so much better than me. Their celebrations are so much better than mine.
Just so silly now that I think about it. But that's such a common thought. So it's so important to celebrate yourself. Here's something else you can do to celebrate yourself. You can create a compliments file. Now this might feel really awkward to you. But because of the same thing
cuz like you don't want to be arrogant or you don't want to boast. But one thing that's really helpful, especially if you are entering a new area of your life if you're starting a new job, a new career if you are doing something new or different because that's when impostor syndrome will show up for you. Again, if you think you've overcome it, it'll show up for you again, in those instances, it's really important to be intentional about gathering evidence that you are competent, that you are capable, and that you belong in that space. So how do you do that? So you can do it a bunch of different ways. If you're old school, and you want to print it out and have a paper file, get a folder and start putting it in every time you get compliments about yourself. So what I did, and I actually did this, when I first started my business many years ago, I started a PowerPoint. And I just had a PowerPoint file. And anytime I would get an email from someone complimenting something that I did a presentation that I did, I would copy and paste that email and put it into a PowerPoint slide. And that would be one of the slides. If somebody would send me a really nice written note, I would take a picture of that handwritten note. And I would put it into the PowerPoint slide. If I got a testimonial, if I got a really nice text message from a student testimonial about my podcast, I would take those pictures, and I would put them into a PowerPoint slide. And then every morning, as part of my morning routine, I would open up Vanessa's fabulous files, that's what I called it. And I would scroll through each one. And I would take the time to read it and really feel it really feel how it made me feel.
And when we just tell you, it's not going to make you arrogant, and you're not boasting, all you're doing is allowing yourself to take in the good. And when you allow yourself to take in the good. That's how you rewire your brain. That's how neuroplasticity works. That's how you become more positive instead of negative. That's how you start really enjoying the joy in life. It's not going to make you more arrogant, it'll just make you more confident. So I really recommend that you do something like that. Alright. And the last two, are practicing self-compassion, I talk a ton about self-compassion, because in my experience, that's one of the biggest missing links between being really successful in life and not burning out is having self-compassion. So you can scroll back through all of my episodes and you can find a few on self-compassion. So I'm not going to spend too much time today talking about it.
But the last one is embracing failure. Man, I've also created episodes, specifically on failure. So go back and scroll through if you're interested in learning more about failure. But here's what I will tell you about failure, which is what I've come to learn over and over and over again, we are so afraid to failure, we're so afraid to fail, especially when we feel like imposters because we're afraid of what that's going to mean, we already think we're inadequate. And if we fail, it's just going to prove that we'll feel disappointed. We'll feel like reject all of those types of things. And that feels like Shi t, it feels really, really bad in our bodies and in our brains. And so we do whatever we can to not fail. And when you're doing whatever you can to not fail, what you're doing is letting your ego show up. And it's getting in the way of your impact the impact you can have in the world. So what I will tell you is, that the faster that you can get comfortable with failure, the faster you will be able to succeed to have a positive impact on the world.
So I just really encourage you to really start thinking about all of the times that you were so afraid to fail. And how can you reframe those times to see failure as a stepping stone to success rather than as evidence of inadequacy? Because it's not evidence of inadequacy. In fact, the more you fail and pick yourself up, the more you should gather that as evidence of courage, bravery, commitment of strength, because that's what it is. Every time you keep going every time you don't quit. All that is showing is that you're ready, that you're resilient, that you're brave, that you're strong, but you're tenacious. So I just honor all of you out there that don't quit. I think about this podcast, for example, I was just talking to a girlfriend of mine about it. I first started it and there were just a few 100 downloads. And
I think I started about two years ago and as I was committed every week to release an episode and there were times when I didn't want to I was like tired or exhausted but I did it anyway. And now I'm getting like, you know 1000s of downloads every month and it's just so beautiful to see how my you know, my ability to continue to go on my ability to like, commit recommit to the podcast every time. I didn't feel good about it every time I felt inadequate.
But every time I felt like it must not be good enough that it was failing, because, in the beginning, it wasn't growing very quickly. And now to see the exponential growth, it's just, it just feels like, Wow, just so much gratitude for myself and my ability to keep going. So I just encourage all of you to use those examples for yourself as examples of how strong you are. All right, sweet friends, we talked about a lot. I did not expect this podcast episode to be so long. So thank you for bearing with me. So just as a quick review, if you've listened to this entire thing, we talked all about impostor syndrome and where it comes from, and we talked about how it shows up. So how you can recognize it in yourself and how it presents? And then we went through a bunch of examples of what you can do to overcome impostor syndrome. And I'll leave you with a few things one, just know, be kind and gentle to yourself, because imposter syndrome didn't just happen overnight.
It's been a gradual process throughout your entire life of you, internalizing all of the bull Shi T that we have heard from society around us. It's been a gradual process and anything that's taken this long, it's taken this long to sort of internalize in our brains, it's not going to get solved overnight. You will overcome it in one area and you will notice it in another and then you will overcome it in that area. And you will notice it in another so when it keeps showing up for you. It's not because you're failing, it's not because you should have already been over it. It's just because that's the process. So be kind to yourself, be really loving to yourself. offer yourself so much grace and celebrate yourself every time you notice it. And you don't let it drive your results. You don't let it drive your actions. Celebrate yourself in those moments. Alright, so we're friends. I love you so much. Have an incredible week. I will see you next week.
Hey, sweet friends, if you love what you're learning, then you've got to join us in the journey. It's my all inclusive program and the best community out there giving you the education you never knew you needed to help you create a life you love. Join us at Vanessa Calderon md.com forward slash join. I'll see you there.
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The Empowered Brain: About the Podcast
This podcast is for all women, those that identify as leaders and those that don't, yet. You'll learn how to let go of guilt and self-doubt so you can show up with confidence everywhere you go. No more questioning if your idea is good enough to share, if it's worth it to speak up, or if you're a good enough leader. All that self-critical B.S. stops now. Listen in as masterful educator and Harvard grad physician, Dr. Vanessa Calderón, teaches you how to let go of the things standing in the way of your success as a leader. Get ready, this podcast will accelerate your personal and professional growth.
Dr. Vanessa Calderón, MD, MPP has over 20 years of leadership experience. She is a Harvard grad, ER physician, Life and Leadership coach, and a mother of 2. She's a first generation Latina and is dedicated to uplifting her community. She's the founder of the Latina Leadership Accelerator, where she uses education and coaching to support the personal and professional development of women at all stages of their lives and careers.
The Journey (to your empowered brain)
This evidence-based coaching program has everything professionals need to be more productive, feel better and get more done, in only 12 weeks.
Learn more and join here: www.vanessacalderonmd.com/join