Ep11: 3 Ways Imposter Syndrome Is Really Just Your Ego In Disguise

Jan 28, 2020

Most people suffer from a strong case of “Imposter Syndrome” at some point in their lives, but it appears to be especially rampant among coaches, creatives, intuitives, empaths and healers.

These are typically the types of people who chronically wrestle with the feeling of not being “worthy” of what they want to achieve. Have you ever wondered if your personal and professional aspirations are… delusional?

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I’m not good enough” wonder if you lack the skills you need to achieve what you want (despite having 10 certifications and three degrees!) of if you’ve ever thought: “At any minute everybody’s going to find out that I’m a fraud. I’m actually not the person that I’m saying I am!” then darling, you’ve come down with a bad case of Imposter Syndrome. Luckily, it’s easily curable and this episode serves up the prescription you need! 

Episode Timecodes:

  • 1:13 – What if “Imposter Syndrome” is really your big ego self masquerading?
  • 1:44 – Defining Imposter Syndrome.
  • 3:10 – How to tell if you have a bad case of Imposter Syndrome.
  • 4:04 – The lightbulb moment I had that woke me up to my own case of I.S!
  • 15:37 – What a comfort zone is and why when you leave it feel like a fraud.

Links Mentioned:

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Email: hello@heatheraliceshea.com

Timezone: America/New_York

Website: heatheraliceshea.com


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Episode Transcript:

Hey, it’s Heather Alice Shea here! The intuition catalyst helping you turn your soul’s mission into a movement by becoming a world-class intuitive coach. Okay sirs and sisters, I’ve got something pretty controversial I want to talk about today. So before we jump into this, I am going to ask you to allow me to share with you hot and holy truth that might make your small self, your ego self get either really mad or really sad. But I promise everything I’m going to say is going to be said with love. So what if I told you that imposter syndrome in your business and your life and basically any area of your life that you’re suffering from imposter syndrome. What if that’s really just your ego in disguise? I want to turn this whole notion of imposter syndrome, feeling like a fraud, not feeling good enough. You know, not believing you’re worth anything. 

Let’s flip that entire belief system on its head, shall we? Okay, I really want to challenge this. What if that’s really ego? What if it’s really your big ego self masquerading? It’s your superiority complex masquerading as an inferiority complex. Okay, so just stay with me on this and we’re going to tease it out. And I’m going to go over three ways that I really think that this is is true. And if you’re new to the concept of imposter syndrome, let me just tell you what it is really quick. And you can also do a quick Google search on this to learn a lot more about it. But I’m just going to kind of give you the hot and dirty of it super fast. So basically, imposter syndrome is a, just kind of a nontechnical term that the self-help community and the therapeutic community that coaching community has come up with to label or sort of name this phenomenon that many of us feel, particularly people who are energy sensitives, are intuitives and empaths like you are because you’re listening to this podcast.

If you were, if you weren’t one of them, one of those people, you wouldn’t be listening to this podcast. But particularly for people like you like me who have a tendency to do a lot of self reflection, who have a tendency to be really self-aware, who have a tendency to really want to actually better and work on themselves. They really sort of, you know, for lack of a better word, I’ll say suffer with imposter syndrome and what that basically is, is that people feel like they are either not worthy of what they want, not good enough. Right? Like they’re not capable enough. They lack you know, the skills or the abilities they need to achieve what they want. And then they also feel like a fake. So those are kind of the three ways that impostor syndrome will rear its ugly head.

So for example, in your business, just we’ll run through a couple of examples. So what to whether or not, you know, so you can see whether or not you suffer from imposter syndrome. One, do you wish you could up your rates but you don’t because you don’t think your clients will pay you? Two, are there things that you would like to try in your business? Maybe you want to launch a group program or maybe you really want to create like a new offer in your coaching business, but you’re scared to do it because you don’t know or are afraid that you will not be able to absolutely rock said new program, right? Or how’d you move through the business? You know, maybe you are out there on the field of play, putting yourself out there and doing it, but the whole time you’re moving through it, you feel like, Oh my gosh, at any minute everybody’s going to find out that I’m a fake, that I’m a fraud, that I’m actually not the person that I’m saying I am.

Well, if you can nod your head to any of those things and you got yourself a nice case of imposter syndrome, so let’s go back. So that’s what it is. Let’s go back to challenging it. And really I discovered this, you know, the three things I’m about to present to you. I discovered it really in my own life as I started to do a lot of personal work on who I am and what I’m capable of and what I deserve. And I’ll never forget it. I was sitting on my front porch where I had this moment where my intuitive self said to me, Heather, all of this stuff that you’re working on, all of these limiting beliefs about your value and your worth and you know, what you feel you deserve and what you’re going to be able to create in your life or not.

All of this is bullshit. Like it’s all bullshit. And while you’re sitting on this porch deep and meditation, trying to get over all of these things that you say are holding you back, guess what you’re not doing. What you’re not doing is you’re not putting yourself out there. Oh, how convenient that is. You know, Oh, I can’t really go play big right now. I’m busy doing my inner work. I’m busy addressing my limiting beliefs. Right? And so there was this epiphany. I had this epiphany where I realized that even my personal development in that moment was actually just a distraction so I didn’t have to take action. So here are the three ways that your imposter syndrome is really your ego in disguise. The first is if you’re saying to yourself in any capacity, and there are many different shades of how these three ways are going to show up, okay?

So get creative as you’re listening to these three things. But the first one is, who am I to do this? So the small self says, who am I to do this? I’m a nobody. You know, I lacked training. I’m, you know, Oh I, Oh hell. You know, Heather, don’t put yourself out there. You know, who are you to go be amazing? Who are you to be great? Oh, that’s egotistical for you to do that, isn’t it? Oh, let’s see. It’s so, that’s so preposterous. And you go like of you to want to go light this world up with your purpose and boldly claim it. But let’s flip this on its head when we say, who am I to do this? Who am I? It’s almost like saying that you are super duper duper duper special, right? Because every person on earth has gifts like you’re no different.

You know, like I have gifts, you have gifts, we all have gifts to give. So when you asked the question, who am I to do this? That’s basically like you saying, Oh, I’m so freaking special that I shouldn’t be doing it because the whole world is supposed to be doing it. Like the whole reason why you’ve incarnated down here is because you have something deeply important to give deeply, deeply important to give. Every human being does. And by the way, that thing that you have to give is yourself to the world. When I’m in meditation, my intuition in my higher self voice says to me, Heather, everybody has the same purpose in life. And the purpose, your purpose isn’t something that you do. It’s something that you’re called to become. And that thing that you’re called to become is the highest expression of yourself that you can possibly be.

You know, in the Hindu tradition, they call this the Atman. Fun fact the Atmana is actually based off that word. We’re all here to express ourselves and our highest potential, right? And then the doing falls after that. So who the hell are you not to do this? For you to say that you who are you to do this and for you to believe that and play small is the most egoic thing you could possibly do. Because that’s like saying you’re the only human being born with no purpose, right? So I know that sounds super harsh, but it’s true. So the next time you see yourself going, who am I to do this? I want you to kick that voice straight in the ass because that’s your ego trying to convince you to play small by telling you you’re arrogant by playing big. But this world is not going to be changed.

And the people who need you, the people who are waiting for you are not going to be changed by you playing small. And doubting who you are and the power of who you are, that who you are has to impact this world in ways that you can’t even imagine until you actually get out there on the field of play and start doing it. So who are you to this? What I say is who are you not to? How dare you say that? You’re not someone who could go out there and do this? How dare you? Of course you have something huge that you’re supposed to do and of course it’s you who needs to do it. Okay? The second one is, I’m not good enough to do it. Okay? Maybe I do have something. Maybe I do have a purpose. You know, maybe I am supposed to do it, but I don’t feel good enough to do it.

Or sometimes when I’m coaching with people, we’ll go through this and they’ll say, well, I do believe that I’m good enough, but I don’t think other people will think that I’m good enough. Right? Other people won’t value me. So I value me, but I don’t think the world will value me. Right. So let’s flip this one on its head. That’s basically your ego saying, everyone must think I’m brilliant all the time. I must be brilliant all the time. I have to be perfect and good and brilliant all the time. I have to be 100% the best at everything all the time, right? Because if somebody thinks I’m not good enough or if you know, God forbid, I spend, you know, two seconds put together while I’m on the field of play out there, putting myself out there, daring to live my dream that I have a moment of doubt.

Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? Can you see how that’s ego? Can you see how it’s really our ego tricking us into playing small? So here’s what I say to that voice that says, I’m not good enough are people won’t see my value. What I have. The first thing that we say to that is, of course, of course, we all don’t feel good enough because you’re a work in progress just like me, just like your brother and your sister out there in the world. Of course. Of course we don’t feel good enough, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t get out there and do it. You know? And if people don’t see your value, that’s okay, too, because you’re not meant for everybody. I’m not meant for everybody. So don’t let your ego hold you back with that. You do have value, you do have a purpose and you are, yeah, yeah.

You are growing into it. You are going to grow in to that feeling of wow, this is really amazing. What I’m creating is so amazing. You know, the first iteration of of whatever it is you’re bringing forward. Maybe you’re trying to write a book or you want to launch a podcast or you’re just on the beginning decision of saying yes to becoming a coach. Or maybe you’ve been coaching forever and you know you want to step up and become a teacher of some kind. Of course you don’t feel good enough to do it because you haven’t done it yet. That’s the most natural thing in the world. But it doesn’t mean you lack the value. It just means you need to take that first step to get comfortable in that new role. That’s all that means. So when you feel I’m not good enough or people won’t think I’m good enough or see my value, I want you to say this.

Who the hell are you to tell the universe that you are worthless? How dare you? How dare you make such a claim because you were created in perfection, all of your imperfection, all of your strengths, all of your weaknesses, everything about you is perfect. And what I mean by perfect is if you, if you actually look at the root word, I’m going to nerd out on you here, if you look at the root word of purpose, of a perfect in the actual root word of that T, there’s two definitions of the word perfect. One is to be without blemish, right? That’s how we kind of typically think of the word perfect to be without blemish or imperfection. But if you go deeper into the root word of perfect, it means to be whole or to be complete. It doesn’t mean to be without imperfections.

It means that even your imperfections make you whole. So to be perfect is to be one who sees her wholeness or one who sees his whole notice. And so in this moment right now, you can begin to see yourself as whole. Warts and all cracks and all, everything you need to work on everything. You’re not good at. My God. That’s what makes you interesting. It’s what makes you beautiful. It’s what makes, it’s what makes you fun to be around. Right? How boring would it be if we were all just these, you know, good. You know, I’m just, I’ve got it all figured out and we all know that’s a lie anyway. When people are putting on that pretense, we all know it’s bullshit. We roll our eyes and you know, walk off and go find somebody else to talk to. So open up to the idea that you know, you’re good enough and in the ways that you’re judging yourself that you aren’t.

That’s what makes you actually awesome. You know, my friends tell me all the time, like some of the parts of my personality that I feel I need to work on the most. They’ll look at me straight in the face and say, Oh my God, those are, those are the things I love about you, Heather. And it really is so powerful to be witnessed in that way. So don’t be afraid to show people all of those facets of you. And the third one is this, that, that this feeling of being a fraud, this feeling of faking it, this feeling of like, Oh, at any minute I’m going to be found out and people are going to find out that I really have no idea what I’m doing. Let’s flip this one on its head. This is really like your ego basically saying I have to be the best at everything I do all the time.

Every second, no matter what. You know, I’ve got to be the greatest and the bestest all the time, you know, because God forbid I go try something new and have no idea what I’m doing. So the next time you feel like that, that’s just an indication that your ego was trying to make you feel like you have to be the best all the time so you can’t be rejected. So you can’t be disapproved of. Right. It’s so crazy. Once we really start looking at the root of what imposter syndrome is. So you know what, what do you think is like, we all feel like we’re faking it and I’ve actually learned in my own life to recognize that feeling of like, shit, I better fake it till I make it. I actually love that feeling because what that feeling is, is it’s an indicator that you are living your life on the very edge of your comfort zone.

Now, what is a comfort zone? A comfort zone just basically means you’re in territory psychologically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s psychological territory, right? Your emotions, your thoughts, your in your feelings. It, you’re, you’re in a zone where you’re used to things, right? You’re comfortable because it’s known to you. Your skills are really well-developed. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before. It’s comfortable and that’s great. We don’t want to be completely out of our comfort zone all the time. That’s called an anxiety disorder, right? When we’re not comfortable enough, that’s called anxiety, but we really do want to, if we’re going to be growth oriented people, we really want to do learn the skill of having one foot in our comfort zone and one foot squarely outside our comfort zone on the leading edge and what that leading edge feels like when you’ve got one foot in that outside of your comfort zone.

Here’s what it feels like. It feels like I have no idea what the hell I’m doing, and that’s great because it means you’re in a position to learn how to acquire new skills so that you can become the person you long to be so that you can show up in the world doing the things that you love doing the work you’re called to do. So here’s what I would say. Any growth oriented person feels like a fake. They feel like they’re faking it, they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing and thank God for it. Now, if you’re spending too much time in that zone and you’re suffering from anxiety or you know, you’ve got other things going on, you know, then that’s something else you might want to address. But I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who’s pushing themselves so hard.

You know, that they, that, that they need to take a step back into their comfort zone. I mean, that’s very, very, very rare. You know, and I do want to caveat this really quick. There are a thousand million, gajillion reasons why a human being suffers from anxiety. So this is only one of them when we spend too much time outside oof what is known. So another, so when this whole, I’m a fraud, I have no idea what I’m doing comes up this, here’s what I want you to ask yourself. Who are you to say that you have no right to learn? You have a right to learn. You have a right to be a beginner. You have a right to be an apprentice in the school of life. And my wish for you is that you always have the courage to be that apprentice, that you always have the courage to say yes to the unknown, that you are always willing to walk as Joseph Campbell.

You know, he’s the guy who articulated the hero’s journey, as he said, walk into the darkest part of the forest so that you can find yourself, slay your dragons, and bring treasure and gold back to your community. May you always have the ability to be humble enough to not know what the hell you are doing so that you can, as you move forward on that path, become your own hero. Become the person who said yes to the things that scared her so that she can be a light to others. Okay, so those are my three myths of imposter syndrome and how it’s your ego in disguise. And I would love to hear your thoughts on it. As always, you can visit me heatheraliceshea.com. Send me an email or find me on Instagram and Facebook at, @heatheraliceshea. Thanks. Talk to you later.