7 Perfectly Good Reasons You Suffering from Imposture Syndrome with Dr. Valerie Young, Author & Speaker

Millions of people secretly worry they’re not as intelligent or capable as others think they are. It’s called impostor syndrome. And it hurts individuals — and the bottom line.

Today’s guest is Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally-known expert on impostor syndrome and author of award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It (Crown Business/Random House), now available in six languages. She has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, and Japan at such organizations as Google, NASA, Chrysler, Boeing, YUM!, Facebook, Merck, National Cancer Institute, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, to name a few. She provide clients with the information, insight, and tools needed to understand and address impostor syndrome in individuals and the organization. Her career-related tips have been cited in dozens of business and popular publications around the world and she’s been interviewed on countless programs including the BBC, Minnesota Public Radio, and Yahoo Finance. She believes that “everyone loses when bright people play small.”

​​In this episode, Dr. Valerie and Dr. Cindra discuss

  • What is the imposture syndrome, anyway?
  • 7 perfectly good reasons you feel like an imposture including that you were raised by a human!
  • How stereotypes matter related to the imposture syndrome,
  • Practical tools to use when you feel like an imposture,
  • And what luck, timing, connections and personality have to do with success.

Quotes of the Week:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Confident people aren’t any more intelligent, capable, or talented than the rest of us. Instead they think differently about 3 things: Competence, Failure/Mistakes/Criticism, and Fear.” Valerie Young

“When you consider the perfectly good reasons why you might feel like a fraud, you could do less personalizing, less psychologizing and more contextualizing.” @ValerieYoung
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“My goal is not to cure imposter syndrome, if that happens that’s great. To me it’s about giving people information and insight and tools so that when you have a normal imposter moment, you can talk yourself down faster.”-@ValerieYoung
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“You don’t have to know everything before you begin.”-@ValerieYoung
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“To me, competence is knowing how to identify the resources it takes to get the job done.”-@ValerieYoung
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Full Transcription:

Valerie I am so excited to welcome you to the high-performance mindset podcast today. I’m very passionate about the topic that you’re speaking about and absolutely love your book The Secret thoughts of Successful Women and I’m just really looking forward to talking with you about it today so maybe just get us started and tell us what you’re really passionate about right now?

Valerie Young: I am passionate about the whole idea of kind of rethinking imposter syndrome and what’s fascinating is because so many people are working from home now. Yeah, all they’re professionals, I think this topic is just kind of blowing up because when you work alone, you’re more susceptible to imposter feeling so that’s pretty exciting.

Cindra Kamphoff: So, tell us a bit about what led you to study imposter syndrome.

Valerie Young: I was sitting in a class I was a graduate student, at the same university where my mom was working as a second shift custodian at the time and somebody brought in a paper by Dr. Paul in class and Dr. Susan it says the two psychologists to first coined the term the imposter phenomenon, as it is more accurately known and start in the student was saying they listen to this study, they found that all these bright capable people felt like they were fooling folks and we’re going to be found out and I just instantly identified so I decided to not so much study imposter phenomenon what I when I looked at Sandra was women self-limiting attitudes and behaviors. You know, so if all the extra no barriers went away tomorrow, you know how might women still hold them hold ourselves back. What I didn’t realize at the time was what came out of it was everything that leads us to feel like imposters when I also didn’t realize at the time is so much of what I found and I studied a very diverse audience, who was of the 15 people I interviewed the professionals, more than half for women of color, but what I’ve since found is a lot of the core findings also apply to men in a lot of men feeling.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, and that’s one thing I wanted to just start with right at the beginning, is I’m sure we’re going to talk a little bit about and lot about women, but men experience imposter syndrome as well right.

Valerie Young: Definitely, definitely yeah. Know I’ve dealt with you know, a man who won the MacArthur genius award you know somebody who was pretty senior in the Canadian mounted police, you know a lot of CEOs a lot of professors, I mean it’s there are a lot of men who feel this way for different reasons, I think women as a group, are more susceptible and holds women back more but there are many may painfully experienced these feelings.

Cindra Kamphoff: Okay, so maybe let’s get started, and for those people who don’t know the term imposter syndrome aren’t familiar with your book or read about it lets define it and how would you define it in your own words right now.

Valerie Young: Sure, as I said, the more accurate term is the imposter phenomenon, I say that because it’s not really a psychiatrically diagnosable. Syndrome you don’t diagnose somebody with imposter syndrome and disease or.

Cindra Kamphoff: You know mental yeah.

Valerie Young: I continue to use the language, because that’s how it’s been referred to in the culture. To have a basic way to describe this experience, whereby despite evidence of our bill of our accomplishments or abilities in the past. We somehow think that we have kind of flown under the radar undetected we feel like we fooled other people into thinking of more intelligent and capable competent talented and then you know, we know that we are and there’s a sphere that we’re going to be found out. Show you know, basically, even though you can see the degree in the wall, you can see resume you can hear the performance evaluation, you know your business was profitable.

Valerie Young: Right, you become very adept at essentially saying well sure I did it. But I can explain all that, so we pivoted to lock climbing personality, you know the ease of the task, if I can do it, how hard, can it be that kind of thing.

Cindra Kamphoff: Absolutely, and I really liked the part in your chapters really early on and it says, I think it was a chapter that said, like feel like an imposter join the club and you know I one of the reasons I read your book is because I work with a lot of women, but I have felt like this. Sometimes in my life, especially really when I’m pushing myself right when I worked, and I worked at still work in the NFL so I’m like you know, the only female typically around and so these places where and you talk about this in your book where you’re the only one or speaking for a group or when you’re really pushing yourself outside you comfort zone that you’re more likely to experience that it helped me just be able to realize I’m not alone and I love I love that chapter just kind of normalizing it so tell us what you mean by you know feel like an imposter join the club.

Valerie Young: Well, you actually said, the key word, which is to normalize it.

Valerie Young: You know it’s estimated 70% of achievers have these feelings, at one time or another, there was a study out of the UK that found that 80% of CEOs and 81% of managing directors that kind of next level down so they you know, sometimes feel out of their depth and that they’re struggling in their role so it’s really common, and this is where I have to break it to people that you’re not special.

Cindra Kamphoff: A lot of people feel this way.

Valerie Young: But the way we normalize it goes to your other point that you made Cindra that when you consider like that the perfectly good reasons why you might feel like a fraud. You can use less personalizing, less psychology and more contextualizing so in your case you’re getting the view from 10,000 feet and go hey I’m working in the NFL there’s not a lot of other women

here, or you know they’re maybe not a lot of other people of color and another arena or you’re the youngest person, you know, whenever you are on the receiving end of cultural social stereotypes about competence or intelligence, or when you feel like you have to kind of represent like fault right your entire group you’re going to be more likely to have imposter feelings.

Cindra Kamphoff: And I really like what you said, I want to just point that out like less personalizing it, more contextualizing it and to me, that means like don’t take it personally maybe when you’re feeling that way recognize it’s about the situation, you’re in and less about you and your ability or your competence. Would you say is that is that accurate?

Valerie Young: Because, in addition to the intersection between diversity inclusion that goes beyond women and men goes beyond gender, there’s certain fields where you’re going to see more people who fill a composter people in creative fields, who are acting are writing where you’re being judged by subjective standards by job title is professional critics so like join the club, you know, most people in those situations have these feelings people in very information dense rapidly changing feels like technology, medicine, people and really competitive fields like you know, like consulting and I’m talking like the big consulting firms, you know, are very competitive law firms so there are arenas where it makes sense, just given the culture, organizational culture can play a role there’s a reason why impossible is a ramp it on college campuses and I don’t just mean students, although they’re more likely to feel like imposters too. But because of the culture of higher education staff feels like imposters and the professor is true.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah so that helps people as they’re listening realize they’re not alone, by having these feelings and I thought What was really helpful towards the beginning of your book Valerie was when you said sure I’m successful, but I can explain it you’ve already given some of these reasons why or how we explain our success like I just got lucky or I was in the right place at the right time, or you know it’s because they liked me, you know if I did it anyone can you know, they must let anybody in and I’ve heard people say these things so tell us a little bit about just maybe why we explain success in that way and don’t necessarily see that it’s us.

Valerie Young: Right, well, I mean part of US does see that it’s us it’s just that that other voice is louder. You know those imposter voices are just much louder I also think you know very often you’ll hear. You know, coaches, or people writing articles on imposter sit and they’ll say “you know, when you feel like an imposter just go back and like look at all your accomplishments or make a list of all your accomplishments” and that’s helpful to a point, but I know my compliments right, you know your accomplishments that’s not necessarily going to help because I have another chapter on, if you remember this, that looks at the legitimate role that luck timing. Yes, likability and connections play in our success so maybe somebody did help you get your foot in the door, maybe you were a legacy admission into college, maybe you were literally at the right time at the right place, but you were the one who had to follow through yeah what and deliver the goods and I think importantly often it’s more women say well yeah

it’s just because they liked me right that they thought my presentation was great as if, like ability wasn’t a skill set.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes.

Valerie Young: It you know I used to hire people I worked in a fortune 200 company and we hired people, and you know, two people being roughly equally qualified or even one person was a little less qualified on paper, but they brought more personality you’d go with the personality, because you who do you want to work with 4050 hours a week.

Cindra Kamphoff: Right absolutely and I also think about sometimes when I have looked back and said, well, I was in the right place at the right time, I tried to attribute that to well, I made the decision to be there right and then it just happened by luck right so when we hear ourselves attributing our success in that way, that it was just luck or someone helped me in the right place at the right time, what would you say that we should do to really build our confidence and not feel less like an imposter.

Valerie Young: Right, we’re starting to starting it’s like we had this trick scale so what’s happening is only negative evidence counts right because you’re explaining away all the positive stuff and so only negative evidence counts and a lot of it has to do with how we’re defining competence.

Cindra Kamphoff: Okay.

Valerie Young: To me, I always tell people if you read only one chapter read Chapter six the competence rule book for mere mortals because to me bar none, that is the fastest path to kind of unlearning imposter syndrome is to recognize that people who don’t feel like imposters are no more intelligent capable competent, qualified than you are I it’s just in the exact same situation where we might feel like an imposter you know, maybe job interview big client meeting having to make a presentation getting critical feedback they’re thinking different thoughts like that’s it and what they’re thinking differently it’s not just like motivational pep talk like you’ve got this and you can do it and you deserve to be here that’s not going to move the needle in any lasting way because they think very differently about three things competence of what it means to be competent, they have a different response to failure mistakes and constructive criticism and they think differently about fear.

Cindra Kamphoff: Okay.

Valerie Young: Show it’s about being able to become consciously aware what is the conversation going on your head when you’re having a normal imposter moment and then, how could you reframe that the way you would imagine somebody who is humble I’m not talking about narcissistic smartest guy in the room, but you know that 30% who doesn’t feel like imposters or those that people, those people are humble but they’ve just never felt like an

imposter and it’s because they’re thinking differently, how might they look at it, so can I give you a quick.

Cindra Kamphoff: Example I would love an example you’re given a big project and your first responses oh my God, I have no idea what I’m doing right or a big promotion or new job.

Valerie Young: Well, you know, like if you walk into a setting and you go Oh, you know what the imposture things oh my God everyone here is brilliant and what you’re really saying is and I’m not. Yes, as opposed to walking and going wow there’s so many brilliant people here, this is great I’m going to learn a lot or yeah when you feel like an imposter and somebody gives you even constructive criticism it just wounds us, you know we just goes right to our soul and we let it be more about who we are, as a person, I think, yes, who don’t feel like imposters they see it as a gift they seek it.

Valerie Young: You know it’s kind of like sports, I mean you know, obviously you got. Yeah, look it was worse, I always tell people like intellectually, we know somebody’s going to win Tom Brady. To do that somebody’s going to lose like we understand that with a sports team, but when it’s us we forget right and we are just you know opt out, or we step back, but the losing team, they can be crushingly disappointed right there crying in their cow on the sidelines, but they don’t hang up the uniform and go home they go watch the game tape.

Cindra Kamphoff: They get more code yeah and they say we’ll get them.

Valerie Young: Next time, so it started we’re happy if we don’t get the job, we blow the presentation of the big deal but know how to push to do different things, with it, they see they look at it as a learning opportunity and like regroup from there.

Cindra Kamphoff: And I remember reading in your book about some research that you reported that women tend to when they get criticism that they take it, the anger and frustration, they take it more personally what How would you articulate that, given the research.

Valerie Young: yeah well you know I was speaking at NASA and this engineer this woman, after what she said she got in her performance review and her boss told her like four or five things where she was outstanding and she said, so I asked is there any place, I could improve and he said yes, and she said, and then he told me, and I was depressed for weeks and he because he criticized me I said “Do you mind if I ask what the criticism was” and she said he told me I could have delegated more in my last project Okay, no that wasn’t criticism that was information. You know, he was giving you valuable information that you need to get better. Yeah, I think that you know women, I think we often confuse confidence and competence. Okay, we think that confident people Oh, if I was really competent, I’d be confident 24/7 and good luck with that, like if that’s your goal, good luck with that right, we have moments of confidence, we have moments of fear and that’s true for everyone, yeah somehow, we set this bar for ourselves insanely high and that no human could ever consistently hit.

Cindra Kamphoff: I think that’s a really great point Valerie that I do think that we generally think that our confidence should not waver and, if you look at high performers they’ll say, “you know, like, I felt confident at this moment and I lacked confidence at this moment, but I still acted in a confident way” right but we just expect that we’re always going to feel confident, no matter what kind of situation or in.

Valerie Young: Absolutely and it’s just not realistic but you know the research shows that in a leaderless group, people are more willing to follow the more confident person over the more competent person, which is kind of scary when you think about it right, like you, sound like you know what you’re doing you really do let’s go with a confident person and what I always tell women especially or anybody with imposter feelings is that you’re already competent, right now, full stop doesn’t mean you’re not growing learning gaining more skills, but you know we’re all kind of relatively intelligent were able to kind of figure things out as we go along, but what I think what a lot of us need to work on is feeling more confident and to your point acting confident, even when we don’t 100% feel that way.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah excellent so in the book valor you talk about seven reasons that lead us to feeling like an imposter one is that we’re human which I liked that one, I think the other ones, towards the end where when you’re a stranger in a strange land, and I think the last one was when you feel like you’re speaking for a group right, like all women or all people of color tell us what some of those other reasons, people report, you know that leads them to feeling like an imposter.

Valerie Young: Right well the first one actually is that you were raised by humans. There we go by humans just actually speaking, if you were raised by humans, you have a far greater chance because we do get some messaging maybe growing up from even well intentioned parents that might lead us to be perfectionist or think we always have to get the a’s or maybe we didn’t get a lot of praise growing up, I mean either one will send you into therapy right just saying you know there’s really so many iterations that that can take I think it’s useful to look back at how was success to find in your family.

Cindra Kamphoff: Okay, what did that mean, have you exceeded your family’s expectation, have you fallen short again either one will send you to therapy. How did your family respond or early successes early setbacks or failures and take a look at that, but don’t get stuck there?

Valerie Young: Okay, you know just wallowing in you know, there are these folks out there who do coaching and they’re trying to help people find like their wounds like that one thing that happened in childhood or early on that led you to feel this way well, maybe it’s just because you are Michelle Obama and you now have to represent, you know you are the first black first lady you Google me first generation, you know professional right first generation or family to go to college some of the factors I mentioned, there situational factors like students, as a group, especially graduate students are more likely to feel like imposters which makes sense because they’re being literally having their intellect and knowledge tested literature class right, day in and day out a PhD students are my favorite audience because they’re in such pain and they get

my jokes, but, by definition, if you’re setting for a PhD. you feel like an imposter partly being a student partly you’re not expected to be a scholar you’re surrounded by highly educated people. I get organizational culture can play a role, and if there’s just not a lot of folks who look like you, or maybe sound like you when I speak at universities and I have spoken to over 100 universities around the world, the biggest group to show up for the international students. Okay, I say to them, of course, you feel like an imposter you get the same pressures everyone else has but you’re doing it another culture, often in a second language so again, it goes back to kind of normalizing.

Cindra Kamphoff: And that’s when I really appreciated about your book is yeah, we were raised by humans, and we are human and so there’s nothing wrong with having these feelings of inadequacy. So, let’s talk a little bit about know I think we’ve already talked about the sun, but okay for those people who, you know feel like they are in. The imposter race, right now, and would you say it’s something that kind of comes and goes in our life or is there any kind of general tendencies that of people, people might experience as a whole.

Valerie Young: Well, I think if you’re kind of coping in protecting strategy is to kind of hold back you know fly under the radar does not go for more challenging opportunities. You don’t grow your business you don’t ask questions you raise your hand and many ways that’s going to in many ways, you probably feel somewhat less like an imposter because you’re putting yourself in fewer places to feel that way and that’s your coping mechanism, right, head down stay in my job for 20 years get really good at it don’t stretch and I’m not you know so you’re less likely to feel like an imposter. If you’re constantly stretching and advancing in your organization going your business trying new things, you’re putting yourself in situations where you’re going to feel more stress and anxiety and more, you’re trusting yourself so more likely to happen posture feelings, as you go along, but if you know what they are, and you can expect it it’s like oh there’s that imposter thing, of course, I feel this way listen if Oprah calls me tomorrow.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah.

Valerie Young: I would have this like imposter robot right, but see my goal is not to cure imposter syndrome, if that happens that’s great to me it’s about giving people information and insight and tools, so when you have a normal imposter moment you can talk yourself down faster.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah that’s wonderful and so I’m thinking about you know I try to push myself a lot I think that’s just part of my personality, but also what I feel like I’m called to do and that’s what I feel like it the most I’m really pushing myself trying new things, building my business in different ways, and when I just heard you say that I thought to myself when I feel that anxiety or pressure or nervousness what I have to do is just reinterpret it differently.

Cindra Kamphoff: You know if I just said something like well there’s the imposter of its normal it’s natural okay, and I can choose right now to change my focus into something more important, you know. What do you think?

Valerie Young: In the reframe is like yeah, I’m winging it right now, like because I haven’t done it before but it’s not a negative it’s like it’s always about kind of jumping in and trusting that you can figure it out as you go along, you don’t have to know everything before you begin, and I think so often, we think that we do. You know, years ago, over a period of years I trained over 300 people to be kind of outside the job box career coaches and we’d set up this big program where people were going to come to this chat thing and ask questions and they were going to have to answer them to potential clients and they kept asking me all these questions well what will happen if we do this, or what will happen if that happens, and I would say, I have no idea because I’ve never done this before, but you know so we’ll figure it out and show, many of them Sandra said that was the biggest takeaway that you don’t have to know everything going and there’s some things.

Valerie Young: You’re never going to know everything it’s like the equivalent of trying to get to the end of the Internet.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, that’s impossible.

Valerie Young: Exactly. You know so many people we’ve all done it you’re sitting in a meeting or a class and somebody speaking, and you don’t understand, but you don’t raise your hand because you don’t want to sound stupid, right? We’ve all done it somebody else asked our question or shares our idea and they go oh brilliant like oh damn. That was my question the point that I make to people is it’s not about knowing everything I want them to not know with confidence meaning I want them to be the person in the room who confidently raises their hands, excuse me, I don’t understand, do you mean this or do you mean that could you explain that again I’m confused because it’s coming from this place of realizing yours entitled as the next person to have a question and here’s the thing if you are the only woman in the room, or you’re the youngest person you’ve got a disability or you’re a person of color and is not a lot of folks who look like you, it is riskier to be that person, but here’s the thing, nobody we have none of us have any control of what anybody in the room thinks of us we can’t control that we can only control our response.

Cindra Kamphoff: Love it. I’m thinking Valerie just about our internal judge and when we view ourselves as an imposter, we’re really like judging ourselves and maybe judging ourselves to compared to others, or the circumstance, or you know the event or experiencing. Do you see that as well or kind of tell us what you think the role of it is?

Valerie Young: I know judges there’s there was a study out of I think it was University of Austria that found that people who tested low for self-compassion, um we’re more likely to feel like imposters they tested higher for imposter phenomenon, people who had higher self- compassion for how they spoke to themselves had less imposter syndrome, which makes perfect sense and here’s the thing I always tell people, you can be crushingly disappointed. You know if you fail, or you blow the presentation, or whatever it might be, but not ashamed.

Valerie Young: The only time you feel shame is, if you didn’t try, or if you procrastinated so long, which can be a coping mechanism around imposter syndrome that it really was reflected in the results, then shame on you, but if you gave it your best shot again be disappointed, but not ashamed.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah excellent, I and I’m hearing that one of the ways we can reduce our imposter is increasing our self-compassion being kind to ourselves when we make a mistake, or we fail, or we judge ourselves a judge ourselves be really soften that inner critic that we have.

Valerie Young: Right and to reframe what it means to be competent. You know I talked about those five competences types the perfectionist. The expert, the natural, genius, the soloist, and the superwoman you know all of them have a skewed distorted unrealistic idea about what it means to be competent, and I think that’s the core reason why people feel like imposters there’s all the external stuff that I talked about organizational culture and the field that you’re in, and you know, being the only one in the room.

Valerie Young: But that’s where we can have the biggest impact by changing how we think about what it means to be competent.

Cindra Kamphoff: And what would you say is sort of like the best way to view competence, so that we don’t get stuck in this imposter feelings.

Valerie Young: Well shorthand competence isn’t about doing everything perfectly it’s not about knowing everything it’s not about doing things quickly or easily or alone. To me competence is knowing how to identify the resources it takes to get the job done Okay, so the resource might be oh I’ve never done a podcast but oh Now I know syndrome I’m going to see if I could pick her brain on how to do a podcast or maybe you need to do it, you know budget right, you know I need I need training or coaching or you know what is it that I need that’s going to allow me to get the job done.

Cindra Kamphoff: Love it awesome there’s a few things in your book that I really liked and one of those as you could tell a tab to the last. One of the things I want to read to people and I’d love for you to comment on this, as you said, “people who identify with the imposter syndrome externalize their successes by attributing it to factors outside of themselves” and you already talked a little bit about this like luck, or you know they like me or factors, you know.

Valerie Young: The diversity higher yeah.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, there we go so when we do this, what would be the advice that you would give us to attribute it to ourselves.

Valerie Young: Well, as I said before, if timing really does play a role to kind of step back and go Okay, but what did I you know let’s say you’re at a networking event and you ran into the perfect future client great timing, if you don’t follow up or if you can’t deliver the goods it

doesn’t really matter. Somebody can get your foot in the door right, so I think it’s a matter of kind of stepping back and looking at what is that you, you are bringing to the table and it’s not knowing it all doing it perfectly doing it all alone. But you know what is the piece, that you are bringing to the situation. I have something to contribute.

Cindra Kamphoff: Do you think there’s what we have missed related to imposter syndrome, or the way to you know build our confidence and feel less like an imposter.

Valerie Young: I think one is to get more comfortable with winging it. Cindra Kamphoff: Okay.

Valerie Young: You know we’re trusting that we can jump in and figure it out as we go along and let’s say you’re in a meeting and you really are feeling like oh boy I’m over my head right there’s a line that I master, which is to say, you know you’ve given me a lot to think about you know, then you come back after you’ve had some time to think about it, you know, actually, I also think that realizing that this is not all about you. Kind of everybody loses when bright people hold back play small burnout because they’re a workaholic because that you’re coping mechanism around imposter syndrome, I know, for me, when I was a doctoral student I was procrastinating horribly. On writing my dissertation I had the cleanest house in North Hampton Massachusetts at that time and my friend Rita I don’t all the research right, so I’d like you know 600 pages of transcribed interviews. My friend Rita wrote me a letter pre-email and said Valerie you have to finish because you’re learning things that could help a lot of women.

Valerie Young: And I see like oh my God. Yes, how selfish, am I. Like people are waiting for me, I have to hurry, and it’s actually been found that for women, especially tying your result to a positive benefit for someone else can be a motivating factor that can help us get out of our own way.

Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent so I really, I just wrote down the phrase you just said, because that hit home for me is like people are needing me, they need to know what I’m learning or they need to they need to learn from my experiences and if I’m holding back if I’m playing small then I’m not really serving those people who need to hear my message, or who I need to impact in some way.

Valerie Young: Right or I’m not you know, or if I don’t throw my hat into the ring to run for office I can’t be helping to make policy decisions that will help my children and will help you know my other people in the world are things that I care about or if I don’t take go after this promotion I’m going to earn less money and that’s going to have an impact on you know my family, for example, show your other consequences that go beyond you.

Cindra Kamphoff: I really enjoyed the end of your book where you are emphasizing playing big and you gave us these Rights, the rule, so the list of rules it’s, I think, on page 249 tell us, maybe if you’ve those rules to help us play big as we wrap up today.

Valerie Young: Well, I think, at the heart of so much of this is that we feel like we don’t have the right to have an off day To not understand to be wrong so it’s a list of rules that actually I don’t know where it came from, which was circulating when I was back in graduate school and the college of education at Umass and I’ve added a little bit to it but it’s this list of rights, like, I have the right to have enough day to not understand to ask for help. To have all the information explained to me, even if the other person is busy, I have the right to ask for additional compensation for additional work so there’s I think 20 rules there and I would in workshop, I would invite people to go down the list and check off the rules, you sometimes have trouble believing and tonight intellectualize just like your gut and I just see people going check and then I say star, the one that if you could change that if you could really believe that you have that right.

Valerie Young: Okay, that would have the biggest positive impact on your life What would it be.

Cindra Kamphoff: And what did people typically indicate on that.

Valerie Young: Oh, you know it’s different for everybody, the right to say no. Yeah you know, the right to make a mistake. That you know, is a wonderful interview, there was an article in The New York Times years ago by Betty Rollin she was an NBC news correspondent, and she described this having this I’m in over my head and they’re going to find out feeling throughout her whole professional career. So, she goes to this producer who she said, by the way, was as competent, as he thought he was and she basically said, you know hey Bob when you’re working on a big news story, do you ever worry it’s going to kind of blow up he’s like sure merrily. Well, you know if it did like you know, would you blame yourself he’s like no like no and I think she said, well, what if it was your fault, like would you feel bad he’s like no why, so why should I said, are nine title to make a mistake once in a while yeah I remember reading that line over and over because that was new information to me sure, so the more we can go hey you know I’m entitled and not understand make a mistake, have an off day and let things you know roll office more quickly.

Cindra Kamphoff: I’m going to ask questions there’s a few there that really hit home for me the right to say no, without feeling guilty. The right to express pride at my accomplishments the right to fail and to learn from the experience to occasionally have an off day and not perform up to par so all of that is like self-compassion and feeling like we have to be less perfect.

Valerie Young: Right because we expect let’s say you’re a speaker, you know we expect that this academy award winning performance every single time and it’s the equivalent of an actor actress thinking that they’re going to win the Oscar every single time.

Cindra Kamphoff: yeah.

Valerie Young: You know I did this, I’m sure you’re aware that in your own speaking career, but I did like a five-city tour in British Columbia, every city was different right. It was the exact same

talk in some rooms, as soon as you walked in the room, was like electric they’re bouncing off the walls, they loved it another room, you know, and I realized like there was there was no difference, other than the audience so it’s not always it’s not always us like to give ourselves so much credit for everything being you know about us.

Cindra Kamphoff: Excellent Valerie I am so grateful that you joined us today just such incredible information that you really shared today in terms of I know it’s helped people and helped improve their life so I’m grateful that you kept studying imposter syndrome and that you wrote this book I’d encourage everyone to grab it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, I think it’s powerful the secret thoughts of successful women and you could visit Valerie and her speaking engagements at imposter syndrome COM where else can we follow you Valerie. Is there any final thoughts, you have for us as we wrap up today?

Valerie Young: You know, one is to realize that there’s a certain amount of arrogance to the imposter syndrome, because what we’re really saying is other people are so stupid. They don’t realize were incompetent so imagine Sandra you said to me, oh Thank you Valerie that was very good great job and I said oh really Sandra wow Have you ever done a podcast interview before seriously.

Cindra Kamphoff: To get out of the house much or what I call absurd and how arrogant within yeah, we say.

Valerie Young: Thank you Cindra.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, so would you tell us that when just to say thank you more often, or what would you.

Valerie Young: Really, you know, because we also we tend to give back compliments. Yeah, we go oh, thank you, oh, but you know what I did see that typo on page three, or did you notice when I screwed up you know I stumbled over my words like we turn ourselves in, we do these true confessions.

Cindra Kamphoff: Isn’t that so true so when you receive a compliment say thank you. Valerie Young: I appreciate that.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, this is an incredible interview Thank you so much Valerie for being on today.

Valerie Young: Thank you.