In this video, presented with General Assembly, Timothy Thomas, Lead Career Coach at RecruiterReady and Coaching Technology Group, Inc., examines the phenomena of Imposter Syndrome, and what you can do if you feel like you have it. Transcript is available underneath the video.

Katie 0:13
Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Katie. I am zooming in from the GA Seattle campus. And thanks for joining us this afternoon. If you’ve been to a general assembly class before, welcome back. For those of you who don’t know us, I’m just going to give a quick rundown of what General Assembly is all about. GA is a tech education company. And our specialty areas include UX design, data marketing, and software engineering. In addition to the hard skills that we offer, we also host free wrote events surrounding career development just like this one, which can all be found on our main events page, and I’ll post that in the chat as well. As a reminder, this session is being recorded and will be sent out to you following the event, please type in any questions you might have for our speaker using the q&a feature, and that is at the bottom of your screen. We will get to those questions towards the end of the presentation. Today, I’m excited to introduce Tim Thomas, who will be leading our session. Tim is an executive coach and career consultant and the founder of Career Technology LLC. That being said, Please enjoy the rest of this session. And Tim, I will hand it over to you.

Tim Thomas 1:28
Great, thank you is that chat window sitting in the middle of my presentation right now? Can you see that? From zoom?

Katie 1:34
I do not see the chat window. Okay,

Tim Thomas 1:37
great, then I won’t worry about it. All right, great. Welcome, everybody. My name is Tim Thomas. I am the lead executive coach and the principal, employee coaching technology group and a coaching technology group. We do a few different things. I do a lot of coaching for individuals and professionals. Both individual contributors, first line second line managers primarily in corporations, helping them to work on their navigation skills inside the workplace communication, leadership, things like things of that nature. I also work with a lot of startups out of Silicon Valley, helping those founders, build companies and hire the right people, and then also help manage those early teams. And then the place where you’re all coming together. And meeting with me is around career. And we do two main things in career, we do career trajectory, which is for people who are ready to make a switch. And they’ve been doing one kind of work, they’d like to do another kind of work. And they’re not sure how to talk about their skills. And we also do career transition, which is a practical tactical kind of offering. And in the practical tactical piece we do, we do all the materials, resumes, cover letters, interview prep, things of that nature. So today, we’re going to talk about something that’s coming up across all different areas where I do coaching, and it’s become a pretty powerfully trending concept, this idea of imposter syndrome. So first up just a little bit about me. So I’m 52. And I started my career in tech in 1993. I went to school to be in communications by choice, I thought I was going to do radio, television or newspaper. But I’m also pretty good at spotting trends. And I felt like the media trends weren’t very favorable. So when I got out of school, rather than go right into immediate career, I kind of floated around a little bit. And through some good fortune and the intervention of a career coach, I ended up at startup, and it was a little bit before the World Wide Web. So I had a very typical startup experience where the startup did not make it, but it was really good formative. And one of the things that came out of that was the chief scientist at that company, who went on to be the chief scientist for Bill and Melinda Gates his house gave those of us who are working there crash course in object oriented computer programming and showed us this thing called the World Wide Web. And as a media person, I recognize what that was right away. And spent about six months trying to get into a company that was doing web development, and then really lucked out and stumbled into the company, Wizards of the Coast, where I became the first web developer and manage the website for a decade. So after I’ve worked at wizards, I was consultant for a little while. Went back into another startup. And then when the economic crash happened in 2008, I decided I wasn’t going to work for a single specific company ever again. So we have someone with like live transcription turned on Katie, if you’re if that’s possible. Okay, so independent tech consulting did a lot Got a web development, Search Engine Marketing search engine optimization. And then after almost a decade of that, I decided to become a professional coach who got my training. And first job I had out of coaching. Is was working in career transition, which is how we got here. So Okay, is there okay? All right, should we take a break to get live trance? Okay, looks like it might be on Great. ICE has been enabled. Alright. Thanks, everybody. Okay, so since then I’ve worked with a lot of individuals in coaching, many of them around career transition more than 400 people I’ve worked with specifically seeking jobs and really refine the techniques that we do for that. So what are we going to leave with today, I hope, I’d like you all to leave with a point of view about impostor syndrome, some tips and tricks about developing your mindfulness, some ways to reframe your point of view, if you’re feeling like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome, and some ways to really see yourself maybe in a new way. So there’s going to be a couple of opportunities here to do very quick exercises, if you have a pen and paper or if you want to get a, a Word doc up or something, we’re going to do a little bit exploration, but it’s going to be very quick, very brief, just want you to be prepared for that if you want to participate. There won’t be any sharing. So it’s just, we’re just going to do the activity to do it for ourselves.

Okay, so there’s a lot out there in the media, random impostor syndrome. And it’s become an idea, right, that people have really latched on to. And I do know that some people do really feel like they are fakes at work. And that just, if ever, if anyone knew what they did is in terms of like, how they struggled with work, or how hard they worked, and how they tried to make it look easy that, you know, this is the area where people are feeling the pain, but it’s been around for a while, like it goes all the way back to the 80s 1980s. Okay, so we’re back to when I was a teenager. But you know, with this was just an article in the Harvard Harvard Business Review, you can read the quote there, right, I underline that part about how they really emphasize the idea that you feel like fraud. And 10 years before that, in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, they had a slightly different term for it. This researcher called it the imposter phenomenon. I updated the code a little bit that we stayed in the same zone. But part of it is that it says, you know, that individuals, even though they’re told that they’re doing well, they internally maintain the state, where they are convinced for themselves that they’re fraud. So the term has its roots, really, from the 1970s. And during the 1970s, the late 70s, there was a big change in the culture, gender norms, were starting to shift. And there was a strong message that women were meant to be at home and raise children, and yet some were going out and being very successful as executives, it was a very different time than it is today. And so there were a lot of competing feelings for for the women. And so these researchers, Pauline Clance and Suzanne IMEs they did some research on the imposter phenomenon, which was talking about the internal experience of these women who were high achievers in corporate roles in a time that was, for lack of a better word pretty anti woman in the workplace. So, Dr. Plants, she continued to do research and in 1985, she created an assessment, the imposter phenomenon scale, and she identified six main I see five here, but maybe on the other, maybe I dropped one. We’ll go look on the next page. Several specific things that she measured for there were impacting people who felt like they were imposters So one was a need to be seen as special. Adopting the concepts of needing to be a Superman or Superwoman a person without flaws or with very few flaws. That they were driven by their fear of failure. They would often deny that they had that they had strong abilities and they would just count the praise. And sometimes they feel fear or guilt about their success. And again, a lot of this had a very strong cultural backdrop in in a more patriotic whole society where these women were actually challenging the social norms. So they felt like they needed to be one way that they were showing up in another or the culture said they should be one way, and they were showing up in a different way. So I don’t know, for those of you on the call today, if any of this stuff is relatable, but it’s, you know, I think there’s there’s quite a bit here around feeling like impostor syndrome is really zapping you, and that your negative thoughts really are part of this. So and yeah, there will be, you’ll receive that the deck of this. Okay, so those are the main things there we’ve talked about. So that’s all great. We’ve established this piece. But you know, the question is, what can we do? If we feel this way? If we feel like we have impostor syndrome, like, what do we notice from these definitions of imposter syndrome? So, for those of you who are, you know, old pop culture nerds, this is a slide that comes out of the Music Man, Music Man is a Broadway musical about a con man who comes into town and convinces the town that

they have great musical ability, right? So the main thing around impostor syndrome is, all these definitions revolve around our own feelings of being a fraud. Or let’s use some other words that are even more challenging a fake, a phony pretender, or an actor with an intention to deceive. So if you feel like impostor syndrome is part of your life, I want you to just get in touch with the that feeling that, that you might be, you know, embodying one of these ideas here. And now we’re going to do a little quick exercise. Okay, and this is called fraud, fake and phony. So what I’d like you to do is meet, get out a piece of paper and a pen or get on a notepad or get out word or something. And just write down on this list as fast as you can, the ways where you feel you may be a fraud of fake or phony and where you’ve where you are really tricking your coworkers and thinking, you know, stuff that you actually don’t, okay, this is just for you, we’re not, we’re not going to share this, there’s not not going to be any sharing in the group today around it. But give it all you got. And just for the next 30 seconds or so. Write a bunch stuff down okay.

All right, great. So, hopefully some of you are taking taking advantage of this exercise, and you’re putting a bunch of things down on the list. Okay, so just notice these things. Okay. So, as we work through our presentation, today, we’re going to do some work, processing these ideas that you put down on the list. Okay, so, what here’s, here’s a quick story around this idea. So you know, I worked at Wizards of the Coast, where all we did was make things up. So everything we did was imaginary. We had to create rules to work out things that we weren’t going to do in real life, like combat, and casting magic spells in this. So you know, just get the idea that we’re being total fakes. And that were often challenged with the idea of like, is, Are these real jobs? Like, can we have professional jobs working on fantasy items like this? Like, what’s it about? And you know, there were lots of people at wizards, they did not suffer from impostor syndrome. They were dyed in the wool gaming professionals, also nerds, okay, and geeks, and weirdos. But they were they were not riddled with self doubt about that. They were just they were very committed, they were going to do this work, and they were going to create these things for the world. So one of the challenges that wizards and this is a little imagery from from a magic card here is the company itself was founded by people who liked the game. They weren’t really business professionals. And so they were kind of like the dog that caught the car. So there were many times when in the early days of the company, where people didn’t know how to do things that would otherwise be considered pre normal. In fact, I used to joke that wizards people who worked at wizards were In the office outcasts in other types of businesses, and when we tried to hire someone who was more of a traditional business person, they didn’t stay very long because it could, they didn’t understand what we were up to or what we were about. So we weren’t very good at doing normal stuff in terms of running a business. And when we didn’t like how we felt about that, we would fight about it inside of the company. So Richard Garfield, who is the creator of Magic, The Gathering, he was, is a mathematics professor. So when we were having difficulty with people getting along in the organization, he would speak at the all hands meeting, where he addressed a group of people, and he’d say, you have to take the attitude of a student. So what did he mean by that? Well take a look at the list that you wrote for yourself. And ask yourself, Is this list of someone who’s trying to trick somebody? Or is it really just a list of things that haven’t been fully mastered yet? Right, when we’re a student, we know that we don’t know something. And we’re willing to say, we don’t know, we enroll in the class so that we can learn about it. And it turns out that life is just one big class. And that sometimes we’re not an expert in something. And if we’re not, we need to be able to speak to that and be vulnerable about what we do and don’t know. So consider whether or not you might actually be a student, you know, what would have to happen for you to gain mastery. So that that list is about things that you need to learn and not things that you feel you’re deceiving people about. And you know, what would have to happen free to make space to feel vulnerable, different from feeling victimized by what you don’t fully know. Now, some people are not sure what I mean, when I’m talking about a distinction between being vulnerable, and being victimized. So here’s what I mean by that. If you don’t feel like you can make a mistake. And then you do make a mistake, and it gets pointed out. You may feel victimized, like you did something wrong, or that people are being critical of you. If you’re able to appreciate you’re just a student, and sometimes you’re not going to get an A on something, you’re going to going to do your best, then you’re being vulnerable. And vulnerable says I’m not perfect. And sometimes I make mistakes. And it’s it’s not going to end nothing’s going to end like no lives are lost in this.

So, you know, what is it? What if you are actually a student and not an impostor? Okay, well, our culture, and communities have changed a lot. So impostor syndrome was not spoken about in, across, you know, across gender lines. And, you know, and things like that until most recently, okay, so we’re seeing it a lot more in people now than we did in the past. And so what’s really changed? Well, it was usually we had to meet people to compare ourselves with them. So we really had a very small group of people, some of whom were doing better, some of whom were not doing as well. We’re also interacting with them a lot more in real life, and we had a more thorough picture of them, okay, like a full view of who they are, we can see them in their high points in their low points. And not everybody’s always having a great day. But social media and media in general have learned how to capture our attention, and trigger our dopamine system and get us really comparing and contrasting what someone else is presenting on social media. But the main thing to recognize is this is media. So since it’s media, it’s being curated and created. So the things that we see are only what people choose to share. And I don’t know what any of your news feeds or like if your social media consumers. But you know, we curate people if there’s a lot of if someone’s a real, really negative a lot, we may unfriend them or we may mute them. If somebody seems to be doing exceptionally well, we may feel jealous or wish that we were on vacation, or we could afford the things that they seem to be able to afford. So we are in a trap where we are in constant comparison across a broad range of people, some of whom can’t are presenting a more thorough picture of themselves than others. Okay, so we don’t all know everything. But we do know something. And other people know different things. So if we’re being a student, we can say when we don’t know something, we have the power to learn about it. And this is where vulnerability fits in, which is to be able to say I don’t know how to do that yet. And maybe you’ll notice if you’re feeling like impostor syndrome is something that’s showing up in your own Life, ask yourself this question, does not knowing something, actually make me a fraud? Am I an impostor if I don’t know? Or is this something that I just need to spend some time to learn? So this leads us to a pretty big kind of philosophical concept. Okay, so when we’re when we come into the world, as human beings, we are in a fight for survival, we need food, we need shelter, you know, some of you are probably familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Okay? So we’re engaged in survival at a deep level, it is the default condition that we’re in as peoples. And what do we need to do to survive, we need to be able to assess our environment, and the people and things that are in it to figure out who’s friend foe, who’s, who’s the hunter, who’s the prey, things, things of that nature, it’s deep in our wiring. And if we lost the trappings of civilization, we will rapidly go back to this place. Okay? Also, we tend to also assess ourselves and whether or not we can survive threats and get the idea that if someone’s doing better than us, and has more of their survival needs met, that they’re actually a threat, they felt that they’re, they have better resources than we do. And that can get us upset. Okay. And here’s the most important part, this is just being human being. We’re wired for a survival. Now, here’s the cool part. We’re different from most other animals. Now, some of you may say, you know, there is higher thinking in whales, dolphins, cephalopods, okay, sure, no problem, but we’re really talking about people here. And what we can measure talk about and communicate about for people is that we have access to executive function through our frontal lobes here. And so because we can do thinking, not just have thoughts, we can generate new points of view. And this is also part of being human. It’s one of our gifts, okay? So when we give ourselves room to be thinkers, and not just thought havers, we can create something new.

So, now I’d like you to, to get out your list maker, again, on a different sheet. And I’d like you to think about, in what ways are you a contribution to other people. So when you’re in the realm of contribution, that means you’re really thinking about how you can give something to people, something separate and different from getting so in survival, we’re thinking about getting in the realm of assessment, we’re thinking about getting and fixing, okay, but in contribution, we’re thinking about how we can give, what kind of person we are and what we can give to other people. So I’m gonna give you just a few seconds here, to think about that and try to get some things out on the list, I want you to go at it with the same vigor that you went through the list around places where you feel like you’re being a fraud or fine, okay.

Okay, great, if you’re not done yet, you can just keep working on your list if you’ve got a lot of ideas that are still going down on a on a sheet. Okay, here’s something I’d like you to ask yourself and notice, right, like, notice, if making this list of being a contributor, was more difficult than the list of the ways that you’re being an impostor. And then notice if you’re assessing yourself about how hard it was to make a list as a contributor, Okay, over here in the realm of assessment, we’re thinking about a bunch of different things. Who’s good, who’s bad, who’s smart, who’s dumb? who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s moral who’s immoral? Okay? It sometimes I call this kind of punch your way out of a paper sack. Because we’re judging other people and then we’re judging ourselves and And we’re judging whether or not other people have the right to judge us. And it’s assessing, assessing, assessing, and frankly, it’s exhausting. So, over on the other side over here is this realm of contribution. And in the realm of contribution, we say, What can I give? What do people need? What if I just asked, ask them, I can tell them what I can and can’t do. And we are able to communicate effectively. Okay, so this is a challenge zone over here, this is our hardwiring, we can create this generate this other idea here, on the other hand. Okay, so here’s another little story about being in the realm of contribution. And it is, it comes from the Zen Buddhist tradition. So, you know, for those of you who aren’t really familiar with Zen and Zen Buddhism, at the heart of it, the belief is that when we are attached to ideas, concepts, and objects that we’re in the realm of suffering might sound familiar, right, this realm of assessing this realm of suffering. And so in the realm of contribution, the story lives. So at the temple, there’s a Zen master, who’s sitting in in the temple, and a young adult comes up to the master. And he says to him, Master, I feel discouraged. What can I do. And the master just says, encourage.

Now, some of you may be saying, encourage what encouraged myself encourage other people. And that’s part of the riddle of Zen stories, is to allow yourself to think not try to categorize, think about how you can contribute, right, so the ailment of the young monk can be cured by actually living out the cure. And where he feels discouraged, instead of waiting for someone to encourage him, or change his state, pardon me. He can instead go out and start doing the thing, the thing that he’s hungry for, he can stop assessing his his world and move from the land from a realm of suffering, called discouragement, and start creating encouragement in the world around him. So this is all great, all this philosophy. But you know, I want you to have something that’s real that you can start doing today. It’ll help you work through your feelings, if you if you feel like impostor syndrome is something that’s showing up in your life in a way that makes your life work less effectively. Okay? So one thing I can say, as a coach, I have a very strong belief in this, that we’re all able to act our way to a new way of thinking, the place where we’re challenged is knowing what actions to take. Okay, so I’m going to give you three things here, that come out of out of my practice, ran my communication skills and leadership practice that I think make a big difference, and can actually help you to break the cycle of feeling like a fraud. First is something I call positive noticing, okay? And in positive noticing, we want to communicate something to people. So in most conversations that we have with others, we are not very distinct about letting people know who they are for us separate from what we do or do not want them to do. And so I’m sure some of you have gone to people and said, I want to talk to you about the report. Right? And I say that even in this imaginary context, if you’re working in person, you’re like, Oh, God, what does he want? Okay. But if I were to go to you and say, you know, one thing I know from working with you, is you’re always very thorough. And I want to talk to you about the report. Now, you know, that I see you as a thorough person who’s working well, and you can, and because of that you can feel relieved, you’ve been positively noticed about the quality you are for me, and then we can talk about what did or didn’t happen or what I do or do not want, okay, or what did or did not work. Okay, separate. So, positive noticing is really great. It’s gonna feel weird at first, because we don’t normally go to people and say things like, you know, one thing I know about you is how generous you are. Or I know that you really care about your job. The more that the more the statement is about who the person is in the world, and less about how it is how they relate to you, the more powerful the statement can be. So if I say to you, I see you as generous, that’s not as good as saying you are generous.

So you can try this with people in your life. Notice it’s not actually a compliment. Okay, so in our world, most of the time, there’s cause and there’s effect, right? These two elements play off of each other. Most of the time, especially when we’re in the assessment and survival, everything’s at effect. Right? So many of you have worked in offices, pre COVID, we all worked in offices pretty much. And on Fridays, it would be Donut Day, kind of hard to imagine the idea of someone bringing in food from a mysterious place for us to all share and eat, but those days will return. And so on a Friday, you go in and there’s doughnuts. So some people would just go in and they’ll say are the good the doughnuts for no like it there for everybody? And they just pick it down it eat it go back through just not think twice about it. Someone else might say who the doughnuts for their for everybody. And they may say, Oh, great, who picks the doughnuts. And we might say that the office manager, Taylor picks the doughnuts. So you may take a donut, go over to Taylor’s desk and say to them, thanks for the donut. Okay, so the donut arriving was a cause and effect, you said thank you for the donut. That’s appreciation. Okay, so cause and effect. Thank you all of this, this stuff we’re trained to do all the time. Okay, nothing wrong with this, by the way. And I’m not saying that we need to throw anything out. I’m asking you to increase your resourcefulness around this idea. So we’re not replacing anything. That would be assessment, we’re in contribution, I want to give you an idea that can give you more resources. So you can go to Taylor and say, you know, Taylor, one thing I know about you is you’re generous with your time. Or, Taylor, you’re so generous. And I’m wondering something? Can we get more of these cherry donuts? Because these cherry donuts from pot are amazing. Okay, something like that. You guys can kind of get the idea. So what am I modeling here? Well, here, I’m modeling a couple of other things. Okay, so something that we don’t do very often, that I, as a coach, I’ve learned to do pretty much all the time, which is if I have a point of view, I asked for permission to share it rather than try to push it into the conversation waiting for a chance to interrupt somebody else. So if we’re positively noticing people, we’re thinking about them in a positive way, like who they are for us. And then when we have something to share in a conversation, we say, you know, can I share something with you? Or, you know, could I share my point of view on this? And have people say, yes, they’re going to be more receptive to our points of view. And we’re going to be able to have a more productive conversation together. So second thing to think about to change your feeling of being an imposter, is to offer up your point of view, and then people will tell you yes. And then you can share your point of view. And you can notice that they’re acknowledging your point of view, that should give you a sense that your opinion and your point of view is important to others, and that they want to listen. Okay. And then finally, in today’s conversation, the last one is focusing on mutual success. So in the realm of contributing, it’s essential that you think about it, first of all, you believe everyone deserves to win. And that any action that you bring should create success for all parties. Now, I know what the real world is, we all do. So there’s going to be times where we have to make tough decisions. In the times where we don’t have to make tough decisions, we should ask ourselves, is this the life or death decision? Or is this something where we can work on a mutual win together? As a goal, okay, not always the circumstances that you’re in. So, I’d like you to engage in a little game of what if, okay, I want you to notice if you have any, any points of view about yourself, where where you think it proves that you’re an impostor, or a fraud. Okay, so this comes from real people that I’ve worked with here. So, first of all, you need to notice your story. So when you’re holding on to impostor syndrome as a way that you are being considered, it’s actually just a way that you’re acting. And it’s a it’s something that’s coming out of your thoughts, automatically, not something that you’re really thinking to do. Okay, So we have stories that are similar to this, like I’m skeptical of others when people think and praise me.

And so it’s hard to understand where your contribution is, you feel like a fake, or I’ve just been lucky this whole time, right? If you believe that all you’ve been doing is being lucky and you’re not actually working hard, then it’s really hard to accept what’s going on for you, and you can feel like a fraud. Okay, so just notice the hidden assessment in it. The people who are praising you things like they must be dumb, or I’ll bet you they’re setting me up to look like a fool this hat, this thought is stronger than many when I’m coaching people. Or this woman, if they only knew what I think of them, right, because we’re assessing them, think about how a positive noticing might be able to change some of those thoughts too. And, and just notice where you’re where you’re assessing other people, or that you’re like to maintain my right to assess them, they must also be assessing me, that could be happening, okay, but also so what. And then last is you need to learn how to own your recognize your story, notice where the assessment is the and own the story, and what it used to mean. And then you got to let it go. So when people have impostor syndrome, and maybe this is some view on the call today, there’s usually a hidden threat of perfectionism, right? So the inability to show up perfect as a Superman or Superwoman is part of the is part of it. Or, you know, maybe you’re working super hard in the background, and sacrificing a lot of your personal life to make sure that you show up looking as perfect as you possibly can. Okay, but perfection is not what being a human is. And if you’re a human perfection is actually out of reach. And if you have any religious tradition, you can look and see, it’s one of the very first lessons it’s taught in most major religious traditions. Is that to be human is to not be perfect. Okay. And so you’ve probably heard me say this a few times. You can have thoughts. But that’s different than thinking. So your brain is generating thoughts. You may even have thoughts, where’s this guy get this stuff, where he learned? How come he thinks he’s the expert, okay, just notice whatever is going on for you, in there around the thoughts, your brain has to generate thoughts. And those thoughts are related to your personal survival, and assessing your environment. No problem, it’s a thing. There’s nothing to be done about it, except to know that it’s there. When we are thinking, we are generating ideas and thoughts. Or we’re generating Yeah, we’re generating our own thoughts with the with intention coming from our consciousness. So there’s nonconscious thoughts, which are have around survival, okay. And then there is thinking, and thinking is where we create what we want to have happen, you’ve probably all seen or heard about things like the secret and stuff like that, okay, so that’s all around intention. And if you create an intention, then your brain does something, it gets focused on finding what it is that it’s trying to seek. And in our brains are something neurological shaped like a little saddle. And it’s called the reticular activating system. And it literally is the neurology in our brain that has us pursue and tried to prove what we’ve decided is true. If you feel like a fraud, then you’re going to find evidence to keep proving your fraud. If you break the cycle of having thoughts of being a fraud, and you work on your thinking about how your contribution to others, you can start to alter that pattern. When you alter the pattern, you can you can start moving your way out of where you get into a new way of thinking. Okay, so ask yourself, if you’ve created a concept here, where you’re honoring yourself as a fraud, right? Do you have a belief that you’re a fraud? And what can we do to change that around? So first of all, we need to be vulnerable. We only know we know. And we need to be able to say, so when we don’t. Okay, and then this attitude of a student, well, we don’t know may take time to learn, and we can vulnerably share with others. What we do and don’t know about that and how we want to learn about it. And if we can’t do something because we don’t know it. We can either offer to learn and have a contract a verbal contract with somebody about how they’ll accept the outcome. Or we find someone else who can do it. Who knows how. If you contribute,

then it’s really hard to feel like a phony. Oh, So if you feel like a phony, bring the opposite. Remember, I feel discouraged. So encourage, I feel like a fake. So instead, bring off generate authenticity. Okay? Being willing, being willing to be a vulnerable student in the face of what you do and don’t know, and to be willing to share about how hard you’re working, if you’re a person who’s working secret in secret, to try to make it look easy, or you think that other people must have it easy. And you know what everything that we do that turns out great requires hard work, sometimes we hide it, there’s no need to do that you can, you can be proud of how hard you are as a worker. And then finally, practice. You can anyone can change the way that they the way they feel about themselves by taking new actions. Alright, so some of you are doing a little Buddhist talk here. The word karma really means action doesn’t mean retribution in the cosmic sense, that’s over in the realm of assessment, it’s not actually true. Contributing action is where the changes are, okay? So, practice positive noticing, even if you keep it to yourself, seeing people for who they are for you, is going to change how you interact with them. You can respect them for having a point of view and for giving you positive feedback, ask for permission to share, show up as a contribution and look for mutual success and let go those stories that prove that quote, unquote, prove that you’re a fake. Okay, so we’ll take a few questions here in the q&a. And you know, Katie’s going to be part of this too. And here’s some info for you. So if you want to write me an email, you can contact me, that’s my email address. If you want to know more about my coaching practice, you can come to my website, if you want to look at my LinkedIn, that’s my LinkedIn. And if you enjoyed this presentation, and you feel like there might be some possibility of coaching in your future. Because you attended this webinar, I offer an offering a 15% discount on your first two coaching sessions. So if we’re serious, and we get in a conversation, come to my website, and you can schedule with me, and then we’ll talk about that. So that’s all I have for this presentation today. And now we’re going to take, you know, till the top of the hour, we’ll do some questions.

Katie 42:26
Thank you so much, Tim. This was great. And our first question, do you have any favorite resources on this topic, such as movies, books, websites, YouTube speakers, etc.

Tim Thomas 42:40
I really don’t, this is what I’ve put together from so many different sources. And you know, there’s some things in my background. So I’m a Master Practitioner of neurolinguistics. I studied hypnotherapy. I’ve also done a lot of Coach Training, obviously. And so what have I been doing, I’ve been looking to help people to move into, you know, a different way of being in their lives. And so this is really what I’ve come up with. But it really is, it’s a hodgepodge from a bunch of different ideas, certainly just tons of different trainings, things I’ve explored on my own. And then I’ve been really working to try to get into something adjustable that I can share with other people. So that’s what we’ve got going on today. Is that.

Katie 43:27
Great, thank you. Could you explain how imposter syndrome might be linked to perfectionism, anxiety? Or, or procrastination? Is there a root cause to stop?

Tim Thomas 43:40
Yeah, right. Okay. So obviously, we can see that there’s a connection here, which is, it can be hard to get going, if we’re afraid of being judged. And so there’s lots of different ways to think about procrastination. And usually procrastination is about getting into action in the first place. So what are things that we can do? Well, we have to get committed to doing what we say we’re going to do. And believing that it matters when we tell someone that we’re going to do something. So for example, I have a list that I keep, and it’s called promises to clients. Anything I say in a call with somebody that I say I’m going to do for them, I put on my promises list. It’s not a to do list, it’s not a things I might do list, get the power of saying that if I said it out loud, it’s a promise to the other person and they are expecting it. Okay, that will help you to get into action. And another thing around procrastination is it’s rooted in fear. So I’m going to share a little story with you about fear. So many of you have been driving, you know, at dusk, in an in a rural area where there’s a risk of a deer walking into the And if a deer does happen to walk out onto the highway, the, the first thing it will do is freeze in the headlights. And if we slam on their brakes, and we do not hit the deer, thankfully, the deer will snap out of it, and then it will run. And if we’re super mad at that deer for getting in our way, we might jump out of our car and chase that deer. If we somehow cornered the deer, I don’t know how that would happen, then it would fight back. Okay, so humans and deer have a lot in common in that I think we can all agree we’re both mammals. And so at the heart of our thinking, is this neurology around fear. So we talked about fear in the media in a different way we caught we say, fight, or flight. But that’s not really the story, right? The way I told the story is the way we actually experience fear, freeze, flight, if necessary fight. So if you’re having trouble getting into action, notice something about that, that you are being perfectly normal, that you’re afraid, it’s okay to be afraid, by the way, and it’s okay to not even know what you’re afraid of, you’re afraid of getting into action for some reason. That’s something to dig in with a therapist or a coach or some other skilled helper to help you understand where it’s coming from, and that it has you paralyzed. So if you are, if you are in that place, and you cannot get into action, there’s then you need to work with someone to help sort out what it is, is keeping you from moving. You’re not broken. You’re actually supernormal. Okay, and if you did a poll of everybody, you know, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Yeah, I procrastinate. Yeah, I don’t if people don’t have clarity, if you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do, or you don’t know what the outcome is supposed to look like, you may not be able to get into action. So there’s no root cause to stop other than recognizing where your where your fear is, and seeing if there’s something you can do about that.

Katie 47:05
Okay, I love the reframing a to do list as a promises list. That’s such a great concept.

Tim Thomas 47:13
Yeah. And then you never have to feel guilty that you that you didn’t do that you said something, and then you’re like, I don’t know if it’s important or not, if it’s a promise support.

Katie 47:21
Definitely. It looks like we have some time for a couple more questions. Great. Can you go over contribution versus assessment?

Tim Thomas 47:32
Yeah, yeah. Happy to do it. Okay. So assessment is when we’re trying to decide if it’s binary. Okay, so we want to know if something is if someone is good or bad. And we and we wonder if people think we’re good or bad. Okay. So notice that what we’re, we’re figuring out these judgments. So good or bad, right? Or wrong, smart or dumb, moral or immoral or ethical, not ethical, okay, like all these things, and we need, we want to decide something. We’re trying to assess it, we’re trying to give it a score or meaning or something like that. That is very normal. It’s one of the reasons why humans will never stop warring with one another. We’re we’re wired to decide who’s better. And who’s worse. Okay, whose friend whose enemy okay, just, it’s all in there. So that’s okay, we have to accept our humaneness. And if our lives are not working, because there’s too much assessment going on. I’m here to say you can create other contexts. One of those other what I would say maybe infinite contexts that you could be in using thinking, rather than being stuck in your thoughts of who likes me who doesn’t who’s, you know, who’s who sucks? Who doesn’t suck? You know, is I liked that movie does that make me if someone else does, and it might do a bad taste of good taste just because it’s all the stuff, right? They were feeling all the time. So that’s assessment. You’re in assessment. I’m in assessment, okay? I’m not sitting on a mountaintop with my legs crossed going I’m above all this I mean, human and it’s happening to me to what I have learned to do and I’m offering up to you also is that you can create a space to say I’m just think these are just thoughts are coming into my head, I don’t have to respond to them. I don’t have to decide if any of them are true or false. I can say what can I be doing? What action could I take? That could make something different for someone else? How do I get out of myself and my thoughts and all and whether or not someone’s trying to mess with me or you know, like all these things that we have that keep us anxious, keep us paralyzed? And make us feel weird about ourselves? Okay, what if you let it go and said, I’m going to stop being a victim of my thoughts. Okay, I’m instead I’m going to be a vulnerable person who’s thinking That’s the realm of contribution. And how do we know what to contribute by going to people that we care about and asking them what they need from us? Sounds pretty basic. And it’s amazing how frightening it is until you learn how to do it. If you’re able to go to the people you care about and say, What do you need from me? Or when someone gives you feedback, instead of saying, Well, what about you? You say, You know what? I guess I have been acting that way. If you say, I’ve been acting that way, then I guess I’ve been acting that way. That’s not what I want to do. So what could I be doing different? Sounds simple now, okay. It’s hard. I have to eat my own cooking here too, right. So even in my own life, when someone tells me that I’m not living up to their expectation, I have to be able to listen and take it on. Do you think I like it? No. Do I feel assessed at first and want to assess back? Yes. So that hopefully that was a good explanation. And you can understand the difference, right, that we’re normally here and that we have to create this. We’re here for philosophy, psychology, books, NLP and hypnotherapy. Well, you know, I’m a, I have, I’ve read a lot of books. And, you know, I do like early works by John Rinder and Richard Bandler. And you know, that the downside of some of these areas of study is that some of the personalities are controversial. So I want to be real clear that what I’m talking about is the content. And what I felt I got out of it, and not an endorsement of any particular person. I think that there’s a lot to be learned from a lot of late 70s, early 80s, human potential movement areas, okay. Like, some of you may may have heard of, so I think that there’s a lot of good stuff and asked also, obviously, I lean into, you know, things like Zen Mind, beginner’s mind, the book Mindset by Carol Dweck that every, you know, most people are really familiar with. Those are all great places to start. And of course, with NLP, that’s a very deep, broad and deep area of study with a lot of people have contributed, including really well known people like Tony Robbins. And so you could pretty much start anywhere. And then, okay, here’s, I see this one, too, right? So do you ever have fear of success or completion, we’ll make this the last answer. So

of course, I think everyone, or many people suffer from not knowing what completing is, and what is supposed to happen, what is the sensation should have when you complete something, it’s okay, if you don’t know what completion is, this is the area where you can work. If you don’t know what the what the end results gonna look like, you may procrastinate, you may not deliver on your promises, because you don’t know what’s supposed to have supposed to happen. So these things were that you guys are sharing today, right in the q&a, you can see how they’re all pretty tightly interwoven. And the part of it is self acceptance of that we’re not perfect people, and then developing new tactics, new strategies. For moving forward, I’d like to share with you I used to be terrible at completing things. And up until fairly recently, to the frustration of many people around me. And I could not figure out because I had decided my mind if I didn’t do what I said I was going to do, but it didn’t seem to be an impact, what was the big deal. And eventually, people stopped offering me things. And they stopped asking me to do things for them or with them, because they didn’t know for sure if I would deliver or not. And people like to know that you’re going to deliver, if you say you’re going to deliver. So if you’re feeling thwarted by that I would like to say you can make a change. Okay, Coach Training really is the thing that helped me the most, because it helped me realize I was so locked up in my survival mode, my assessing mode, that I couldn’t generate empathy for other people. So you can imagine how challenging that was to go in to become a professional coach and have to make a big intrapersonal. Intra personal change, to be good at this kind of work. Now, the good news is, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t learn it. Okay, so I had to take an attitude of a student and say, I’m not a dyed in the wool jerk face, okay. The way I was showing up was creating something I would call a jerk face. And or maybe just, Tim is a good guy, but dot dot dot, okay, not a fun way to see yourself. So, through these actions, these things I’m sharing with you, there’s a part of what part of my daily practice to show up as a better person overall, and to do to not beat myself up or in when people tell me that they had a good experience, I just say thank you and I believe them, I don’t second guess them or discount them, I give them full, full respect, not just partial respect. So I respect what they do. I respect who they are. And I respect what they have to say to me, and I take it at face value. So hopefully, this was helpful to the people in the group. And it’s been my pleasure to present to everybody here.

Katie 55:28
This was a great session. Tim, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us today. Speaking of completing things, there is an event survey link in the chat if you would like to share your thoughts about this session with us. Thanks to you all for joining us today. We really appreciate you taking your time to learn with us this afternoon, Tim, thank you so much, again, for sharing your time with us. Is there anything you would like to say to the people before we sign off for today?

Tim Thomas 56:00
Yeah, I just want to thank everybody for taking the time to be with us and to look into this area. And if you’re feeling like you’re suffering from this idea of imposter syndrome, I hope this gave you some things to think about some tactics and tips or if there’s someone in your life they feel suffers from you can bring that to them. We’re all just doing our best out there and you’re doing a good job, whoever you are.

Katie 56:24
Love it. Tim, thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your day everyone.

Tim Thomas 56:28
Thanks everybody. Bye

Katie 56:30

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