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EPISODE 59: Impostor Syndrome with Maggie and Madeline

by Nov 9, 2021Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • What it feels like to experience imposter syndrome
  • How to overcome feelings of imposter syndrome as a writer
  • Tips for breaking out of the self-doubt cycle

Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling undeserving or unqualified, despite your education, experience, or abilities. For writers, imposter syndrome can come up in many ways, from writing for clients who are experts in their field, to interviewing people you admire, having imposter syndrome causes you to doubt your own worthiness or skills. 

Guest co-hosts Maggie and Madeline share their own stories of encountering imposter syndrome throughout their writing careers, and how they combat feelings of self-doubt. For many writers, imposter syndrome can make it difficult to confidently go after the goals, projects, and clients you really want.

Here’s a few of the tips they shared for tuning out the little voice in your head that questions whether you deserve it—because you do!

  • If you don’t have belief, try acceptance first. Madeline shared a helpful affirmation she uses in moments she feels like an imposter: “Maybe you don’t believe that you’re good enough for this job, but can you at least accept that other people think you are?” Acceptance goes a long way towards belief.

  • Separate feelings from facts. Your feelings are valid, but they don’t necessarily reflect the truth. Try making a list of all the things you do well, your successes, and the experiences that brought you to where you are today. This is all tangible proof that you can do this!
     
  • Just keep going! The more experience you get, the more your confidence grows. Along the way, remind yourself that you can do this, you do belong, and yes, you are in fact good at what you do!

  • Fake it ‘till you make it. There’s a reason you’re in the position you are today, or have been presented with this new opportunity. Just keep doing the things that got you here! 

 

Homework: 

Join the Polaris Writers Lounge and let us know if you’ve experienced imposter syndrome as a writer, and how you overcome it.

TRANSCRIPT

Jessi:
Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

Marie:
…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Jessi:
Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

Marie:
And if you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.

Maggie:
All right. Hello everyone. And welcome back to another episode of Brand Your Voice Podcast. This is Maggie, and Madeline reporting for duty. Once again. How's it going Madeline?

Madeline:
Good. I'm so excited to get to continue recording episodes for this podcast while Jessi and Marie take a much deserved vacation.

Maggie:
Likewise, and I think our topic for today, it's especially relevant to, you know, young writers or people just starting out on their professional path, but really almost anyone in almost any professional positional struggles with imposter syndrome.

Madeline:
Yep.

Maggie:
What about you, Madeline? Have you had some experience with imposter syndrome?

Madeline:
Yeah, so much, pretty much the well with every job that I've had, but particularly this position at North Star, it took me a very long time to get over some imposter syndrome. I could tell like so many stories and so many examples of, you know, how I've struggled with it, but I mean, one thing that really stands out is actually this position as a writer mentor for North Star.
When, you know, north star was my first like quote unquote real writing job. So I was already, you know, struggling with that some about like, oh, I've never had a copywriting job before. Like, am I really good enough for this position? And I was starting to get comfortable with just, you know, writing for the team and Jessi and Marie announced that they were going to do this mentorship program and I thought it was awesome, but it didn't even occur to me to apply because I was like, wow, I've only had been here for a couple months. Like, you know, this is for people who have been here longer. And I ended up applying just at the last minute and I got it. And I was like, I was over the moon. I was so excited about it, but I also definitely struggled a lot with just feeling like, okay, why did I get this over, you know, writers who have been with the company longer, you know. Do I deserve it, blah, blah, blah.
And then more generally I struggle with the strategy part of this job, you know, cause we're North Star Messaging + Strategy and the messaging part like deep down, I, you know, even on my worst days, I know I can write. But it took a lot more work to convince myself that I was qualified to give other people suggestions and advice because just knowing that like, this is real life, this affects real people's real businesses. Um, and so it, it took a bit for me to be able to convince myself that I was qualified to be in that position.

Maggie:
Yeah, yeah, totally, totally. And I definitely feel so much of what you described, especially around like the strategy and that sort of thing. And often, you know, just like the people that I end up interfacing with interfacing with our client work, sometimes I'm like, oh, am I smart enough? Am I experienced enough to like, even be in conversation with these people, let alone guide their strategy. Right. Like I totally totally have felt that way.
Many times in the past and yeah, certainly in all kinds of writing projects, whether, you know, like it's, I feel like I've had the opportunity to interview a lot of people that I admired in some way or another. And I would always have this sense, like me, little old me I'm supposed to have a conversation with this, like really intelligent, like genius creative or something like that, or an editing project, you know, I'm like, how could I possibly be the right person for this project? But I guess it is kind of comforting to know right. That like everybody, everybody deals with that.

Madeline:
For sure. Yeah. And you know, it helps to think about like where those people that you admire started and, you know, thinking that like, I mean, you know, you always see like the memes and stuff about like Tina Fey got fired from her job on a TV show when she was like 27 or whatever. And I don't know, maybe that's off topic, but...

Maggie:
No, no, it's true. It's like, because everybody experiences those kinds of setbacks that inevitably lead to self doubt, but I mean, so that's one helpful, you know, like revelation, I guess, that you eventually get to when you're a working professional. And I think the ideas like just have some more strategies around thinking through this kind of stuff and working through those emotions so that you experience a little bit less self doubt.

Madeline:
Yeah, definitely. One thing, I mean, I'm probably not allowed to talk about this, but something that's really helped me with imposter syndrome that my therapist told me was, you know, when I start getting stuck in this like self doubt and the cycle of like, I'm not good enough for this. I'm not a good enough writer. I'm not good enough strategist. I'm not experienced enough, blah, blah, blah. Because it really is like when you get stuck in that it's paralyzing. And you just, you know, you feel like you can't take any action because who are you to take action?
So something that my therapist said to me when I talked to her about this was like, okay, so maybe you don't believe right now that you are good enough for this or that you're qualified enough, but can you at least accept that you are, or even if you can't accept that you are, can you accept that other people think that you are qualified and good enough?
So I think she actually did say this when I had gotten the mentorship position and I was like freaking out about it. And you know, she kind of helped me reframe it as like, okay, I can accept that, you know, leadership at North Star thought I was the best fit for this position, even if I don't believe it myself. And you know, just acceptance goes a long way towards making the belief happen. So that's kind of like a mindset strategy that I've used, but practically speaking, just, I mean, just doing it and just keeping going and, you know, making yourself do the work and write more and like build up those experiences is kind of another way to get out of that.
I think because I mean the more experience that I get writing for clients, the more piece that I produce, you know, that that's all like tangible proof to myself that like I have done this in the past and it turned out well and the client was happy with it. And so if I have all these pieces of evidence that I've done in the past, that means that I can continue doing it in the future.

Maggie:
Yeah, totally. Like having that track record that comes with like just keep working on the thing, is really, really powerful. And what you're saying before, about what your therapist told you, like totally reminds me of like this one time I was talking with a friend of mine and I was mentioning that, like, I just didn't feel that great about my work. And I had written this article and I just, I didn't feel like it was my best work and I wasn't sure what was going on with me creatively and like all of these things, then she said to me, she's like, well, who decides if it's good enough about an article? And I was like, me. And she was like, well, I would pause it that it's actually the client who gets to decide that. And I was like, oh, you're right. You're so right. Which is, yeah, I would say like, we're really hard on ourselves.

Madeline:
Oh, absolutely.

Maggie:
A lot of us, especially, you know, like high achievers, are used to producing a plus work and a plus work only, when our standards are just super high and other people are going to see a lot of value, even in what we consider like B grade work or something like that.

Madeline:
For sure. And, you know, I think that, you know, the imposter syndrome is also wrapped up in this fear of like, like you said, the fear of the client coming back and saying, Hey, we kind of missed the mark on this. And you know, that's just the mark of a good client versus a not great client is, you know, how they give that feedback. And, you know, I'm not saying he needs to like beat around the Bush or anything, but, you know, I had a client who I really, really respect, you know, one time she came back and she was like, it's not quite there, it's almost there, but it's not quite there. And so, you know, we did a round of revisions and then she came back and was like, yep, you nailed it. And like that, that was so validating. And that was almost better than, you know, just having it be like, okay, check on the first go.

Maggie:
Totally. Cause there's like a mark to meet, you know, like you're like, okay, I know with certainty that there is a little bit of tweaking to be done and I nailed it.

Madeline:
Yeah, exactly.

Maggie:
Yeah. And, you know, as far as other methods go, I really like what you had mentioned about the acceptance, but you know, like can you accept that the leadership at North Star thought you were a good fit for the writer mentor position or something like that. And I think that like separating your feelings about a thing from like the facts, it's really powerful always, right? Because like we do a lot, at least I do, I can see grew up and like a lot of inner drama, but if you just look at the facts that becomes a lot more clear and then, you know, and I think reflecting on something that you also mentioned, kind of all of your successes, all of the things that you've done.
Well, all of the good feedback that you've gotten in the past and just believing those things, you know, like just making space to like acknowledge someone else thought this, they were telling me the truth when they said it and I'm, you know, like good and worthy. And then I think sometimes too, you also just kind of have to fake a little bit, you know, like fake confidence, fake, you know?

Madeline:
Oh yeah.

Maggie:
Fake your own feelings that you're good at this thing and able to do it, really meaningfully until you actually start to get into the rhythm and it feels true.

Madeline:
Yeah, absolutely. No, that's so true. I mean, I had a thought and it went out the window just now, but, for whether that's, you just have to do little things to get yourself in the right mindset of, you know, to give your brain those signals- oh, this is what I was going to say. It's like the thing of how people always say that, you know, there are studies that say that if you smile, then your brain like, releases the endorphins or whatever, to trick your brain into thinking that you're happy, because that sounds really depressing. But like, that is true and that's true for a lot of things. And, if I'm feeling really, you know, not confident and feeling insecure and everything, just doing little things that will like trick my brain into thinking that I am confident, whether that's like, I don't know, listening to Beyonce or something, or, just doing it like, okay, what would a writer who was 100% confident in her abilities do right now? And then whatever the answer is, you do that. And usually the answer is she would write instead of sitting here wondering if she's good enough to be writing in the first place, she would just do it.

Maggie:
Yeah. Maybe that's like the perfect note to sort of land on is that, you know, like at a certain point you just do it and that's gonna give you all the confidence you need to keep doing it and doing it better and better.

Madeline:
Yeah, absolutely.

Maggie:
Well I think that, you know, all of us at North Star and certainly everyone who is in our free slack group, the Polaris writer's lounge could benefit from everyone else's thoughts around this topic and strategies for like overcoming those feelings as you encounter them.

Madeline:
Yeah. Yeah. Cause I mean, that's a big part. That's another big part of it for me is like, you know, yes, your feelings are not facts, but your feelings are also valid. And, you know, in order to move through them, you have to honor them and give them space in one way that you could do that is by, you know, talking to other people about it. And that's also helpful because it, you know, pretty much every time that I've talked to somebody about imposter syndrome, but particularly at North Star with other writers every time they've come back with. Wow. Yeah. I feel that same way too. Or I know how you feel and that just, you know, it validates you so much. It makes you feel like you're less alone. And it's also nice because, you know, when it's a coworker, a writer that you respect saying, Hey, I've felt that too, then, you know, that's more evidence to say that this imposter syndrome is not real, you know?

Maggie:
Yeah, yeah. That is such a good point. Like it really helps to sort of bring those feelings out of the dark and talk about them and then simply realize we're all kind of going through that.

Madeline:
Yeah.

Maggie:
Well, awesome. So that being said, please do share your thoughts with us in the Polaris writer's lounge. We'd love to hear what you're thinking and feeling around this topic. If you're not part of the group, you can find a link to join on our website and, we will link it in the show notes as well.

Madeline:
Yep. And if you're having trouble getting it, just reach out to someone at North Star and we will get you the link. We're excited to have you and hear your thoughts on imposter syndrome and all things related to writing.

Maggie:
Indeed. So we will talk to you all on next week's podcast in the meantime, take care.

Marie:
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast Make sure to visit our website, northstarmessaging.com, where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

Jessi:
If you found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you, and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 


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