Sept. 13, 2022

The Science Behind Imposter Syndrome

The Science Behind Imposter Syndrome

As an online business owner, you’re tired of imposter syndrome weighing you down and you’re ready to finally be SEEN as an expert in your niche. In this episode, I’m sharing what today’s respected thought leaders are doing differently and how you can begin growing your business using the same ideas.


As an online business owner, what are you currently experiencing imposter syndrome about?

Whatever it is — we’ve all been there, but the thing is, imposter syndrome is NOT what’s actually keeping you stuck.

In this episode, we’re looking at what today’s current thought leaders are doing differently and how you can start growing your business using this same approach.


BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL WALK AWAY WITH: 

  • Why it’s NOT imposter syndrome that’s keeping you stuck
  • The 3 biggest fears that prevent you from growing your business
  • One of the most pivotal mistakes overlooked online business owners make (and what to do instead)


If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

 

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Transcript

Courtney Elmer 0:00  

Welcome back to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 139. And today we're talking about the science behind impostor syndrome. So that you can understand what's really going on under the surface when that self doubt creeps in and tries to keep you from taking action, and overcome it once and for all, so that it never hold you back again. We're also going to talk about what you need to do if you want to be seen as a recognized and respected thought leader in your space while growing a business. That's all coming up next. So stay tuned. 

[INTRO]

Courtney Elmer

You wouldn't believe the number of DMS that I have been getting lately from people in my inbox, reaching out saying they want to start a podcast while growing a business. But they don't feel like they're enough of an expert yet. And I get it. I have been there. I remember back when I started this show thinking, gosh, do I have enough to talk about what if I run out of things to say? What if I'm sitting here week after week regurgitating topics and saying the same thing different ways, and making it look like I know what I'm talking about when really I don't know what I'm talking about. 

Courtney Elmer

And what's so interesting about impostor syndrome is that, first of all, it's universal. It happens to all of us. But second of all, the reason we think it's happening is not the actual reason that it's happening. And I'm going to unpack all of that inside of today's episode. But you know, these people who reach out to me talking about podcasting, they have this message they want to share, they want to reach a wider audience with that message. They are hopeful that a podcast could be the answer for them, that it could be the way for them to connect with their community in a deeper way while growing a business. 

Courtney Elmer

But they're worried for a couple of reasons. First, they're worried that they're going to put all of their energy into creating this, and that people won't listen. And that's a really scary feeling. I don't blame them. Podcasting is a commitment. Growing a business takes time. And so when you go to invest your time and energy in something, you don't want that to go to waste, particularly because especially today, we are all so busy and so stretched, then we don't have much time to waste.

Courtney Elmer

So we want to know that our efforts are going to pay off. After all, if you've been in business long enough, chances are, you've spent a ton of time growing a business and trying things that don't work, you've probably learned a lot of lessons from it. But one of the biggest lessons being, you're more discerning now of where you spend your time. Even if that's based in fear. Don't get me wrong, it's good to be discerning. In fact, the bigger you are in business, the more discerning you have to be. 

Courtney Elmer

But you also have to make sure that you're being discerning for the right reasons. And not out of some fear lurking under the surface that's preventing you from taking action and actually growing a business. I broke this down in a reel that I shared the other day, and I was genuinely surprised by how much this resonated with people. And I talked about the three fears that keep people from taking action while growing a business. The three fears are fear of failure, fear of success, and fear of rejection.

Courtney elmer

Now we're familiar with the first two and chances are you've probably experienced one or the other of those or both at some time or another in your entrepreneurial growing a business journey. The third one is one that we've become so familiar with that sometimes we don't even realize that it's keeping us stuck. And in my opinion, the fear of rejection is the biggest of these entities, the most powerful fear of all while growing a business because it's the root of all three of these fears. Why? Well because as humans we want to belong. We have an intrinsic need to belong. Think about it. It's how you survived centuries ago. It's how you survive today.

Courtney Elmer 5:01  

We're not meant to go through this life alone, we want to belong. We want to belong. That need is so deep. And that is what makes the fear of rejection. So damn strong. Because what happens if you're growing a business and fail? We might label our feeling as a fear of failure. What happens when you fail? Seriously, think about it. People might laugh at you. They might mock you. They might make fun of you, reject you? Or what about the fear of success? 

Courtney Elmer

What happens if you succeed at growing a business? Now people will be jealous of you. They might spew hate because of it, they might belittle you, they might try to tear you down. They will reject you. So do you see how the fear of rejection is actually the root of the other fears you might experience in growing a business and your journey? And if you're listening to my voice, right now, chances are you felt this fear. You're familiar with it? How do I know because I felt it too. 

Courtney Elmer

When I was nine years old, I was told that my mouth is what got me into trouble. And I can remember this, like yesterday, I was standing in the kitchen, going off about something to my mom, she was standing at the sink, washing dishes. And I was always a very outspoken, very opinionated little girl. And I don't remember what I said to my mom that caused her to react this way. But I'll never forget the way she stopped washing the plate, mid wash. She looked at me, she turned the dishes like dripping all over the floor. And I can still hear her voice in my ears, saying, Courtney, your mouth is what gets you in trouble, go to your room. And I remember walking down the long hallway to my room. Oh, that hallway felt so long in that moment. And I remember that I felt the pain of rejection for the first time. And how painful that was. 

Courtney Elmer

And looking back now, as an adult, I know that my mom didn't intend to hurt me. I know she loved me. I know she was frustrated with me for being sassy. And for whatever I said. And that is where her reaction came from. And even though her reaction was innocent, it wasn't ill intentioned. It did cause me to change my behavior for the next 20 years. And I stopped talking. I mean, I talked in conversation. But I didn't use my voice. I would hide how I really felt from people. I would go with the crowd because I didn't want to be rejected. 

Courtney Elmer

I read an interesting meme the other day, from a psychologist who said that people pleasing starts with parent pleasing. And that really resonated with me. And chances are you've had an experience similar to this as well. And maybe maybe there's an experience that you've had in your life that has caused you to fear rejection. And as a result, maybe to silence your own message. And so that the thought of using your voice, being seen as an expert brings up a lot of fear. And it can feel really uncomfortable

Courtney Elmer 9:06  

to start using your voice when you're in the habit of not using it. And when I started growing a business and using my voice, it was weak. It was timid. It wasn't sure it was not confident at all. And I remember oh my gosh, I'm laughing at this right now because I can think back to the very first video that I posted on the internet while growing a business. I gotta figure out if I can pull up this video you would most definitely laugh at me with me whatever if you saw this because you would be like, Oh my gosh, this is not the same girl who is this character. 

Courtney Elmer

And in this video I can see now clear as day the fear that I felt from being rejected. And the way that I compensated for that which was to appear so polished and so perfect and so professional so that people wouldn't reject ectomy. It really is silly when I think about it. And yet at the same time, it felt so real. And I have had people who met me years ago when I started growing a business tell me that my voice has changed that it's more real now that it's lower pitch, it's more genuine.

Courtney Elmer

But what most people don't know is that I have spent years growing a business and working with experts on the psychology of my voice, undoing the patterns and fears within my own mind that were preventing me from using my voice authentically. It's been quite a journey. I still have a ways to go. But this podcast that you're listening to right now, has played a huge role in growing a business and helping me find my voice.

Courtney Elmer

It's it's hard to quantify the role that this show has played in growing a business. And here's what I know to be true. That copying what everyone else is doing is a form of hiding all of these reels where you see people lip synching and dancing. What's the one thing they're not doing? They're not speaking, they're not using their voice. And what's the one thing you need to do to be seen as an expert in your niche? To become a recognized and respected thought leader while growing a business? You have to actually share your thoughts. You have to use your voice. 

Courtney Elmer

I remember when reels first hit the scene. I used to do all those lip syncs, and it felt so incongruent and inauthentic. And it was a starting point, sure. But honestly, my posts that perform the best even when I go back and try to do something trendy, the ones that outperform time and time again, are the ones where I'm simply speaking, like I'm speaking to you right now. Look at someone like Alex for Mozi. 

Courtney Elmer

One year ago, this guy was virtually unknown. But chances are even if you don't know his name, or that name doesn't ring any bells, you've probably seen him in your feed, because he has exploded on social media lately, like oh my gosh, mind boggling explosion of growth of followers on Instagram top 10 podcasts best selling book on Amazon. It seems like he's everywhere. And in every single piece of content he puts out, guess what? He's growing a business and using his voice. 

Courtney Elmer

Not once have I seen him do a dance or lip sync or trendy real it's his voice. Adam Grant, maybe you know him. Maybe you follow him. He doesn't even do reels. He has a podcast, and he shares an Instagram post every day. It's his voice ninja to swab. Her voice? What's the best platform for using your voice? Yeah, you know it is a podcast. Look at all the thought leaders you know and admire whether you like him or hate him. One thing we can probably all agree on is that Grant Cardone Brooke Castillo Ed my let Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield, Tim Ferriss, Russell Brunson, James Wedmore, Jasmine star, what do they all have in common? 

Courtney Elmer

Growing a business and a podcast. And yes, we can argue that you can use your voice everywhere, sure, videos, conversation, etc. But a podcast. Now that is the most intimate relationship you can build with your listeners. Your listeners are inviting you into their personal space into their ears. They want to hear what you have to say. And the people reaching out to me in my DMs lately, know this, and this is why they want to start a podcast of their own while growing a business. But the thing holding them back is this thing that we label imposter syndrome. Which you already know what it's linked to fear of rejection.

Courtney Elmer 14:07  

And this thought that if I put myself out there, and I look like I don't know what I'm talking about, people are going to reject me, and I will fail. Or if I start growing a business, if I start a podcast, or start posting reels or start speaking from stage or whatever, and people don't like what I have to say, or they don't agree with me, or they asked me a question, and heaven forbid, I don't know the answer, I'll look dumb, and people will laugh at me and I will fail. Or, if I start a podcast and nobody listens, it's going to be a giant waste of my time. And it will confirm the belief that I already have that I have nothing worthwhile to say. Therefore, and this is the mistake most overlooked entrepreneurs make expecially while growing a business. 

Courtney Elmer

They conclude because of these false leaves that they need to learn more, or read more books or listen to more podcasts or consume more content, or get more certifications or buy more programs or invest in myself more before growing a business. And then I'll be expert enough to have a podcast or write a book or whatever. And it's one of the biggest mistakes overlooked entrepreneurs make while growing a business. Because it puts them into content consumption mode, instead of creation mode. 

Courtney Elmer

They're too busy consuming content, instead of creating it and growing a business. And this is the biggest thing that separates overlooked entrepreneurs, from the recognized and respected thought leaders that you love and admire is that the overlooked entrepreneurs consume and the recognized thought leaders create. It's the difference between watching a course on how to post reels, versus posting them and learning through doing it's the difference between reading books and writing one. It's the difference between listening to podcasts and starting one, the difference in successfully growing a business.

Courtney Elmer

If you want to be seen as a respected thought leader while growing a business, you have to use your voice. But what about this imposter syndrome? What do we do with that the fear you feel is valid. Your feelings are valid, we can't wish our feelings away as nice as that would sometimes be. Let me ask you a question. Or the Guru's that you look up to the ones who are at the top of the mountain. The ones that feel untouchable because they feel so far ahead of you. Are they immune to impostor syndrome? Good question, I would argue that, no, they're not immune to it. Because impostor syndrome typically surfaces, anytime we bump up against the walls of our limitations. It's when we go to step outside of our comfort zone, that we noticed this self doubt. And this fear of rejection and this impostor syndrome taking over. 

Courtney Elmer

Now, the Guru's at the top of the mountain, experienced this too, you know how I know. Because even though their comfort zone might be a lot bigger than yours, they've done a lot more things over their lifetime to step outside of their comfort zone, therefore, they flex that muscle more, and it's easier for them to step outside of their comfort zone, they still have limitations. And when they bump up against the walls of those limitations, even though they might be different limitations than your limitations when they bump up against the walls of those limitations. And let me be clear, perceived limitations. Change chances are very good, that they too, feel doubt. They begin to doubt themselves. Why? Because we're human. 

Courtney Elmer

Now, let me ask you another question. You might not be at the top of the mountain, like the influencers that you look up to, probably down here on the side of the mountain hanging out trying to climb to the top, growing a business. And there's a lot that you've done on your growing a business journey to help you get there. You're not at the bottom of the mountain, you're not at the top, maybe somewhere in the middle. 

Courtney Elmer

The people who need your help, who are they going to seek out first thinking about this mountain metaphor now who are they going to seek out first for help growing a business? They're trying to get up the mountain? Are they going to reach for the influencer? The one who feels untouchable is that person really going to be able to help them or they're going to want to reach for your hand. You who's a few steps ahead of them on their growing a business journey.

Courtney Elmer 19:06  

Who's not gotten to high on the mountain yet that you can turn around and reach out your hand to someone below and pull them up with you. People give me a lot of excuses for not being ready to start growing a business, to start a podcast... I don't know about the tech side or the time or I don't have the know how or I'm not an expert enough. You know what if you've thought of growing a business and starting a podcast but you're making any one of these or similar excuses, then the reality is you're robbing someone out there right now have the opportunity to learn from you. Someone out there right this minute need your help. They need what you can offer them. But if you're over here hiding behind your fear, how are you going to be able to help them? That's like seeing a pedestrian get in a hit and run. 

Courtney Elmer

You witness the whole thing you know they need your help. They're over there crying out in pain on this I'd walk but you think to yourself, Oh, I'm not a doctor, I can't help this person. And you walk right past. You see my point, Sure the gurus on the top of the mountain, the doctors, they can help people. But do you know how they got to the top? By helping lots of people? And by not letting their self doubt stop them from stepping outside of their comfort zone? 

Courtney Elmer

So are you really gonna sit here and tell me that you can't help people? Because you're not enough of an expert yet? That because you're not a doctor, you can't help anyone? I mean, come on, you could call 911. You can run over to that person and give them CPR. I mean, if nothing else, could you sit there next to them until the ambulance gets there. So they know that they're not alone. 

Courtney Elmer

You can't tell me that you can't do anything, that you're not enough of an expert to do anything. So now you have two options, you can choose to continue hiding. And if you choose to continue not helping people, because you believe that you don't know enough yet to help them, then you will continue to be an overlooked entrepreneur. Being an overlooked entrepreneurs a choice. The people out there who need you won't know that you can help them if they don't even know that you exist. 

Courtney Elmer

Doesn't sound like a very happy choice to me. But it's yours to choose. The other choice is that you can do what you can with what you have. And you can help people while growing a business with what you do know. Because despite what you've been telling yourself, imposter syndrome and growing a business doesn't come from not knowing enough. It actually comes from knowing how much you don't know. 

Courtney Elmer

That is so important. I'm going to say it again. Did you catch that impostor syndrome doesn't come from not knowing enough. It comes from knowing how much you don't know. And if you don't believe me, after this episode, and you're gonna go Google the Dunning Kruger effect. Dunning and Kruger were two psychologists who did a research study. And they discovered that we develop this sort of cognitive bias that we label impostor syndrome. 

Courtney Elmer

But what's really going on under the surface, is that we're becoming aware of how much we don't know. So classic Dunning Kruger effect at work. When you were in school, you probably overestimated your test performance. I remember sitting down to take the AC t, which is my state's version of the LSAT. And I remember going into it thinking I didn't really need to study that much. I'll be able to pass this test. 

Courtney Elmer

And getting that first score back and going, oh, boy, was I wrong? Maybe in your business, you've overestimated your launch results. Oh my gosh, I can remember when I started growing a business, the very first launch I ever did thinking it was going to be like this multiple six figure launch. I'm laughing now. Because it was not. It was like a few $1,000. Maybe. And, boy, did I overestimate how much I knew about launching.

Courtney Elmer

Maybe you've created an amazing lead magnet, you think it's so awesome. And then you put it out there and nobody signs up for it. You overestimated that too? Didn't you? Are X starting a business? An online business, especially thinking well, if others have done it, so can I and then little by little beginning to realize how much there is to know that you don't know yet that you begin to believe you aren't an expert because of all that you know that you don't know.

Courtney Elmer 23:55  

I've been growing a business for almost six years. Now, at the time of this recording. I can honestly say I know a lot about online business. But there's a lot more that I don't know. And if I let that stop me, I wouldn't have half the business or the income or the followers or the team that I have today. So this is the part where you have to start asking yourself, Is it really imposter syndrome that's keeping me from doing the things that I really want to do? Or is it that I'm simply afraid of being rejected for putting myself out there. Because if you want to be seen as a recognized thought leader, you first have to overcome your fear of being seen. The good news is overcoming this fear is very simple. 

Courtney Elmer

It takes time, but it's very simple. You must learn to reduce your sensitivity to rejection. And the only way to do that is by putting yourself in situations that feel mildly uncomfortable to help you grow, like growing a business. It's simple exposure theory The more you do something uncomfortable, the more comfortable it will feel. So as you walk away from this episode today, I want you to think of one thing that you've been putting off because it feels uncomfortable. And commit to one small action step that you can take today to move the needle a little bit. Maybe you've been avoiding showing up on your Instagram stories. 

Courtney Elmer

It's been a while since you've posted anything you don't know what to say your followers haven't heard from you or seeing you in a while. You kind of ghosted them a while back because something came up and you got off track with posting and oh gosh, what do I even say to them, maybe you put up a story then today. Maybe that's your action step, maybe not a video, maybe your picture. Maybe not even of your face, maybe of your feet or your hand holding a coffee cup or your dog, I don't care, it doesn't matter it can be small point is to do something mildly uncomfortable, to stretch yourself. And remember that the more you do it, the more comfortable it's going to feel.

Courtney Elmer

Now, if you want to learn how to stop getting overlooked by your ideal audience, and start being seen as a recognized thought leader, and how having a podcast of your own might be able to help you and growing a business, then stay tuned, because I've got something really special for you. In the coming weeks, we're going to be sharing how you can join me for a free three day workshop, where I'll be teaching you the three ingredients of a profitable podcast, and how to use your voice and growing a business through podcasting. If you want to get the details for that workshop, you can go to systems made simple.co/launch My podcast that's systems made simple.co/launch My podcast and enter your info. That way.

Courtney Elmer

As soon as we announce the workshop dates, you'll be the first to know you can save those dates on your calendar. And you can join us for that workshop. And if you happen to be listening to this at a future date, chances are that waitlist page is still up so you can still try that link. Go there. Enter your information. We host these workshops from time to time. And that way you're on the list to be notified as soon as we have another one. And then last but not least, if you've learned something new today about growing a business, it would help us out if you would take a screenshot of this episode, share it to your stories on social media. and tag me at the Courtney Elmer I love to see who out there is listening. And it means a lot to me when you share this show. 

Courtney Elmer

Now speaking of growing a business and thought leadership coming up next week, we have a very special guest expert joining me here on the show who is going to show you how to use persuasion psychology to spark interest and create demand for what you offer to create instant rapport and credibility with anyone and to help you avoid inadvertently saying or doing the wrong thing, particularly when it comes to marketing and growing a business. So you can build influence through your words. I'll see you back here next week. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.