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Releasing Impostor Syndrome as a Creative Leader

· self worth,imposter syndrom,creatives,leadership

That imposter feeling can be paralyzing for many creatives and hold them back from sharing their gifts with the world...


But we need your gifts!


So to continue with our theme of self-worth this month I’ve invited my friend Carly Clark Zimmer to share how to gently release the crippling grip of impostor syndrome that can keep so many creatives from boldly going for their goals.


Carly is a life and leadership coach specializing in helping you break out of the impossible constructs society has built around you so that you can go for your goals without sacrificing your mental, physical and spiritual health.


Enjoy the read!



There’s a famous quote by the legendary Maya Angelou that says:


"I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'"


When I first read this it brought great comfort to knowing everyone, even the great minds and creatives of our times suffer from impostor syndrome.


That comfort can quickly be followed up with thoughts like, “If Maya has impostor syndrome… what hope do the rest of us have?!” 😩


Impostor syndrome is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".


This article covers what impostor syndrome is, how to recognise when it’s present, and what to do about it so the next time it creeps into your mind, you have a strategy to turn to.


What is impostor syndrome?


Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that can affect anyone, regardless of their success level, job position, or social status. It happens when an individual experiences internalized fear of being exposed, despite external evidence of their competence, accomplishments, and achievements. They often feel their success is the result of luck or having deceived others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they actually are.


Can you relate to this?


It’s estimated that 70% of people will experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lives. That’s a whole lot of us walking around, feeling like frauds. 😳


That’s no way to live an authentic, creatively fulfilling life.


The first step to shifting your relationship to impostor syndrome is to recognize the feeling in your body.


What does impostor syndrome feel like?


  • It’s that feeling of pushing yourself so you don’t make a mistake.


  • It’s overworking so that you can prove that you’ve done the absolute best job possible.


  • It’s stressing about making sure everything is perfect.


  • It can also show up as procrastination and an inability to focus.


  • And it’s that feeling like you don’t belong in the room.


This is a societal problem… not a YOU problem.


Modern work environments encourage and contribute to this behavior with outdated leadership and management styles by withholding praise and celebrating the people who burn the candle at both ends.


Or you work extra hard on a project, only to have it be picked apart by your boss, it can perpetuate the feelings of impostor syndrome.


Even if you have a supportive work environment, many people were not raised in families that celebrated anything less than hard work, winning and major accomplishments.


Luckily, there are ways to navigate Impostor syndrome so that your creativity and your goals won’t have to suffer.


What to do about it…


The only thing we really have control over is how we relate to things, and because of the plasticity in our brains that we can change the way we think.


I like to think of it like a radio channel (remember those??!)


Impostor syndrome is the channel that sounds like static. When it’s playing loudly, we can’t hear what’s trying to come through.


The same is true for impostor syndrome. When the volume is turned up full force, you are disconnected from the truth of who you really are.


Your first step is to build your awareness around when you feel the impostor syndrome static in your body. When you do, it’s time to change the channel.

How to change the channel:


Recognizing your accomplishments and bringing awareness to how harshly you might be judging yourself are the first two steps.


✨ A practical way to start recognizing your accomplishments is to make a physical list of all of your accomplishments. Write them out on a piece of paper and post them to the wall where you can see them daily for 30 days.


This will help the second part to bring you into the present when the impostor police start to criticize or judge harshly.


Ask yourself: 


Is the perfectionist voice taking over?


Why am I pushing so hard right now?


Is this story that’s running in my head actually true? Or is it mind static?


Once you can recognize the mind's static, you can change the channel to a more supportive one.


Finally, the most effective way to soften the grip of impostor syndrome is to build these suggestions into part of your daily routine.


Look at your accomplishment list before or after your morning meditation. Movement in the body can release stored-up energy that contributes to mind-static and anxiety.


Journal on a few of the questions around perfectionism and proving.


These simple practices can help to re-balance your priorities for the day so you don’t end up spending excessive extra hours on a project because the impostor syndrome took over.


If you need additional support, working with a coach is a powerful way to clear the static. I’d be happy to support you in the process so please feel free to reach out and book a complimentary session if you think it would help!


You got this!


-Carly Clark Zimmer

Carly Clark Zimmer is a certified Life and Leadership coach helping conscious leaders create work-life balance so they can go for their goals without sacrificing their mental, physical, and spiritual health.

She’s also the Director of Leadership Development for When You Lead, a coaching & consulting agency focused on helping organizations UPDATE outdated, toxic leadership models and practices.

Carly’s mission is to help people live their lives with full integrity with their innate talents, strengths, and spirit.

Carly also has a background in the healing arts, nervous system regulation, and equity-centered leadership which all aid in helping you learn how to trust your gut so that you can navigate the complexities of rapidly shifty environments we live in both at work and at home.

Carly currently lives in Galway Ireland, and in her downtime, you can find her strolling the prom or taking a dip with the locals in the chilling waters of Galway Bay.



Imposter syndrome can have a major impact on your financial wellness as well. So how do you change the channel and build your self-worth when it comes to your money? Combining Carly's advice with the practices in my Mindful Money Mastery guide could certainly do the trick. You can begin to experience Mindful Money Mastery with my free guide below in order to build your awareness and take intentional action toward better money habits so you can start building your self-worth and ultimately your net worth!




With Love & Gratitude,


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