Defying Impostor Syndrome

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Have you ever stayed at work too late or stretched yourself too thin because you felt like you weren’t good enough or that you had something to prove? Has there been a moment where you’ve second-guessed your success as being more luck than a result of your intellect and hard work? Or maybe your anxiety is fueled by the thought, “Someday, they’ll all find out I’m a fraud.”

If this feels familiar, it’s possible you’re grappling with impostor syndrome. But you aren’t alone: many of us struggle with these feelings of inadequacy.

Author Lisa Orbé-Austin, PhD, wrote “Own Your Greatness: Overcome Impostor Syndrome, Beat Self-Doubt, and Succeed in Life” to help us all break free from the constraints of these critical thoughts. This book uses therapy-backed exercises to gain confidence in yourself, recognize your strengths, and become your own leader.

Audience Questions

In this session, Dr. Orbé-Austin shares methods to own your greatness, unearths ways to keep our inner critic from holding us back, and answers audience questions about how we can use our own mental strength to overcome impostor syndrome.

  • Can you provide an overview of impostor syndrome as well as its impact on both our personal and professional development?
  • In your years of studying impostor syndrome, have you noticed that different groups of people are impacted differently by impostor syndrome?
  • Is counterphobia something that can mask impostor syndrome, so someone appears to be aggressive and/or a go-getter, rather than someone who believes they’re a fraud?
  • In the 3 C’s of overcoming impostor syndrome, the first step (clarifying) is to identify where your impostor syndrome originated from. While the book suggests that it may have familial roots, is it possible to have impostor syndrome originate from outside the home?
  • Are there certain times in life that impostor syndrome surfaces, or when it’s likely to come to the surface?
  • If someone is having a hard time identifying their strengths, do you suggest that they reach out to folks they trust to help them figure this out? Is the process of identifying strengths a solo act, or should we consider enrolling others in the process?
  • What do we do when we try to enroll others and they’re dismissing us?
  • Can you talk about the definition and value of “both-and” language to helping us overcome impostor syndrome?
  • How difficult can it be to overcome automatic negative thoughts?
  • If it’s too difficult for us to avoid our triggers that lead to automatic negative thoughts, how can we rework triggers to give us courage and confidence, instead of feeling torn down?
  • How do we work through continually second guessing your decisions?
  • How do you deal with impostor syndrome in a new job or position?
  • So many of us with impostor syndrome are burned out but don’t feel that we have the right to have down time. How can we quiet the voice that may tell us that self-care is only for those who deserve it/have earned it?
  • One of the steps of overcoming impostor syndrome is “building your dream team” that includes coaches and licensed mental health professionals. Do you tend to recommend that a coach be a licensed coach, or can we enroll those we care about and respect to be our coaches/mentors?
  • How did you become interested in this topic?
  • People with impostor syndrome often worry about failure, but also tend to do well at what they attempt. Can recalling your achievements or past performances help you put your future fears into perspective?
  • What do we do if we relapse? Are we doomed to stay impostors forever?
  • Do you have any advice for seniors about to graduate?
  • What is the first step you can take in overcoming impostor syndrome? How do you start?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Orbé-Austin

Lisa Orbé-Austin PhD, is a licensed psychologist and executive coach with a focus on career advancement, leadership development, and job transitions. She regularly consults with organizations to address gender bias, DE&I concerns, leadership development, effective communication, team cohesion, and conflict management.

Dr. Orbé-Austin is a co-founder and partner of Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting, a career and executive coaching consultancy, where she works mostly with high potential managers and executives.

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Originally aired on September 16, 2021