Ep. 88: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

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I was reflecting a lot on my life when I grew up in the ‘hood with so little, and when I lived out of my car for 7 years as a climbing guide and how my life was so simple and I made hardly anything and bought hardly anything and I was so so so content 


And while I was content, I admit that while I had confidence in many areas – guiding and my dreams and purpose and my power as a wild woman living in the mountains…I had a lot of doubt if I had what it took to create a different kind of abundance.  


I knew I was good at academics; I knew I was good at guiding; but…what IF…let’s just say what IF I could figure out how to earn enough money to (gasp!) have more than enough? 


My mama had taught me a mindset that I’d always have enough if I used my money for the right things. So I actually was good on “enough,” it seemed. I never went…hungry. 


But…I wanted – needed – more than enough. I wanted to be able to pay for emergencies if they happened, to take my mom and dad on well-earned vacations; live debt-free, hook up friends with abundant cheese and wine. Own land. I mean – we didn’t own anything ever – we always rented and got moved from place to place. I longed to own somethingsomewhere, that no one could make me leave. 


So after getting cancer twice, I think of this life coaching thing, right? I want people to be able to live a life of no regrets without having to get a cancer diagnosis. 


Not that many people were coaching then, and two people I really respected from my guiding world were doing it and it sounded right. 


And I was a confident woman…I thought, “I can do this.” And I did. I started to earn money. Started to get busy. Started to gain traction, be interviewed on podcasts before there were so many…and then…something I hadn’t felt in awhile showed up. 


Doubt. Self-doubt. 


Here I was. Successful. Finally.  


And doubt crept in. I started to tell myself, “Oh this was all a fluke. It’ll end soon.” 


Or, “One day someone will figure out I’m not that smart. They’ll realize all these degrees I have were somehow good luck.” 


One of the most common misconceptions about successful people is that once they get to where they want to be, the work is over and they don’t ever doubt themselves again.  


Like when WE doubt ourselves, that must be based in some kind of fact, because truly successful people don’t feel self-doubt. 


The reality is the opposite: successful people actually have to deal with even higher amounts of this sort of imposter syndrome. They’re just better at managing it. 

And THIS is why you’ve heard  me say things like, “discomfort is the price of the life we were meant to live.” Or, you don’t deserve comfort – you deserve better. 


Because shit doesn’t just stop being uncomfortable or hard when you achieve success. When you meet your goal. 


Yet a lot of people fail ahead of time and quit because they feel this doubt and choose to believe it’s based in some kind of truth. 


That’s really what separates successful people from those that choose to give up – the willingness to be uncomfortable and learn to manage it. To learn to suffer and not let it get in the way of you taking effective action. 


Like I said, I am no stranger to self-doubt and imposter syndrome. People may say, “Wow Ana, how are you so confident?” Look – one can feel confidence AND still have self-doubt. But when we learn to manage our self-doubt; the confidence can be the predominant feeling. 



Whenever we evolve, whenever we level up our lives, we are doing to experience self-doubt. It’s part of the deal. It’s not a sign that anything has gone wrong.  


The secret is: it’s a sign that we are in exactly the right spot. 


But this discomfort is why a lot of people don’t even try to grow, to evolve. It’s not the cozy thing to do. So a lot of people don’t want to stretch expand their comfort zones. We don’t put ourselves out there. Instead, we try and hide, an dimposter syndrome encourages us to do so. 

Imposter syndrome shows up as thoughts that don’t support us actualizing our capacity, our capabilities – both the ones we are still cultivating and the ones we have already actualized. 


This stalls our growth and evolution, because growth requires us to move beyond our own limiting beliefs about what we are capable of. If we want to become who we are meant to be in this world, and create the life we were meant to live – a healthier body, loving, more intimate relationships, abundance – then we need to commit to managing our minds when these doubts arise. 


A lot of people will set these amazing and totally achievable goals for themselves and when they hit a speed bump or see self-doubt arise, they think something has gone wrong – “Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe it’s not meant to be…” 


But we need to remember that it often takes more than one try to learn something – AND that just because things aren’t easy or don’t feel great, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. 


When we were babies and we were learning to walk, we fell. A LOT. But we kept trying, and now we can run and walk and skip or whatever. If we had given up on walking, we would be scooting around on our bottoms for the rest of our lives. But now, as adults, we assume that if we can’t do it perfectly once, then we should just forget it! 


This is one of the big reasons I think people aren’t able to get to that next level in their lives. They are afraid of that discomfort, so they hide from success and almost self-sabotage themselves. 


There’s also this common misconception that successful people don’t ever doubt themselves because for them, for them they are truly successful and talented and worthy so for them, the doubt doesn’t happen. We think that it’s different for us – that we doubt because we aren’t worthy. 


But the reality is, no one can escape those feelings of self-doubt. Those successful people we see are just better at managing it. 


I mean, we look at someone like Beyonce and we think she is SO fierce and SO talented and SO brilliant and SO hot … she can’t be plagued with imposter syndrome. I mean, how to you get on stage like she did during Homecoming at Coachella and even have a hint of imposter syndrome? 


Watch the documentary. She does. And of course, she manages it. 



People also have this idea that when we are on the right path towards our goals, our life will be full of ease. But again, the reality is it rarely feels like anything but a LOT of effort and fighting to get to that next level. (Ask me how I know!)  



I’ve got so many examples of this in my own life. Even with this podcast. I thought about doing it in 2018, and I put it off for TWO years because of imposter syndrome. I felt like I had nothing to share, nothing to offer that was…different that what was already out there. EVEN THOUGH so many clients and friends and supporters told me there was room for my voice. 


So I escaped…into excuses that I was too busy, too overwhelmed, not ready for the tech involved…I just didn’t want to deal with it.  


But here’s the thing: we can either be uncomfortable pursuing our dreams, or uncomfortable because we are not pursuing our dreams. 


So – which flavor of discomfort would you prefer? 


Personally, I choose the kind where I am at least going for it. Where I am not failing ahead of time and quitting. 


And the thing is, this keeps happening whenever I set the next big goal. The same of shit comes up again and again each time I level up. 

But now I know that this is what happens. This is my brain protecting me from…uncomfortable emotions like embarrassment, or even what it thinks might be humiliation…from rejection…all those uncomfortable feels, right? 


In the end, we are afraid of…an emotion. 


Yet when we give up BIG dreams for this – wanting to avoid an emotion. Isn’t that wild? Especially in light of the fact that an emotion is temporary and never lass forever, and neurochemically lasts for about 90 seconds? 


But someone fed us some BS that if we are pursuing the right dream, the right passion, the right career, living our truth…that it’ll be easy and we’ll be shitting rainbows. But that’s not how it works.  


Your shit still stinks when you’re a millionaire. I can speak from personal experience because while I am not a millionaire yet, I have shared a room with millionaires and their shit still stinks. 


And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Its…human. 

So, rebel, can we agree that the next time we feel imposter syndrome, that it’s just a sign that we are living on our growth edge? And that this is exciting? And that nothing has gone wrong? 


That’s what I remind myself of when it arises.  


And remember: the bigger your goals, the bigger that self-doubt is going to be and that’s ok because you’re in charge of your mind.  


The only thing keeping you between what you want and what you have now is the belief that you can’t have it; that you can’t do it.  




It’s always going to be there, so the real question is, are you going to get better at managing your mind so you can stop playing small and hiding your dreams so you can hide your doubt? 


I’m hoping, rebel, that your answer is a Hell YES! because you have a gift to bring to the world, and no one else can do it. No one. And you are absolutely capable to doing this. Just like a caterpillar is absolutely capable of morphing into a freaking butterfly – and doesn’t even question it. 


You are absolutely capable of manifesting the life you were meant to live, because … you’re you and that’s what you were born to do. Born to be. 


In this Episode you’ll learn: 

// Why doubt + imposter syndrome creeps in just when we’re starting to go for it (and why it’s perfectly normal) 

// The misconception that successful people never doubt themselves 

// How self-doubt keeps us from growth and evolution 

// How the way we interpret when things are hard, or when we experience difficult emotions, breeds self-doubt 

// Four steps to overcome imposter syndrome  



// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can get coached on things that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.    

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