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How Impostor Syndrome Gave Me Confidence

Written by: Mark D. Lakowske, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


There have been times in all our lives where we feel like a fraud or an impostor. Maybe it’s in a relationship or business. Work or school. Perhaps at home within your own family or even just towards ourselves. These feelings can stir up a lot of self-doubt about your own abilities, fear of your own value or worth, anxiety, and stress that leads to indecision & feeling stuck. Worst of all, it can stop you from living the life you desire & honestly deserve. At some point, we all experience feeling like that.

Years ago, I stood on the stage about to deliver my presentation...but I wasn’t alone...I stood there with doubt, fear & anxiety by my side. They whispered in my ear, reminding me of all the past times when I stumbled over my words or when I didn’t know the answer. Replaying on a loop was all the moments when I felt less than, rejected, or not good enough.

I knew what I offered was quality. After all, it had brought incredible life-changing transformations to the people I served in my private practice. I thought by teaching other practitioners. I would help effect positive change on an even larger scale than I could single-handedly ever do. Even though I knew this was important and something I had always wanted to do, the question still nagged at me Who was I to share this information?

There were people in the audience who I considered to be the very top in our industry. They had been at this Hypnotherapy game decades longer than I had been. There were Doctors and Psychologists who had more credentials, education & experience than I could ever hope to glean, just waiting for me to start.

I kept going over my talk in my head, trying to drown out the worry that kept taunting me. Then my heart dropped into my stomach. A Doctor who I knew was adjudicating & critiquing the presentations walked in and sat a few rows from the stage.

I felt anxiety punch me in the gut. Fear was pushing down on my shoulders, and doubt was giving me a wet-willy straight to my brain.

I felt like an absolute impostor! I still had time... I could just sneak out, right?...

I was so nervous that I walked to the back of the room to get a glass of water and forgot that I already had my microphone attached to me. If you can picture a dog on a short leash chasing a squirrel, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the scene. The water cooler was a few feet out of my reach, so my assistant handed me something to wet my whistle. I drank the water, but my mouth was still dry.

I took a deep breath & thought about how I was stopped dead in my tracks by my mic cord. I’m lucky I didn’t take out the entire sound system! All I could do was laugh. It was pretty funny! Doubt, fear & anxiety didn’t like that I was smiling & laughing. They spoke up louder, trying to get my attention back, so I imagined What if my microphone cord had been a bungee cord!? I would have snapped all the way back to the stage! I smiled even wider at the thought of me flying backward across the room past all of these people’s heads. Now that would have been an entrance!

I turned away from the nagging thoughts and started back towards the stage. With each step, I remembered all the people who had been excited about this opportunity for me. I remembered how honored I was when I got accepted to speak here. I was given the chance that was denied to others. I thought about all the hard work that went into this presentation. I recalled all the people I had helped by using the technique that I was about to teach. This presentation was important to me. It was important to my career. It was important to share and help practitioners and their clients. I wanted this. I wanted it more than the fear!

I stepped back onto the stage and remembered the words of one of my mentors. “An expert is simply someone who knows just a bit more about something than someone else. You never know what you might say or how you might deliver it. That will be the exact thing that someone needs to hear. If this is what you are meant to do, then how can you fail?”

I let that be my guiding principle, and I delivered what I felt was the best I could do. The person who volunteered to be my demo instantly felt like they had shifted a huge burden, and they gained relief! I sold 30+ books on the spot, and to my great surprise (and relief), many people, including several of the “big names,” came up to me, expressing how this was one of the best presentations they had been to! I received a 5/5 rating!

When things began settling down, and people were exiting, the Doctor who was critiquing the presentations walked over to me. She smiled, said, “here are your notes,” and handed me a slip of paper. I looked at it, and it was blank. I turned it over, nothing...she hadn’t written anything on it. Confused, I looked at her, and before I could say anything, she smiled and said, “I found absolutely nothing about your presentation that you could improve upon. It was perfectly delivered.”

Clearly, the self-doubt, fear & anxiety I had been believing were all false. They felt so real at the time, and when I gave them the attention, they took liberty with reshaping my reality. Nick Vujicic, author of Life Without Limits, says that our fears are nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. There was no true evidence, no hard facts that any of the worries I was experiencing had any basis in fact. The truth is I knew my stuff. The truth is I knew who I was. The truth is I knew the value of what I brought & how it can help. I wasn’t an impostor at that time, and I’m willing to bet, if you truly look, you’ll see that neither are you in your life.

Here’s what that experience taught me about overcoming impostor syndrome. As with most worthwhile things, it starts with being honest about yourself, your abilities & potential.

You must be honest about how you are feeling and call out those emotions that are causing you distress. Name them—fear, Anxiety, Overwhelm, Stress, Sadness, etc. See them for what they truly are in those moments when you are feeling like an impostor they are “criminals.” They are robbing you of the life you desire & they are killing your hopes & dreams.

You have to separate feelings from facts. For example, you might feel like an impostor...but just because you might feel that way doesn’t make it true. What is the truth behind the lie that the feeling is trying to convince you of?

If the emotion says, “You’re not really good enough,” Counter with “Yes I am!” and name examples. If the emotion says, “you're stupid,” remind yourself of all that you do know. That you really know more than you might think & what you have to say & who you are might just help someone. Let your light shine. This “flipping the script” will help to empower you.

Before going into situations that might trigger these negative feelings, spend some time doing a bit of mental rehearsal. Picture yourself successful, calm, poised, relaxed, knowing your stuff. It is better than imagining what you don’t want and getting more of that.

Take stock in all that you can do, all that you have done. Think about your success and what you are working for, and the life you are trying to create. Let those motivate you forward instead of perseverating on failures and those inevitable mistakes that we all make from time to time. As Lisa Nichols says, “Fail Forward.” Learn from those slip-ups & trip-ups and start again better and smarter each time. Plus, moments like these show our own humanity and help others relate.

I also think that if you are having impostor syndrome, it means that you aren’t really an impostor. Think about it. Most people, from time to time who are high-vibrational, high-achieving, smart, well-adjusted people experience feeling like they aren’t good enough or a fraud. The truth is, by you recognizing it in yourself means that you truly aren’t an impostor. Real imposters can’t recognize this in themselves.

While feeling like an impostor is a bit irrational, all feelings are natural. Every emotion, good or bad, acts as a compass to point you towards your betterment. In this case, I believe what they are pointing you towards is finding the truth in who you are and being confident within yourself.

In closing, I will leave you with one of my favorite poems. I think about it each time I do something new, scary, or feel those impostor feelings creeping in.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Willamson

Your Favorite Hypnotist,

Mark D. Lakowske CTC® CMHT®

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or visit my website!


Mark D. Lakowske, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Multiple award-winning & internationally renowned clinical hypnotherapist Mark D. Lakowske has trained practitioners worldwide in his groundbreaking methods. Through this and his own practice, he has helped improve the lives of tens of thousands of people in countries ranging from the United States to Australia & New Zealand. Mark is an author of three books & regularly tours the world, contributing ideas to the development of hypnotherapy practice. His passion & drive is assisting people to overcome the overwhelming & live with more confident joy & happiness!



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