Imposter Syndrome is something that almost EVERYONE experiences. Kendra has, Christine has, and our guest, Tara Wagner has too. So while everyone experiences it (or at least 70% of people according to studies), the important thing is you have to OVERCOME it, especially if you want to succeed in your business.
Imposter Syndrome often has you struggling with yourself – questioning who you are, are you good enough, and all of these fears and doubts that may be holding you back from showing everyone what a kickass human being (and amazing health coach) that you really are!
The definition of Imposter Syndrome is this, it’s the outward appearance of having it all together, while inside you feel sick to your stomach because you think that you are a fraud. It’s you telling yourself "I just need one more certificate and then I can launch this business. Or I just need one more training, or I need a couple letters behind my name." That's imposter syndrome.
In this episode we discuss:
- the definition of imposter syndrome
- the connection between ego and impostor syndrome
- can imposter syndrome be taught to go away?
- can you have imposter syndrome in the comfort zone?
- strategies to help imposter syndrome
- emotions vs facts
- 80/20 rule – 80% mindset, 20% strategy
Imposter syndrome includes personal and spiritual development to overcome it. And if you look at any well-known business owner or anyone you admire, you will see that their success didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen with them sitting at the back of the room. In order to grow, in order to be successful, you have to develop yourself and dig up some shit to find out how your emotions are getting the best of you.
Tune into our new episode with Tara Wagner to learn more about imposter syndrome – and best yet, how to overcome it!
Tara Wagner is a Belief Breakthrough Coach for self-employed women barely surviving their business. She helps you identify and overcome your old habits – both practical, as well as emotional and mental – learn a better way of approaching the work/life/family juggling act, and gain confidence in your new role in your growing businesses
Get Tara’s freebie, How to Grow Your Business by Growing Yourself: https://xotara.us/b2b
Connect with Tara Wagner:
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Kendra: Hey guys, what's up? Welcome to the 360 Health Biz Podcast. It's me, it's Kendra and sadly it is just me today. Christine is off gallivanting the world as per use, and I actually don't even know where she is right now, but I suspect she might be in Bali or at least on her way there. She is not going to be with us today but that's okay because I have a pretty amazing guest joining me today to talk about impostor syndrome.
Which I think is a very relevant topic for you, the health coach or you. Whatever type of online coaching you're doing because this is something that I've experienced. I'm sure Christine has experienced that, and you guys are probably going to be coming up against this on a regular basis. It is normal, but there's also some things you can do to overcome it, and that is who my guest or what my guest is going to help us with today.
First things first, I got an awesome review on iTunes and I just wanted to quickly read that out because we love, love, love when you give us reviews. That's actually a fantastic way to support the podcast. This is from Simply Will and she says, "These ladies are our key," I'm not sure if Simply Will is he or she, so they, These ladies are wonderful, true heartfelt educators. They really want to help you with your own health and clients. I love listening to them."
Will, we love that you love listening. Thank you so much for the review guys. If you want to take two minutes out of your day and go leave us a five star review on iTunes, probably the best way to help the podcast get out to more people. If you want to support the show, it only takes two minutes. All right, so let's get into our guest today. I'm hanging out here with Tara Wagner.
Tara is a belief breakthrough coach for self-employed woman barely surviving their business. She helps you identify and overcome your old habits, both practical as well as emotional and mental. Learn a better way of approaching the work life, family, juggling act and gain confidence in your new role, in your growing business. Welcome Tara, thanks for being here.
Tara Wagner: Thank you. And it's pronounced Tara.
Kendra: I'm sorry. I better get that out of the way right away, so Tara.
Tara Wagner: It happens.
Kendra: I'm sure that happens.
Tara Wagner: Thank you so much. I am just absolutely loving you guys and this podcast. I'm really happy to be here and talking about probably the biggest elephant in the room that nobody likes to talk about, so just get really uncomfortable.
Kendra: How did you end up in this space? I would love to know how did you even end up here?
Tara Wagner: Yeah. This is a lifelong journey for me that I've probably started when I was in middle school. Where really I struggled so much with my own stuff, my own problems were pretty much all in my head. I was just struggling with who am I and am I enough, and all of these fears, all of these doubts. It led me through some really deep, dark years and I had to find tools that worked for me. It was this long process of just learning how to free myself, because anybody who's been there, they know it's exhausting to be in a hot mess. It's so much work.
Kendra: It is.
Tara Wagner: I spent years just learning how to develop myself with the underlying purpose or goal of being just being free. That is my biggest value, I just wanted to feel free. As I started doing that, I've been an entrepreneur for 20 years. I had another business. I struggled in that business so much because of my beliefs, but total blind spots; didn't see it, didn't understand why I was struggling. When I finally burned out, I sold that business.
I basically gave it away just to be done with it. With through a few years of just introspection, deep healing, deep understanding, so much of my identity was tied up in that. It was just this time of really learning and examining that had come out of that first business. During that time, this was when blogging was taking off. I started blogging just as a personal blog. It didn't actually blog a lot of my own personal stuff, but blogged other things that I was doing in my life.
As I was doing this inner work, my life was obviously starting to expand as well. Because when you start letting go of all of the should'ves and the have tos, and the who am Is, and all of that, you start to do things that nobody else is doing or that you really want to do. You're not held back by anything anymore. I started blogging about our life and I started blogging about our parenting, and how we were doing all these different things.
But it wasn't really sharing how did I get to the point where I could do things so differently? How do you let go of anger and frustration towards your kids so you can be a patient parent? How do you let go of the fear of what other people think so that you can ... At the time, I have my entire front yard was urban homestead, right? Everyone's like, "Aren't you worried about what the neighbors think?" That kind of stuff.
My blog slowly started to transform. Then we went through the recession like everyone else, my husband lost his job. We decided to take it as an opportunity and travel. That's when I had a lot of people coming to us like, "How are you doing this?" Not financially, how are you doing this? Not practically, how do you run an RV but like, "How are you living a life that you want to live without all of this here?"
I just started coaching people on it. I was coaching people through parenting. I was coaching people through lifestyle, but really very quickly what it ended up being was coaching people through their own beliefs. Through that, I pulled all my tools together and realized that, "I actually have a process. I actually have a thing that I do when I uncover a block, or a belief, or a challenge." I developed that more fully and I continued my own learning, and my own research, and testing things on clients over there.
I've been doing this for about 10 years now, and just developed a system or a process that works, that helps you to identify what is actually tripping you up. Then change it and rewrite it without all of the years of therapy and the, not to say anything bad about therapy. I've used it, many people need it. But sometimes it takes you in circles instead of going forward and I needed something that was going to, I need to just stop navel-gazing.
I was at the point, in one point of my journey where I was like, "I can dig and dig, and dig, and understand all of the deep seated problems, and where they all stemmed from." But at some point, you've got to stop the digging and you've got to start moving forward. I had to very quickly because it's so easy for me to dig and go deep, and stay deep. I had to learn a strategy that was faster than that or it was just too tempting to stay in my mark.
That's what I did and I just continue to do it, and I love it. It's one of the things that I have never gotten sick of doing and talking about; is personal development and spiritual development, and how our minds work, how our bodies relate to that and then what we can do to actually change what's not working for us.
Kendra: I love that and I totally know what you mean about going deep but not actually fixing the problem. I think sort of talk therapy for example, is really beneficial to maybe just even uncover that because so many of us are just unconscious, to begin with. We're not even aware. But I went through the talk therapy thing and it was super helpful.
I realized all these things about me, but I got to a point where I'm like, "Okay, I get it now. I get, I have these things, but I need them to be fixed. I need something that actually helps me unwind this and form different belief patterns, right?"
Tara Wagner: Right. Exactly. There's so much benefit. I think one of the biggest benefits of having a therapist or a counselor is a safe place to go to process, and to be heard. For somebody to call you out and be like, "Whoa, Whoa, where we're going right now is not helpful. Let's steer in this direction." But just that space, we're lacking that conscious space where we can really talk about these things without somebody looking at us like we're crazy.
Even though every single person deals with these things, thinks about these things, feels these things. It's universal across the board and yet, if we start to talk about them, it's like, "Oh, she's crazy. Ooh, what's wrong with her? Girl needs help." Oh yeah, we do.
Kendra: We do need it, it's fine. I only wonder what people think about me when I tell them I have three counselors. I have a whole team of counselors with all the crap going on in my head. But I think when it comes to business, what a lot of new coaches, especially health coaches come up against is how much they get in their own way. I don't think people realize how much of online business in general is mindset.
Sometimes I say 80%, I'm pulling that number out of my butt but I think it's a huge portion of it. It's like, "Sure, you can learn the funnels and the sales, and the marketing, and all that stuff. But if you don't deal with your mindset and your blocks, and your limiting beliefs, you will just continually prevent yourself from succeeding," correct?
Tara Wagner: Yeah. You're not the only one that says 80%, it's kind of the 80/20 rule, right? 80% of it is our mindset, 20% of it is our strategy. You need good strategy but if you don't feel solid behind that strategy, you can have the best strategy in the world for a funnel. But in the back of your mind, if you're thinking, "Who the hell am I? I don't belong here. Nobody should pay me. This is complete crap. What am I doing?"
All of that is going to come out in that strategy and so your strategy is just going to flop. It makes a huge difference and no, it's not the only thing we need to address, but it is the thing we need to make sure is solid because it's the foundation. Anything you're building, if you're building it on a rocky foundation or a wiggly foundation ... [inaudible 00:10:21] foundations wiggle, a shaky foundation, it's not going to be solid.
You're not going to have a solid business. That was me and my first business. I had a great skill. I had a good business plan. There were holes in it because of my mindset that I didn't notice and I had potential. I had a great marketplace, I had great marketing, I was doing really well.
But I kept stopping myself because of what was going on in the back of my mind that I didn't even want to become conscious of. Because it was so uncomfortable to look at those ideas of like, "Am I good enough or who the hell am I? Or all of those things." All of the opportunity was there but I couldn't reach out and grab it, because my head wasn't in the right place.
Kendra: Yeah. Absolutely. That makes so much sense and I think a lot of listeners are going to have [inaudible 00:11:16] moments as we go through what we're talking about today. But can you clarify to our listeners, we're talking about impostor syndrome, what is that like, how does that actually manifest?
Tara Wagner: Yeah. Impostor syndrome is the outward appearance of having it all together, while inside you feel sick to your stomach because you think that you are a fraud. It is literally the thing, here's a great example. I see this one the most. Women will say, "I just need one more certificate and then I can launch this business. Or I just need one more training, or I need a couple letters behind my name." That's imposter syndrome [inaudible 00:11:56].
It's usually a rock in our stomach. It's usually a constricting healing in our throat or our chest when we think about putting ourselves out there or talking about what we do to other people. If we think about going to a network events and we just have the shrinking feeling of like, "Oh my gosh, that's where all the real professionals are. I don't belong there." That's impostor syndrome.
But the most important thing is that; outwardly, we look bad ass. We look hot, our stuff looks good. Inwardly, we're the hot mess.
Kendra: Right. Yeah. That's such a great way to describe it. You described it perfectly, especially for health coaches because I see it all the time. They get their IIN certificate or ITN, or FDN, or whatever it is, which really is enough education to be successful. But then they're like, "Oh well, I should get this certification. I should get a certified in essential oils. Oh, I need to do a homeopathy."
They just end up with 10 different certifications, yet they haven't taken any training on business. They haven't put themselves out there or shown up, or really taken any sort of action in their business because they're just waiting. They think they continually need more knowledge. But what I like to say is, I think an expert is someone who just knows a little bit more than someone else, right?
Tara Wagner: Right. Absolutely. The thing that we really get to understand is that we can't get to that expert status without actually taking the path, and putting in the hours and the real life practice. You don't get to be the best cardiologists in the world unless you put in 10 or 20 years of trial and error, and research, and testing things, and listening to your patients, and really delving in deeply into your craft.
But that means paying patience from day one. You don't get to do all of that unless you have real patience. It's the same thing with coaching or I see it a lot in photography, anything like that. Where if you really want to be the expert, the only way to get there is to get out and start doing the things that will bring you to that expert status.
Kendra: Absolutely. Yeah. It's exactly true. The only thing that's ever going to make you feel good enough and that you actually know a topic really well, is actually just getting out there and doing it. But I'll say, if you've gone to IIN or FDN or whatever it is, you already have everything you need. You already know so much more than the average person, you are an expert. You're only going to go up from there, but not unless you actually do the work.
Tara Wagner: Absolutely. Because the thing is, if we just allow that thought in the back of our mind of like, "I'm not there yet, I'm not good enough yet," it'll start holding us back. We'll sit in the back of the room when we're at event, we won't speak up. When we have a thought or when we're ... If we're at a party and somebody's talking about needing something or having some challenge with something that we can solve, we won't speak up to it, right?
We won't go after big opportunities. We will feel that insecurity and will lack that confidence in our gifts, in our current abilities. Then because of that, therefore never develop them to their full potential. We end up staying small or we end up playing, wait, how did I say this before? We end up staying small because we're playing small, right? If you want to be bigger, you got to play bigger. That's the only way. My husband, he does CrossFit.
He doesn't get to this point where he can with these big heavy weights, by lifting the small weights. He gets there by, he started with the small weights and then he got the bigger weights, and the bigger weights, and the bigger ... That's the only way to really grow, is to pick up something that is too heavy for your muscles. Literally that's the way our muscles grow is like, "Oh, this is too heavy. I need to send more resources to this area."
It's the same thing in our business. We will not grow without getting uncomfortable and putting ourselves into situations that [cause quarrel 00:16:10].
Kendra: Yeah. Absolutely. Can you speak a little bit to maybe the connection between ego and impostor syndrome?
Tara Wagner: Oh, it's one and the same. Okay, let me get on my [inaudible 00:16:26] a little bit. Here's my thing of impostor syndrome. It is an inherently selfish and self-centered experience. Because it is our mind saying, "The only thing that matters is what other people think of me." For everybody, especially those that are in a health business, you're here to serve other people. It's no longer about you. You get to get yourself out of the way.
You get to be imperfect. You get to get criticized. Sometimes, you get to make terrible mistakes and embarrass yourself because it's not about you. For me, ultimately we're getting deep on this real fast.
Tara Wagner: For me, impostor syndrome, it's ego. It is you allowing yourself to be self-indulgent and self-centered because you are taking your eyes off of what actually matters. You're here to serve other people. You're here to make an impact. That means even humbly doing so, you get to show up just as you are. You may suck at it and that doesn't matter because you are here to serve other people, not yourself.
Kendra: Yeah. I think a lot of it is like this maybe self-protection, self-preservation thing, right? Because getting out there online is really uncomfortable. Putting your shit out to a bunch of strangers on the internet is weird. That's not normal. We're in this first generation of people who are actually doing this, right? It's uncomfortable and your ego, your self-preservation wants to protect you and it's like, "Don't do that. That's scary. Keep doing it if you feel like it's safe," right?
Tara Wagner: Absolutely. I love that you called it that because I really dislike the topic of self-sabotage, because our egos are never trying to sabotage us, ever. Our ego is trying to protect us and our ability to meet our needs. What impostor syndrome really is, is a desire to be loved, to be appreciated, to connect with other people. Those are very legitimate needs. Those needs should not go anywhere and they're not going to go anywhere.
All impostor syndrome is, is a belief that those needs are going to be threatened if we show up to do this thing that we worry that we're not quite good enough for. That's all it is. It's a self-protection mechanisms to make sure that we can continue to meet our needs. One of the strategies that people really need to practice when it comes to overcoming impostor syndrome is look at, "What are my needs right now?"
Because emotions, the only thing emotions are, are signals of our needs. Unhealthy or somebody might call negative emotions, are signals of unmet needs or needs that are being threatened. Positive emotions are signals of needs that are being met. If we're feeling anxious, if we're feeling afraid, all that's telling us is, "I have a need that either is not being met or that is being threatened right now or I perceive as being threatened right now."
If we can identify what that need is and focus on meeting that need, a lot of times the fear will go away with it. Our mind just wants to know that we're not ignoring these other aspects that are really important to us.
Kendra: Yeah. Do you think with impostor syndrome, is that something that you can coach your clients to not have it all and go away, or is it something that you feel will continually show its head as time goes on, but you just have better strategies to actually deal with it?
Tara Wagner: It varies. I have seen it completely go away for some people. For most people, that's not the case. For most people, it just is a different experience. Instead of it being this, "Oh my gosh, what's everybody thinking of me? I'm terrified, I can't move. I'm paralyzed." Instead of it being that it's like, "Oh, there's that old friend again, he hi by and move on." It's just, Oh what's the word I'm looking for?
It's just weakens, right? It's lost its emotional charge. It's there but it doesn't have the same impact. Over time, depending on how much energy we put into cultivating the alternative, we can get to the point where it never comes up or rarely comes up. But that does take a lot of practice and a lot of focus.
Kendra: Yeah. I agree. I was having a conversation with a coach not that long ago and I was just telling her, because she's just like, "Well, I just need to do this and that I won't be scared." I'm like, "Do you realize that the fear doesn't really go away? Every time you do something new and you launch a new program, or a new service, or you make a pivot in your business, you're going to experience fear. It doesn't actually go away. You just get to the point where it doesn't hold you back from taking action."
She was like, "Oh, I thought it just went away." I'm like, "No, everyone has fear. Doing something different is always scary, but it's not like it just goes away for any of these mindset blocks we probably come across. It's about actively working on them regularly," right?
Tara Wagner: I think what happens when you do get to the point where you're really practice and you're really competent in something, what happens is that the fear shifts. You don't perceive it as fear anymore. You have the same sensations but it's not fear behind it, it's excitement, right? Because they're so closely related in the body. The only difference is, what's the thought like pushing that sensation out.
That's really what happens. Before this podcast, I felt the same thing. I was like, "Ooh, I got some butterflies. Oh okay, my throat is tightening up a little bit." That's just my signal of, "Oh, I'm doing something fun. I'm doing something good." Because if I'm not feeling that, I'm not challenging myself, I'm not putting myself out there. But now instead of 10, 15 years ago, that would've been like, "Oh my gosh, I can't do this. My throat's going to close up, I'm not going to be able to speak. I'm going to make a fool out of myself."
All of those thoughts would have come with that sensation. Now my automatic habit when that sensation comes up is, "All right, take a deep breath. Let's center ourselves. Let's remind ourselves why we're here, who are we here to serve? What are we about?" And it shifts. That sensation where it would have lasted, honestly, I probably would've felt it like three days prior to the interview and then just been sick all the way through it.
Now it's like 30 seconds and then it just shifts right back into like, "Where are we going from here?" It's just an experience and you don't have the meaning that we applied to it. Like, "Oh man, do we love to apply meetings to things that aren't always that meaningful."
Kendra: Yeah. So true.
Tara Wagner: You mentioned earlier too that, oh-
Kendra: Go ahead.
Tara Wagner: You mentioned earlier that it was so common. One of the things that I like to point out to people is, it's incredibly common. The research that's been done on it says that probably about 70% of people deal with it at some point. Then it comes up any time you are doing something new and big, which basically means if you're doing something of value. What I try to remind people is that, the 30% of people who aren't experiencing this are probably ... They're not superhuman person who just has it all together.
They're probably the portion of the population who are calling it in. They don't have big goals, that are not pushing their boundaries. They're not getting outside their comfort zone. They not trying to make a difference. They're waking up, going to work, coming back, watching TV, going to bed, repeating, right? These are people who are in a comfortable place. The reason why it is so prevalent amongst entrepreneurs is because you are constantly pushing at that boundary, you're constantly putting yourself into a new position.
It's like once you make it to five figures, then you're pushing six. When she make it to six, she's like, "Can I do multiple six." You're always, always, always expanding, which I think is a really good thing. There's three things in life that will grow you. I call them people growing machines. One of them is marriage, the second one is parenting and the third one is owning your own business. All of those will require you to not get comfortable.
You have to continue trying new things, put yourself into new situations. As soon as you have it figured out, something changes. It's just the nature of what we're doing. It's important to understand that if you're feeling it, it means you're on the right track. Because it's the high achievers that feel it the most. All of the research will show that every high achiever will feel impostor syndrome.
I always tell people, "Congratulations. You're in good company. That means you're actually doing something about you."
Kendra: Yeah. Oh, I love that. That's so interesting. Yeah, speaking to the people who are living inside their comfort zone, there's nothing wrong with that. A lot of people, they just put comfort and security really hard values, and I hear your dog. That's totally okay and that's fine, but if you want to have a business, you can't run an online business while just hanging out in your comfort zone.
It just doesn't happen. It's really important to realize that you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Tara Wagner: Exactly. Those are my thoughts, exactly. We get to ... Okay.
Kendra: Cute dog.
Tara Wagner: She's just a menace. She's just been such anxious little girl since our other one passed.
Kendra: Oh, that's sad. Oh, oh.
Tara Wagner: Now she's happy. She's on my lap.
Kendra: That's good. We are dog friendly here on the Health Biz Podcast.
Tara Wagner: I'm telling you, it's like a toddler. You can leave them home alone but they're just as needy sometimes.
Kendra: So true. I would totally think that would be true.
Tara Wagner: Yeah.
Kendra: All right. Let's talk about some strategies because I think now we've shown the audience that what they might be feeling and now we've given it a name. Because they've probably experienced those things, but maybe they don't know that it's a thing. It's impostor syndrome and that's something that we all go through, especially as high achievers.
When you coach people, what type are you getting doing visualizations, are you reframing beliefs, are you doing meditation stuff, what does that look like?
Tara Wagner: When I'm working one-on-one with somebody, it's going to be very unique to their personality and what really speaks to them. But when I'm talking about it like this, there's a few things that I like to teach. The first thing is that, in order to do any of this work, we have to detach our emotions from the work you're about to do. It's very important to remember that feelings are not facts.
We really love to glorify them in our culture. We really love to talk about them as though they're just so amazing. They are important, but they are not as important as we often say they are. The reason that we need to detach them is, because as you're going into impostor syndrome, you're going to come up against some stuff that does not feel good.
It's important to take a stance of non-attachment in that, so being able to observe the feelings and not believe the feelings, right? Because otherwise what happens as we start digging into this stuff, we hit on something that feels terrible. Then we just wallow in it and we feel terrible, and we quit our business. Instead of, "Okay, I'm noticing this feeling and what's that telling me about my deeds, how do I want to approach this, oh, isn't that interesting?"
Kind of going into it like a curious observer and just watching what comes up as it comes up. We really need to look at this from a more logical place, because impostor syndrome is so emotional. It's so untrue and so bringing in that logical mind is really important. That's always the first step of, just mentally prepare yourself. I know it's not a very practical step.
Which is kind of mentally prepare yourself of like, "Okay, some stuff is going to come up, how do I want to deal with that when it comes up? What do I want to say to myself or remind myself when I start to feel maybe some shame or anything like that, that might come up as I'm digging into this process?" That's always the first one, to kind of set that intention of, "I'm in control here. My emotions don't get to tell me what we're doing."
Kendra: Yeah. I love that because it's like, just because you think it doesn't mean it's true.
Tara Wagner: Absolutely. Amen. Hallelujah. I need it on a t-shirts and a tattoo, and a business card to pass around to a lot of people I know.
Kendra: Yeah. It's so true.
Tara Wagner: I'd like to coach people that we know.
Kendra: Yeah. I love that and that was one of the first things I learned when I started doing talk therapy. I was like, "Oh, just because I feel this and it's having this effect on my, physically and emotionally doesn't mean it's actually a true story." A lot of times it was not a true story. It was just some random story I had created in my head that wasn't actually true.
Tara Wagner: Exactly. It gets imprinted because of a situation or maybe messages that we just repeatedly heard. But that doesn't make it real, especially when most of those messages were created from the mind of a child. It didn't have all the understanding. They didn't understand the difference between I did a bad thing and I'm a bad person. We take in these messages from a really limited and sometimes worked perception or perspective.
Then we just go about believing that they're true, because the mind is actually designed to reinforce its own beliefs. Everything that has seeds, it will say, "Oh that, I'm going to use this as a way to reinforce my belief." If it sees something to the alternative, if it sees something that contradicts its belief, it'll just call that the exception to the rule. Like, "Oh, that's just that one."
It's like if somebody gives you a compliment and you're like, "Oh no, but I really suck. I was good at that, but I really actually suck at this," right? That's just what your mind does. It will hold on to its belief and so you just continue to believe that belief that you believe it. We never questioned that because we're not taught to question our thoughts and our emotions.
A lot of times, we're either taught to ignore our emotions or we're taught to glorify them. There's no middle healthy ground of, yes, our emotions are signals that we need to listen to, but we need to make sure that they're not running the show.
Kendra: Yeah. Something came to mind when you were saying that and I think this is a quote from maybe Louise Hay. That was the first sort of mindset book. It's called, You Can Heal Your Life. It was the first mind that really started to make me realize that I was manifesting some certain things that I might say, I was having the same experience overall with dating and relationships.
I just couldn't find one and I eventually realized that it was me perpetuating that situation. I think what she said is that, "Your beliefs form your reality and then your reality confirms your belief." It just this vicious cycle, if you continue to say, "There is no men in this town, I'll never find a relationship. I'm never going to find someone to love. I'm never going to find someone to settle down with."
I'm just going to keep having that experience. Then that's just going to reinforce what I believe about relationships, right?
Tara Wagner: Because how can we see anything if we're wearing a blue tinted glasses? Everything we're seeing is going to be blue. How could it be anything other than that until we realize, "Oh, I've got these blue tinted glasses on me, let me take these off and then see what it looks like."
Tara Wagner: It's, how could it be any other way, that's just the mechanisms of the brain. That's just how your mind works. It's not a bad thing, it's a little outdated and it doesn't grow with us.
Kendra: Yeah. Exactly. There was one belief that I come up all the time and it's just so funny because I get people saying, "I can't raise my prices because people in this area can't pay that." I'm like, "Do you realize that's just your perception, you actually have not seen into those people's bank accounts. You have no idea what they can and can't afford. That's just something you're telling yourself. You're telling me in this whole city of 200,000 people, that you can't find 50 people to pay for your services? Think about that."
Tara Wagner: Exactly. Now if you live in a town of 100 and it's in the middle of a low income, sure, I'll give you that.
Kendra: Yeah. Totally.
Tara Wagner: But you're right, the majority of people are surrounded by opportunity. I was in my business, right, but you just can't see because you can't see past your own nose, really.
Tara Wagner: Yeah. That first step is really about setting that intention. The second step is about digging into the experience of impostor syndrome itself. What I tend to tell people to do is journal about it. The reason that I like pens and paper journaling is it slows you down enough, that you can actually get into more of the unconscious or even just the less conscious, right? Not necessarily unconscious, but things that we can zoom my life, we're just typing answers out.
Asking ourselves the questions of, "What was the situation where I was experiencing this, or what situation am I afraid of that might bring this up? What are the thoughts around that situation? How do I feel, how does my body feel in those situations? What are my beliefs or my worries, right?" Because sometimes the beliefs are completely unconscious. We might really be aware of them and we might be completely unaware of them, but the worries not so much and that it's often really closely related to the beliefs.
What am I worrying about is going to happen. For me, I always had this thought in the back of my mind. I don't know where this image came from, but this is just the way the brain works. I pictured people with pitchforks running me out of town, I have no idea why. I live in a big city, I must've seen something somewhere as a child. I have no idea.
Kendra: It's funny.
Tara Wagner: But impostor syndrome, it looked like a crowd of angry people, maybe with pitchforks or maybe just with this, but they were just charging me out of town, that's what it was for me. Spend some time, really understand the entire experience that you're having around it. Oftentimes, you're going to see some things come up that you weren't even aware of. Many times, not always, at least a layer of that impostor syndrome will fall away or it'll get a little bit lighter just through the awareness of it.
You'll have kind of an aha moment or you'll realize how silly it is to think people with pitchforks are going to come after you, and you can talk yourself down from the ledge a little bit. Then from there, it's really about looking at the impact that it's had on you. I will take people through some exercises and generally I will have people do this on their own. Because if we have somebody watching us during this process, what will end up happening is, we'll filter.
I would never have told anybody 10 years ago about people with pitchforks. I barely could admit it to myself, I'm not going to tell someone else even if it was a therapist or a coach. Just taking the time to look at these things yourself and look at, "What impact has this had on me, where would I be in my life right now if I didn't deal with this?" Now, this doesn't mean that where you are right now isn't good enough.
If I look at it, I'm like, "Well gosh, I would've probably still been in my other business and I probably would've scaled that, and kind of glad that I didn't do that." That's not the point though. The point is to realize just how much further I could've been as a person or in my own personal goals if I didn't have this thing just dogging me all the time telling me, "I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough," and constantly holding me back.
Because for most people, impostor syndrome looks like going 70% of the way, right? Never really giving it your all and then being able to blame that when you don't actually experience success. "Well, I didn't do this. I didn't do that. I could've done it, but didn't." It keeps us in that safe comfort zone, right? Really looking at those things and looking at how is this causing you harm, how is it trying to keep you safe but really keeping you from the things that you've wanted.
Where could you have been in your life at this point if you had dealt with this five years from now? This is a little bit of a painful step for people. I actually will tell people, "If you don't know that you can do this objectively, if you really think that it might spiral you down a little bit, don't do it." It's not a necessary step but I find that it helps to create the motivation to stop ignoring the problem, right?
Because then it's like, "You know what, am I going to allow the next five years?" There's a difference between living five years and living the same year five times, which one am I going to allow? "Do I still want to be dealing with this in five years or do I want to really confront this?" They said, "Take it head on and change it." Hopefully the answer is, yes.
Kendra: Yeah. I love that because I think pain is a big motivator, right? People make decisions and take action based on emotion more than they do anything else. For me when I started my business, I just had a knee injury, I was working in forestry. I was trying to be a professional skier, all of which I needed my knee for. I was like, "I need to do something else," so I started an online business and it was terrifying.
But the fear of, "If I don't do this, I'm not going to have a job. I'm going to have to move back to the city, from the beautiful small towns that they live in because there's no jobs here," right? That pain was such a big motivator for me and so I think it can be a really good motivator. But you're right, people have to be okay with going into a dark place.
Tara Wagner: Yeah. It's not appropriate for everybody. There's been times in my life where that was not what I needed to do, and so have a level of self-awareness of like, "Is this going to be helpful for me?" But don't shy away from it. We live in a world right now that is all about fluffy mindset work and like, "Let's stroke the ego and make ourselves feel good." That's not real mindset work.
Real mindset work is to look at all sides of it and develop ourselves even when it's tough, even when it's messy, even when we really don't want to get up early and meditate. It's about doing the things that don't necessarily always feel great. Again, we don't want to wallow in it. Feelings aren't facts, but we do want to use the mechanisms in our brain. There's two things that motivate us, pain and pleasure.
When it boils down to it, we're just big giant mammals and it's pain and pleasure, and so use both of them, right? The next thing that I'll have people do is look at, where might you be without this, what could be created, what might happen? Again, this is the same thing. Some people will avoid this question because it's too scary. That's okay, take the steps that you can take and be okay with that.
If you can't take the big giant leap forward, pull a Bill Murray, take the little tiny baby steps and then guess what? If you're hiking up a mountain, right, when you get halfway up, the second half doesn't look that far away anymore. It doesn't feel that big and scary. Take the step that feels okay now and be at peace with that, and come back to the next step when you're ready to come back to the next step.
If that's six weeks from now or six months from now, or two years from now ... I hate to break it to you but you're never going to stop growing and you're never going to get there in this lifetime. The whole point is to just do this work. So just do the work and make peace with the fact that you're not going to have it all together. None of us do, we like to look like we do on Instagram.
Kendra: Absolutely. I love that analogy because I'm a crazy mountain woman. It's so true, when I hike mountains where you're at the bottom and you're like, "Holy fuck, that is a long way off." But you gain elevations so quickly, even when you're hiking super slow. All that matters is that you're putting one foot in front of the other and you're moving forward.
Tara Wagner: Yeah. If I were to stand at the bottom of a staircase and be like, "I need to get to that top step in one stretch," I'm going to hurt myself, right? But if I get to the first step and I'm like, "Oh, that's a little closer and that's a little closer, and that's a little closer," but we don't do that. We're living in a culture right now of instant gratification and so if you don't get there overnight, we think that we're failures.
I would encourage you to look at any successful person that you admire and find them in a podcast, in a book, in a blog post, in an interview talking about their journey and their mistakes, and how long it took them to create that overnight success. Because it's just not real. It's just a fabrication of our current media right now, and it's not intentional.
It's just the way that things look and the way our brains perceive them. It's doing more harm than good if we're not paying attention to it.
Kendra: Yeah. I think comparison is a really, we all do it. It happens and [inaudible 00:42:59] easy when you're new. You're like, "I'll have health coaches look at my business," and they're like, "You put out so much content. It's crazy, I just don't know how you do that." I'm like, "Yeah, because I have a whole team. The only thing I do and my business now is create content, my team runs the rest of the business for me."
Four years ago, I was doing everything so I wasn't everywhere and I was struggling to get content out. It's just like you can't compare your business to someone else's who's at a different place in their journey. Nobody really blows up overnight, I don't think that happens. Maybe it's happened to the odd person, but it's like they [inaudible 00:43:34] the exception, the way up.
Tara Wagner: If it happened to that odd person, were they able to sustain it?
Tara Wagner: Because most of the time, I think of this all the time, I'm like, "Would I be ready if Oprah called?" I don't know where I heard that question. It wasn't my question, heard it somewhere else. But I'm like, "Oh, snap. No, I wouldn't." Then my next question is, "Okay, what would take me one step closer to being ready when Oprah called?" Because the truth is, that kind of success you've got to build up to, it's like the muscles in the gym, right?
You can't go in and lift a 400 pound weight without putting in some years of practice to get to the point where you can sustain that type of success. It's the same with our business. I know that people hear this all the time, "Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or end." But what I want people to do when they are doing that, to keep it practical. Because it's not very helpful to say don't compare, because our brains are actually designed to compare.
We're going to compare, we're not going to stop it. Compare better. If there's somebody in your industry that you admire, you love their business, you love what they're doing and you want to do what they're doing, scroll back on their Instagram feed to when they started and compare, "Okay, what were they doing then and what am I doing, did this work for them? Where did they really start to gain traction and what were they doing around that time?"
Learn from those things, but learn from their beginning. Actually do the work to compare yourself to the right place in their trajectory.
Kendra: I agree.
Tara Wagner: Because in 10 years, they're going to now be 20 years ahead of you. You're going to always feel like you're chasing something, instead of just learning the things that you need to learn to build the business that you want to build.
Kendra: Yeah. I love that actually. That's a really good idea because yeah, it's true. We do compare ourselves regardless, but we're all different people and we're all in different places. We should use comparison maybe as a tool to grow or as [crosstalk 00:45:33] right?
Tara Wagner: Leverage it. It's going to happen, you're going to compare so learn how to do it in a healthy way. I actually have a whole video on this, on YouTube of, I think it's called how to stop comparing. But really it's about how to do it better, how to make sure that you're doing it in a healthy way. One of those ways might be, put some freaking blinders on, then subscribe from these people.
It's just not necessary and you're losing your voice trying to emulate someone else's. But when you do compare and do so when you're feeling healthy, right? We all have days when the last place we should be is on Instagram, looking at our competitor's feed. Then we have our days where we're like, "We got our shit together, we're feeling good, we can do this."
Use those moods to do that research and learn what worked for them and how can I apply this to my business. Leverage what's going to naturally happen in our brains to benefit you, versus harm you.
Kendra: Right. I love that. What would you say is one thing, one small step that our listeners could do today to maybe help with this situation with impostor syndrome?
Tara Wagner: It's not a small step. It's probably the most important step and that is; practice the shit out of it. Everybody wants to say, "Oh, that's not me. I'm just not good on Facebook live, that's just not who I am. I'm not a public speaker. I'm an introvert." I'm sorry, I'm going to lay down some tough love here. Introvert does not mean social anxiety. Introvert does not mean shy. Introvert does not mean you can't run your business.
Introvert does not mean you cannot be a great speaker. Introvert means after you do those things, you need to go rest because you're tired. You just gave all your energy away. That's what introvert means. We need to practice the mindset that we want to emulate because all of our mindsets, whether it's impostor syndrome or some other fear, or overwhelm, or whatever it might be, all they are is habits. You're not faking it till you make it, you're practicing a new habit until you develop it.
That's all it is. Outline literally, "What would I do without impostor syndrome? If I loved and approved to myself, even though I had gaps; skill gaps, experience gaps. Experience gaps, things that I'm not happy with. Even if I had those things, but I still liked myself. I still knew I was in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time, what would I do? What would I say? How would I show up? How would I hold my body? What would the expression on my face look like?"
Then practice that. Practice it in your bathroom, practice it before you get on a call. Practice it before you go to a networking event. Practice it before you get on an airplane. Literally practice who you want to be. Because who you are right now is only that, because you've done decades of practice. Thankfully, it doesn't take decades of practice to change it around, it might just take a few conscious efforts for you to really start seeing that traction.
But that is the most important thing. Mindset work really truly, does not happen in your mind. It happens when you hit pavement, when you start putting it into real life. If you're not doing that, you're not going to see changes. You can journal, you can meditate. I'm a big meditator, don't get me wrong. But if you're meditating to change your personality or to grow as a person, it's not going to happen until you practice those things.
Your body needs to experience it for your mind to finally fully get it. There's no other way around. I wish there was, I wish I could make it easier. It's going to be awkward and you're going to hate it, but that's why you practice in your bathroom first. Then you slowly just [intro 00:49:35] way into the next little step.
Kendra: Yeah. I love that. I love the idea of practicing for who you want to be. I noticed actually, just sometimes there's a small things that you can do too. I noticed that I became way more confident when I stopped working in front of my desk in my pajamas. Every day I get up, I make myself look nice. Nice, like I'm going to a job. At the end of the day, I clean off my desk, I wipe it down, I clean the office.
I make everything look professional and I get up like I'm going to a real job every day. Because before, I used to just hang up my pajamas in bathroom all day. I'm like, "That didn't work for me."
Tara Wagner: It's so true because, again, what our body does, our mind is interpreting. If we're showing up in our PJ's and there's nothing wrong with that. I've had years of working in my PJ's. I got a lot done, I created some success and it was awesome. But there will come a time in everybody's business where you'll notice that what got you here, won't get you there, right? You'll have to make some sort of shift and I had the same shift.
There's something magical about putting on your best pair of shoes when you're just going into your home office. You step into bad-ass mode, like, "I've got my boots on, we're going to kick some butt today." It's the same as, if you just start smiling, right? It changes the way that you feel. What we do affects how we show up. Absolutely, take a shower, do your hair, do your makeup. It doesn't have to be like the full thing.
But if you're showing up as your best damn self, if you were really owning what you do, who you are, how you do it, what would that look like? Maybe that is yoga pants, rock on but do it consciously. Consciously create that mindset because what's happening right now is, the mindsets getting created. Everything we do is created in the mindset. But most of the time it's just unconscious. It's haphazard, it's kind of thrown together and it's usually not very helpful.
Kendra: Yeah. I totally agree. I love that. When I work with people I'm always like, "Tell me what your perfect work day looks like. What are you doing, what do you do when you get up in the morning, what types of appointments do you have?" It seems to be a really hard question for people to answer, because they're not even really sure what, maybe even they want that to look like.
Tara Wagner: Yes. Or don't even know what it could look like. I remember that question being asked of me and it took me years to be able to create my ideal routine. It really happened because of trial and error, like, "Well, let me just start with this and see how that works. Oh, you know what? This is really causing a problem. Let me shift that." Again, these things take time, there's no overnight success in our morning routines either.
But there's just something powerful about consciously designing what we want to live, what we want to experience. Like I said, it's not easy. I think that it can be easy but it's probably not going to be for most people, because we're not very enlightened beings and so we're going to bring all of our challenges into it. That's what makes it not easy. But if we can just make peace with that, the process starts to unfold and it gets easier. Even though we're doing all this hard work, it just doesn't feel the same way anymore.
It doesn't feel as hard. It's just like going to the gym. You don't love it at first but you keep going because you know you need it. After a while, you want to go, you crave it. You still love it, like, "I will still rather be in bed at 4:30 in the morning," but I get up and I meditate because I know I'm going to feel good later. It's the same thing, we put in the work now for the benefits down the road.
Kendra: Yeah. I just really love when people realize that they can create and design their own lives in whichever way that they want to. We see so many people in victim mode who think everything's just happening to them, and I can see that in someone and just feel sad because I'm just man-like. If they just took personal responsibility and started being aware of how they were creating their own experience, they could have their dream life, right?
Tara Wagner: Yeah. Exactly. That really brings it back to that value of freedom for me. That's really where I was, of just feeling trapped to my own thoughts and emotions and so many people don't realize they're even trapped. That is the one thing. If I can leave one message on this world when I die, it's that, it's up to you what you perceive 100%. I'm not even talking about law of attraction and attracting what you desire or anything like that.
I'm talking about just basic brain mechanics. What you focus on is how you feel. You can literally create pretty much any personality you want, any outcome you want, if you're willing to put in the work and do it. If there's something in your life that you don't like, you can change it. If you're willing to do the work now, that work might be easy for some people and hard for other people based on where you're starting.
But it's still ultimately a choice. If it's not serving you, if it's not serving other people, when are you going to let it go?
Kendra: Yeah. Totally. Oh, love it. I love it. Well, can you let us know, Tara, how listeners can connect with you and learn more from you if they wanted to do some of this work?
Tara Wagner: Absolutely. I actually have a workbook that I put together that you guys are welcome to have. If you go to xoTara.us/isworkbook, so impostor syndrome workbook, what I've actually done is take in and broken down eight steps. Some of which we've talked about today, some of which we haven't, that people can walk through to start this process. Really in a powerful way, I really tried to put some real coaching in there.
I tell people all the time, "I'm a tough coach, not a fluff coach." I didn't put a lot of fluff in there. It's real practical, tangible steps to really give people some guidance on like, "What can I do with this, how can I really overcome this?" It's xoTara.us/isworkbook. They can download that for free. You can find me on YouTube @TaraWagner and I do weekly coaching videos there, so lots of practical, tangible stuff.
I tried to keep it really down to earth because I know how frustrating it is to talk about mindset and then walk away and go, "But how do I do that?" Then Instagram @TaraWagner, as well.
Kendra: Cool. Yeah. We will make sure to link to all of that in the show notes. I was just creeping on your YouTube channel. It looks like you've got lots of great videos there. I'm a big fan of YouTube so I was like, "Yeah."
Tara Wagner: You do?
Kendra: Awesome. Well thank you so much, Tara, and thank you to all our listeners. We appreciate you hanging out with us and having this very uncomfortable, but hopefully enlightening conversation. Make sure to connect with Tara if you are noticing that in yourself. I'm sure she has lots of fantastic tips in her free workbook. I will see you guys in a week from now and in two weeks from now, hopefully it will be me with my compadre, Christine again. Hopefully she'll be back from gallivanting the world. Thank you so much guys, and I'll see you guys in the next episode.