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Badass Women at Any Age

Oct 22, 2019

Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally-known expert on impostor syndrome and author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It. She joins the show to talk about the difference between confidence and competence, what the impostor syndrome is and why we get it, and ways that we can reach and harness our badass energy and potential to play bigger and better. 


What You Will Hear in This Episode: 

  • The impostor syndrome can materialize in many forms, but it usually comes down to core belief that we are not talented, qualified, or worthy for the job, relationship, or success. 
  • When we externalize and downplay success, we are left with a fear that we are going to be found out and others will know that we are just an impostor. 
  • Symptoms of the impostor syndrome can look like someone not speaking up, keeping a low profile, addiction to work, and self sabotage. 
  • We tend to confuse confidence with competence, but Valerie says in her own personal experience, you learn to tell the difference more with age. 
  • When we feel the impostor syndrome, we tell ourselves a story that reflects our beliefs, and we look for validation that this story is true. One solution is to reframe our story and to expect results that instead highlight our talent and worthiness.  
  • We should welcome (most) constructive criticism, and see it as a way to grow and expand. 
  • Though women seem to express it more, men also fall prey to feeling the impostor syndrome. It happens in situations most when there is a high expectation of competence. 
  • Up to 70% of high achievers have had the feeling of not being good enough or being in over their head. We can normalize it by knowing that almost everyone suffers from it. 
  • Being competent doesn’t mean doing things perfectly, or never making a mistake. The most successful people have failed many times. 
  • Don’t wait until you don’t feel like an imposter to start something. Get in motion, and confidence will come from the doing. 



  • “The solution is to reframe how we think about criticism. We can see it as a gift.” 
  • “Sometimes you are going to feel over your head, and you will feel off base. When you know that, you are less critical of yourself.” 
  • “The only way to stop feeling like an imposter is to stop thinking like an imposter.” 
  • “Write a new story story for yourself.” 



The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women 

The Imposter Phenomenon 

Up to 80% percent of CEO’s feel out of depth and struggling 

Imposter Syndrome 

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