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The Imposter Syndrome Files: Normalizing Human Struggles

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Do you ever feel like a fraud?
Reinvention and having a platform in a digital space are both extremely difficult tasks, and yet these are two tasks that Kim Meniger managed to navigate through with the launch of her podcast The Imposter Syndrome Files. Meniger, a former corporate America worker, now serves as a successful executive coach for Executive Career Success, a company she founded in 2010.

Meniger is the definition of a girl boss, focusing her company to equip other business professionals (mainly high-potential women leaders) with necessary skills to confidently manage a diverse group of people while also maintaining immense growth for their businesses to operate and function at their full potential. Meniger has always had a passion for instilling women with essential skills to maximize their business impact and is very open about her struggle with feeling like an imposter in industries where she is more than qualified for the job position. So despite her success, her struggles prompted her to launch The Imposter Syndrome Files podcast on March 10th, 2020.

Not as uncommon as you may think
According to the Journal of Behavioral Science, approximately 70% of Americans suffer from signs and symptoms associated with imposter syndrome -- feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. Often those who identify as imposters are more than qualified for the positions they are pursuing and yet these individuals often feel as though they are not. "Imposters" experience and suffer from high levels of self-doubt. The term applies to both male and female achievers who are psychologically uncomfortable with acknowledging their role in the successes they have achieved. Psychologist Dr. Renee Carr states that "this psychological discomfort is often rooted in pressures — from self or others — to achieve great success." Those that experience it attribute much of their success to luck rather than their own visible accomplishments. Meniger has experienced these same feelings of self-doubt and must still actively struggle to not allow her own self-doubts to define her. This new platform enables her to have open, honest, and transparent conversations with individuals currently suffering from imposter syndrome or with those that have found it within themselves to manage their symptoms. Conversations and feelings of this nature no longer have to be so taboo, but rather because this is a syndrome experienced by such a vast population, it is time to start having these conversations and normalize this common human struggle.

The elephant in the room is you
Imposter syndrome limits individuals from walking fully in their own successes. Imagine convincing yourself that you are inadequate and not qualified despite past successes, despite the belief others have in your abilities, and despite having educational degrees that further prove your qualification to handle the tasks in front of you. Imagine being your own stumbling block.

While feeling unqualified is normal, these feelings can immobilize and hinder our success in our current workplace and the future successes that await us. Being granted new opportunities, getting work promotions, and having more responsibility placed upon us in various areas of our lives are proof that we are and have always been qualified because our past successes have granted us these new and exciting opportunities. Self-doubt can become self-sabotage and limit our effectiveness in the roles we are tasked to fulfill. While it may be hard to admit that we are the reason that we are not mentioned when promotion time hits, or that we are likely to downplay who we are and what we have done when in an interview setting, those who suffer from imposter syndrome have to deal with being overlooked because they are often unable to see within themselves the worth and value they add to their environment. Managing symptoms associated with this syndrome is so important because, with so much already coming against us in this world, we never want to be the reason why successes of any kind are denied us, or to find ourselves in a state where we are incapable of fulfilling necessary requirements of the roles granted to us because we never saw ourselves fit for such positions in the first place.

Sometimes all it takes is a conversation -- vulnerability produces healing
This podcast serves as a community. A community where "imposters" can have those much needed conversations about the struggles they are tasked with overcoming to effectively and efficiently function in their day-to-day lives. Each episode is a conversation between Meninger and another woman in which they discuss how they manage their condition, the role imposter syndrome has played in how they navigate through the workforce, and how normal and universal this feeling is.

Is this going to get repetitive?
A few episodes in, Kim began to question if any more could be said about the subject. She feared the podcast would get repetitive and audience interest would inevitably die down. While the topic is narrow, the ways in which people navigate through this life experience is unique to them as an individual; therefore, each conversation addresses something new. Kim realized that no two stories are the same because no two lives are the same.

Your success is valid
While people decide whether we are "qualified" for the positions we find ourselves in, we must believe them or it means nothing. Feeling whole is something that must be internally discovered.

So, to anyone suffering from imposter syndrome, join Kim's efforts to erase the stigma surrounding this psychological discomfort. By coming together and sharing in one another's struggles and by strategizing with one another to find effective means to rise above the seemingly immobilizing effects of imposter syndrome, our successes will not be something we allow others to define for us, but rather a truth we identify within ourselves.

For more information regarding Kim Meniger please visit https://executivecareersuccess.com/ or email Kim at Kim@ExecutiveCareerSuccess.com, and, of course, listen to The Imposter Syndrome Files on Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you choose to listen.

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