Imposter Complex

Episode 001: Imsposter Complex

Some say you may have imposter complex as you navigate creative effort and owning your story. Some say it looks like fear that you are a fraud and will be found out, or that you attribute your success and efforts to luck instead of skill and determination. Check out my two counterpoints / suggestions in this episode regarding thought work and tracking your work. I say we can get to the bottom of this! Shall we?


Episode 001: Imsposter Complex transcript:

We are rolling whenever you are ready.


Well, hi, you are listening to the creative cocktail podcast, I am your host Réka and this is episode number one.

So I imagine that this would maybe be the intro, this is how it worked in my head, these are notes to my friend xxx who’s gonna cut all this up, and so this is gonna get cut out but I’m gonna say it anyway. (Laugh)

I imagine that maybe that’s an intro and then I just say, well actually maybe secretly I was hoping he would say, “Welcome to the creative cocktail podcast, a mix of three-part design, two-part brand clarity with a dash of mental health serving the worldly passionpreneurs. And maybe this is under some sort of music intro or there’s just a little differentiation in the voice.

So I would say “hi, you are listening to the creative cocktail podcast, I am Réka, your host, and this is episode number one.”

Then we cut, kinda describe the podcast, maybe to fun music, clinking whatever sounds you know, glass sounds, and then it would cut back to “Hi, welcome to the first episode, I’m Réka I own paperreka, where I brand badass female passionpreneurs and I will be the host for most of the episodes unless I have guests or something or [something] kinda strange or weird happens so I am trying to leave room for unknown and we will see where all of this will take us.

So it’s been my dream to do a podcast for a really really long time and didn’t really know how to get started and so I allowed myself to sit in this really strange space of indecision / fooling myself that I was really working on the podcast and that probably took up a whole entire year. So I thought to actually start the podcast it may be very fascinating and interesting to start with a topic called the impostor syndrome or impostor complex.

If you do not know, the impostor complex is your inability to believe that your own success is the result of your efforts and talents. You have this fear that you gonna be found out as a fraud or that you are somehow duping people into thinking that you are good at what you are doing when in fact you are not.

A second ago I was saying I was sitting in indecision this was this back story playing in my head about who would to listen to the podcast anyway, and what am I going to say that’s interesting and all kinds of fears and crazy things. And then I would say it to friends and they would say “yeah, sounds really fascinating, you should totally do it, I would listen to the podcast” and I so then could sit with this non-existent review from a non-existent listener and kinda feel like I was moving the podcast forward, which, really, I wasn’t, right? You can see that wasn’t any kind of action I took to make it happen. So I was sitting in this indecision, yea it could be this, it could be that, but as long as I don’t have to make the decision I don’t have to own this space.

And so what had happened was I set some goals for this year, for this quarter actually, and one of them was to launch the podcast, and it almost felt like a really silly “I’ve been saying this for a long time so I’m gonna put it down, it should be a goal that I am setting because I have been saying  I would do the podcast,” right?

So I decided to create action steps around the goal and one of them was to have a conversation with a friend who is helping me edit the podcast, we’ll not name names, maybe one day we will name names, and to talk about what I would need technically to get set up. Then I set an action step to create a logo, which, believe it or not, I actually started almost a year ago. Then I set an action step to actually set a time to record it. So when I talk about impostor syndrome or complex… Actually I don’t know why it’s called a syndrome, if it’s a syndrome it should be in the DSM, that manual for psychologists, so it’s not actually any kinda disease that anybody has so complex is a little more appropriate to use, but you will see it interchangeably on the internet.

This impostor complex kinda was creeping in, right? Not really getting my work done, not really taking the action steps so what I wanted to offer today is to explain to you how me actually making the podcast was me overcoming the issue of impostor complex. And it’s not that I’m not nervous to be here and record, and it’s not to say that I slept very well last night and that I didn’t think at all about the podcast—cause I was and I didn’t sleep well. So what I want to offer is to tell you that the fact that I set the goal to launch the podcast and I created the action steps, just a few really small and simple things to start talking about it maybe see what the technical requirements are… in those steps I found actually that I was able to move the needle forward. One of the weeks I decided, by Friday I have to have the logo done, so Wednesday I would need to show the logo to my friend, and to be honest I didn’t open the file until Wednesday from a year ago, and looked at it and thought, ok, just start making it a little more cohesive, clean up a couple of things, share, and the actual feedback was really positive almost little to no changes. It was kind of silly to sit on it for a year, honestly, and not move forward. But me not moving forward was proving to myself that I have impostor complex, right? So watch what kind of stories you can create by thinking that you have this complex or you have this thing happening when in reality it’s really just a thought it’s really just a story that you are creating. In showing my friend the logo I ended up finishing the logo, by the end of the week I sent it out in my newsletter as kind of a teaser so that’s commitment to your audience, that it is a thing you are doing. In these tiny moments and conversations, I was basically able to make it happen honestly.

My point of this episode, or recording this episode, or talking about this thought or story that you could be creating about things that you are doing in your life, and you don’t have to be, I’m saying this podcast is for creative people, and if you are listening and you are not a designer, I don’t think it’s really that important. You can have impostor complex or think you have impostor complex regardless right?

The point I am trying to make is that maybe it’s a thought or story you took on for a certain reason. Like fear of failure for example, for sure, definitely a lot of things that I do, or don’t do really, is fear of failure. The point I am trying to make here is that it is possible for you to see this as a thought and a story. So if you can do that, then you can do a step deeper and say I’m deciding to keep this thought because it serves me or to drop it.

I want to offer that you could keep this thought and see if it serves you or you could let it go.

The beauty of deicing is that you can become friends with these thought processes and stories in your brain that are just that. Just little thoughts coming and going and they don’t have to mean anything more than ok, it’s a thought that just entered my brain, and it’s not something that’s going to rule the future of my career or creative process, or me launching a podcast because if I look to debunk the complex, right, if we say this inability to believe that my success is a result of my efforts and skills, I have design skills and I’ve put forth effort in designing my logo, creating content that you guys are going to hear, and putting effort forth to actually set up a recording time and sit down and do the work.

I’m already capable of seeing that it’s not true that the efforts are not [from] my own success. Does that make sense? There’s a difference in just sitting in that indecision and that thought process of oh yea, all this fear, and all these thoughts are coming up and I’m just not gonna do anything and I am unable to move the needle forward versus saying success has to be the result of my efforts and skills because these are the steps I’ve taken.

One of the things I started to do this year, which I used to do for a long time, then I stopped for a minute last year, is record just in a sticky note, I literally buy it in target, this lined, larger sticky pad, and write down things I do in the week. I don’t make it fancy, it’s not this crazy journal that you have to commit 4 to 5 hours a day to feel all the feels. It’s a really simple task of one thing I do in the week gets put down there. That email you sent to the client to fire them, that podcast logo that you sent off to your friend, whatever those small little steps are… It’s really neat at the end of the week to see your progress.

So that helps you prove your point that all this effort was actually really happening. It’s actually proving to your brain that you are not crazy, you are not not doing the work, you are absolutely doing the work and moving the needle forward.

That’s one thing that has helped me overcome this. The other thing is, that attributing your success to luck or thinking that you’re faking it and people will find out that you are fraud, is again a thought you can keep or not keep, and if you wanna keep it guys, you keep that. If you want to sit that thing it’s totally cool. I’m not saying you have to all of a sudden clean up all of these thoughts at the same time, right? But maybe one at a time you can try them on and see if it really serves you or not serve you but my point today is two-fold: it is deciding that this is just a thought and you can keep it or chuck it and the other is that you can create a list or library of actions, efforts that you take over time, that you look back you don’t have to rely on your brain and believing all of those thoughts that may be stories, but you can actually look at your piece of paper and think oh, yeah, I fucking did all that work like there is no way I am a fraud because I have shown up and taken the baby steps.

So that’s what I want to offer for today, two things, and see if you want to try them on, and let me know how it goes.

So my intention of the podcast is to create a platform that serves as information and inspiration for fellow entrepreneurs about thought work and anti-hustling and creating this fulfilling life so today’s anecdote and just how even I got started with the process I hope shows you that we are all affected by similar thought patterns and stories and maybe you don’t quite struggle with this exact thing but maybe there’s another little anecdote or particular piece of information that will helpful to you. But my hope is to take you to a deeper level and find an interesting angle to maybe something that is not letting you fulfill your creative endeavors and again, you don’t have to be a designer but if you are in this space of passionpreneurship as I like to call it, in this space of creating, you are probably coming up against a lot of these fears and thoughts and thought processes. So if you enjoyed today’s podcast you will probably hear a lot more content like this. If you just listened cause you are a friend and you thought this was weird, this is what the podcast will be, so thanks for listening, but maybe you are not the ideal target audience. But if you did enjoy it, we will have anecdotes, and stories, and interviews like this and I hope you feel like it serves you fell for the future, and maybe this week and maybe gives you a tip or some sort of angle that you have not thought about before. So if that’s the case, keep listening and I will be back next time. Bye.

Hi! Thanks for listening all the way through. Would you mind subscribing to the podcast or leaving a review? It helps us greatly to grow the podcast. Oh, and if you have any questions, concerns or a note for Réka, please visit for more information. And thanks.