How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome - Biz Buds Podcast - Tom Ross & Mike JandaHow to Overcome Imposter Syndrome - Biz Buds Podcast - Tom Ross & Mike Janda

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Do you ever feel you are not good enough or you don’t fully deserve the success you have achieved so far? Do you struggle with self-doubt and often need validation from others? If yes, you are not alone. Tom and Mike, like most entrepreneurs, have felt this way many times but that didn’t stop them from being successful entrepreneurs. This article will help you prevent and overcome imposter syndrome and teach you what to whenever these thoughts creep in.

If you are in a rush, here are the key takeaways from this article:

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What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a psychological pattern in which one doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments, no matter how successful they might be. This persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud is something most people experience at some point in their lives. If you’re building a business, trying to progress in any manner, or just plain ambitious, you probably have felt some measure of it. But if you’ve never experienced Imposter Syndrome, you’re probably not putting yourself in situations that are outside of your comfort zone – truly a double-edged sword.

Mike’s experience with imposter syndrome: Mike has an 18-year old agency, two published books and over 100,000 followers on Instagram, yet there are times when he feels like he doesn’t know what to say. Once Mike gave an acceptance speech on behalf of his agency at an award ceremony, he asked himself if he deserved the award at all. He felt that other agencies had performed better and were far more deserving of it. Imposter syndrome began to creep in when he started comparing himself to others.  He believes that if you have a shred of humility, you’re probably going to feel some imposter syndrome. 

Tom’s experience with imposter syndrome: Tom calls himself more of an ambitious neurotic entrepreneur. He feels like he’s a hamster on a wheel and constantly needs affirmations from people telling him that he’s doing a good job to keep going.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome

Stress & Anxiety

When you’re dealing with anxiety, you can’t think out of the box, no matter how well you’re doing in your career.

How Mike deals with anxiety: As a result of his entrepreneurial lifestyle, he consistently deals with high stress levels and anxiety. He battles it with good habits like eating healthy, sleeping well, distracting himself with movies, and going to the gym. 

How Tom deals with anxiety: As a creative entrepreneur, he digs his way out of his anxieties by writing down his track record of successful results. It reinforces the fact that he is not an imposter, and does have expertise in what he does – writing it down on paper makes it indisputable.


Mike’s insecurities: Mike grew up with three brothers. While he was a year younger than his oldest brother, he always felt the need to measure up to him. His parents raised him and his oldest brother as the ‘big boys’ of the family and therefore, he always felt the psychological need to push himself to live up to that expectation.

Tom’s insecurities: Tom grew up in a family where he received a tonne of praises because he was a good kid with good grades. Today, his community of 25000 people have helped him grow with everyday validation in the form of Instagram likes, counts and revenue numbers. 

He feels confident doing what he does because of the affirmation he receives from hundreds of people. However, there are days when he only gets a couple of people’s affirmations – it is then he wishes he was more confident and didn’t need validation from others. 

You may not feel validated with 25000 followers and 1500 likes on each post because you were hoping for 3000 likes and 100,000 followers. However, it feels the same even if you had bigger numbers because there will always be a bigger metric to strive for. Imposter syndrome is tied to ambition and drive.

For example: If you had 7000 likes on one post then you will find yourself asking why your most recent post got only 1800 likes.

Instead of over-analysing, take pride in the fact that 1800 people liked a post, 3000 people saved a post and 300 people commented on a post. Be happy with the value you add to your community.

Ways to cope with Imposter Syndrome

Get out of your own head

Use thoughts and ideas that bounce around in your head to help others.

For example: Gary Vaynerchuck talked about social media essentially being an empty vessel. It gets a lot of blame for causing imposter syndrome. However, it is an empty platform and we are the ones filling it with content. It can be harmful. If you are following Kim Kardashian and every time you look at her, it makes you feel ugly and poor, don’t follow her. Control of what shows up on your feed and you’re going to feel better about yourself.

Get an actual perspective of what people think of you. This is a great way to put a bandaid on imposter syndrome. Ask a trusted person who supports you, motivates you, and inspires you for their honest opinion. 

Be confident about your truth. Share it. This results in a loyal audience and a great brand reputation. Build a lifestyle of structure and systems. Work on them every day. Maintain good mental health with good habits like maintaining personal hygiene, meditating, writing in your gratitude journal or whatever gives you a moment for self-reflection.

For example: Before getting into a podcast call with Tom, Mike motivates himself by talking to the camera.

If you don’t feel some measure of imposter syndrome you’re probably not growing much in your career. Push yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone – pivot and change your brand positioning, take more responsibility. Use imposter syndrome as a tool to drive your growth, embrace it. 

Imposter syndrome is not determined by external forces, it comes from within. Take a pause and be grateful for what you have instead of chasing what you don’t.

Remember, you are not alone.

Here’s the good news: after you receive a certain measure of accomplishment, imposter syndrome can go away. 

Pro tip: Read ‘Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds’ by David Goggins. He is the only person to have completed all the US special forces training from Navy Seal to Army Ranger. In his autobiography, he talks about training your mind to achieve things that may seem impossible. He also talks about the accountability mirror: looking at yourself in the mirror and being accountable to yourself – a super effective technique for positive affirmation. 

So when you publish a great post on social media and it doesn’t perform well, don’t waste too much time analyzing why. Rather, move onto creating a better, more insightful post instead. Get some fresh air. Don’t be afraid to turn away from people who make you feel less than your best self. Social media has created a world filled with imposter syndrome because you see what other people are doing and compare your losses to their gains. 

Mike’s experience: He was asked at an interview for Fox if he has ever done style guides before. This was when he was only three years into his career. He immediately confessed that he hadn’t, but also told them that he would be able to figure it out. This landed him a job at Fox where he created two major style guides.

He also gives coaching lessons to creative entrepreneurs who are trying to grow in their careers. As somebody who has walked the same path, Mike shares his journey with them to help them expand and grow their business. However, if he was hired as a consultant by a mega-agency like RGA for his expertise, he would suffer from imposter syndrome. Although he has valuable knowledge, he may not be able to present it at the workshop. 

The most transformative things you can do for yourself is by being around valuable, ambitious and healthy content. 

So, if you are struggling with imposter syndrome, know that it’s part of growth. It tells you that you are on a path of success and you have to keep going. Reminder yourself that these thoughts aren’t the reality and you will do great,

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