Imposter Syndrome: 7 Mindset Shifts to Overcome Feeling Like a Podcast Fraud
When you’re new to podcasting, everything can seem like a challenge. Choosing the right equipment; learning to edit audio; coming up with great content. But one of the biggest challenges — maybe the BIGGEST challenge — to people launching their shows is imposter syndrome. Those feelings that we’re unworthy. That we don’t know enough or aren’t good enough.
“Who am I to start a podcast? What if no one listens? What if people hate my show?”
These are totally natural feelings that most people suffer from. I put off podcasting for years because of these thoughts. But you can greatly minimize these negative feelings with a few simple questions to shift your mindset.
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Self doubt can come and go. One day, you’re on top of the world and feel like you can conquer anything, and the next day you’re thinking, “What am I doing? What if this doesn’t work? Why didn’t I start this 10 years ago? What if people think I’m not good enough?”
We torture ourselves with these negative questions that often have nothing to do with reality. But they hold us back from doing what we really want to do. So how can you overcome, or at least manage, feelings of ‘I’m not good enough?’
Amy Porterfield is one of my other favorite entrepreneurs and host of the podcast Online Marketing Made Easy. On episode 147, her guest, Marie Forleo, a pretty famous entrepreneur who started the online business school B-school, says that ‘low-value questions’ make us doubt ourselves and that we need to ask ourselves better questions.
An example Marie gives for entrepreneurs is: ‘What if no one buys what I’m selling?’ She says a better question is, ‘What can I offer that will truly serve the market I’m focused on serving?’
I’ve taken the five low-value questions and answers Amy and Marie came up with for business owners and am giving them a podcast spin here:
Instead of asking, ‘What if no one listens to my podcast?’ ask ‘What content can I create that will best serve my listeners?’
Instead of asking, ‘Who am I to start a podcast?’ ask ‘How can I improve my listeners’ quality of life by serving their needs/wants/dreams?’
Instead of asking, ‘How can I possibly compete with this other podcaster who’s been around for years?’ ask ‘How would I behave if I had the #1 show on Apple Podcasts and millions of people tuned in to hear me?’
Instead of asking, ‘Why am I not getting more downloads?’ ask ‘How can I make one person smile today?’
Instead of asking ‘How am I supposed to podcast when I don’t know anything about technology?’ ask ‘What do I need to learn to deliver a podcast my listeners won’t want to miss?’
Two more bonus better questions
A final thought Amy Porterfield shared on her ‘better questions’ episode was a tactic she learned from her business coach Mary Hyatt: Whenever a negative thought or question about yourself is gnawing at you, ask yourself if you want those thoughts to be true. Then reframe those negative thoughts into positive ones.
So, if you’re thinking, “I’m not sure if anyone is going to listen to my podcast,” do you want this to be true? If not, reframe this with something like, “I’m creating a podcast that I know people will listen to because I’ve done the work to identify who my ideal listener is and I know what they want to hear about.”
As I talked about in the episode on defining your ideal listener, you’re not trying to appeal to everyone. You’re focused on someone very specific. Someone you want to serve.
And here’s another bonus question to ask yourself to fight imposter syndrome —
What’s the worst that can happen?
When you’re stressing out over whether you should do something or not, think about what advice you’d give to someone else in your situation.
If you’re anguishing over whether you should invite someone to be a guest on your podcast — “What if they ‘no’?” — think about what you’d advise someone else. Chances are, you’d say something like, “What is the worst that can happen?” I mentioned how much I love that question in the ‘Help for the Introverted Podcaster’ episode of Podcasting Step by Step.
We should ask ourselves ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ whenever we want to try something new but feel a twinge of fear in our hearts. When we want to dance at our friend’s wedding but think we’re not good enough. When we want to raise our hand at a conference but worry our question is dumb.
What is the worst that can happen?
To sum up this episode of Podcasting Step by Step:
Instead of worrying about whether anyone will listen to you, or whether you deserve to have a podcast, think about who you can help with your show. Don’t make it about you. Make it about your potential listeners. This benefits them and takes the pressure off you!
Confidence ebbs and flows like a roller coaster. For pretty much everyone. Some days you think, ‘Yes, I’m going to crush this!’ and other days you slide back into ‘Oh my gosh, who am I to think I can pull this off?’ This is normal. Push through it, because, as we’ve talked about before, the actions we take change how we think about ourselves, not the other way around. We can’t wish to be brave, we need to take brave actions.
When imposter syndrome creeps up on you, use the questions we talked about today to kick it back.