What is imposter syndrome? Here’s a Q&A with entrepreneur and Confidence Queen Kim Gravel with some insightful answers.
Imposter syndrome is probably best described as feelings of not being enough— not being good enough or that you’re a fake, a phony or inadequate in some way. Worse, these feelings persist, despite evidence of success. It’s extremely common—up to 82% of people in the US alone feel this way at some point. Even I feel imposter syndrome at times, especially when my self-perception is off. For instance, despite the fact I’m always on QVC, I’m still struck by self-doubt that I’m somehow not qualified or that I’ll be “found out” and kicked off the network. Crazy, huh?
The first time it really hit me was when I training for the Miss America competition. I felt like I was constantly being told that I was “not enough” or I was “too much,” and I ended up internalizing those messages as a feeling that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be competing at this level after all. Needless to say, the way I reacted isn’t something I would recommend. Instead, I would encourage anyone who feels imposter syndrome to ground themselves in the truth of who they are, which is a beautiful, amazing, one-of-a-kind soul and then connect to their calling. Once I’ve done that, I find that any imposter syndrome I have fades away.
I believe having imposter syndrome can actually help us reach excellence and attain success within our work. If we handle those feelings correctly, which means we pause and recenter and reground ourselves in the truth who of who we are and what our calling is, it can help us continue moving forward on the path intended for us.
Perfectionist, expert, natural genius, soloist, super person. Basically if you’re a high-achiever, you’ve likely suffered from imposter syndrome at some point in your life.
The best way I’ve found to deal with imposter syndrome is to shift your perception, which sounds difficult but it’s absolutely something you can learn to do. You can shift anything and everything. The reason why you want to do this is because how you’re perceiving yourself is what will determine what you become. Once you shift your perception, then you’ll want to bring your imposter syndrome out in the open and discuss it. This will allow you to start to recognize self-doubt, and that will make it easier to shift what you are looking at. Eventually what will happen is you’ll start to accept what you are looking at, which means, finally, not beating yourself up because of it. Remember, turn your weakness into power, your failure into strength, and your mess into your message!
The mess of life is different for different people. For example, I used the mess from my divorce to channel myself to empower women. Now, I am a global voice for teaching women to walk in confidence and never look back. Make yourself into your own masterpiece and shift your perception.
That you are not your circumstances. It doesn’t matter how much of a mess you think you made of your life or how stuck you are, you are in the perfect place to take that first step into embracing your calling. You’ve got this. I believe in you.
Kim Gravel was once down and out and living in a rundown apartment. This dynamo embraced her circumstances and personal power to become QVC host, TV personality and now author of Collecting Confidence: Start Where You Are to Become the Person You Were Meant to Be (April 25, 2023). In 2016, Kim partnered with television and online retail giant QVC to launch her highly successful apparel line, Belle by Kim Gravel®, and she also launched the Belle Beauty® cosmetic line, now a $100M company.
Ms. Career Girl strives to provide valuable insights you can use. To see more from our columnists and guest authors, check these out! Or subscribe to our weekly email featuring our latest articles. We’re also present on Medium!
Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.