Over-consuming Info is a Symptom of Imposter Syndrome | Imposter Syndrome

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Today's episode is all about over consumption. Over consumption is a symptom of imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the persistent internalized fear of being revealed as a fraud. One of the ways that you cope is by over consuming information about your niche, about the area in which you claim to be an expert, all out of fear.


For example, when I actually started talking about imposter syndrome in January, 2019 is when I declared that to be my niche. I felt like a fucking fraud talking about imposter syndrome. I thought "even though I've struggled with it myself, and even though I have all this education and certifications behind me, I still don't feel like I'm qualified enough to tell people about my own experiences". So naturally, I read all of the books possible on imposter syndrome. I looked up all the studies, I read all the research and I would just be regurgitating information and stats. Now, don't get me wrong, information and stats are really important, but if you are just reading something to make yourself feel better about the fact that now you know more, that is when you know you have gone to the territory of imposter syndrome. 


Maybe you tell yourself that if you don't consume all of the knowledge, it would be obvious to others that you have no idea what you're doing. But the reality is that nobody knows everything about one thing. You're always learning. You're always growing. There are university professors and people in different types of educational specialties in which they are always taking certifications. They're always taking courses to improve their learning. An example of this would be a police officer. There are new police officers every day. And in the organization that I work in, which is a policing organization, they have to do their initial training, but they don't get on the job knowing everything. They don't get on the job knowing the criminal code in and out. They don't get on the job knowing everything there is to know about interacting with other people and being on the road; they literally learn as they go and to adopt that attitude is something that is immeasurable as an entrepreneur. 


We're actually so conditioned by school to believe that more is more. That more consumption, more textbook learning, more teaching means that you know what you're talking about. And of course in the online space we all talk about consistency. You need to be consistent. But if you look at somebody like Angie Lee, she says the same shit over and over and over again. And a lot of the time she doesn't even mix up her content. That's because she's an expert in a specific area and she knows where her strengths are. This is in no way me saying that you can't do research, that you can't read books, and that you can't consume all of the knowledge, because you're so fascinated. However, if you are doing it simply out of fear, and you're reaching for the next book or the next study just so you can regurgitate the information, you are going to perpetuate that feeling of being a fraud.


Teaching your content over and over again is going to make you feel more like an expert. So maybe you don't need to know all 100 pieces of information about your niche, but if you just got a couple of those pieces of information down to a science, made it your own and kept teaching it, people would see your knowledge. When it comes to free content, people are going to take what they're going to take from it. Don't spend hours and hours and hours curating an Instagram story because people are going to take the pieces of information that they find relevant to themselves. And they are going to implement probably less than 50% of it. 


When you finally feel like you are confident in your abilities to deliver the information that you have for your ideal clients, you will not over-consume. This is something that I thought I would never get over. I realize now that I am so confident in my knowledge. I only read things because I find them interesting, or I think I can add to it. 


I used to be asked to guest speak on podcasts, and I would read all my notes on imposter syndrome even though I wrote all those notes myself. I wrote all that content and I would be frantically reading it over and over again, thinking "I need to embed this in my brain so I sound like I know what I'm talking about". I want you to be kind with yourself when it comes to the environment in which you're in. You may feel like you completely freeze up when you go to do speaking events or when you go to do a podcast interview on your niche. You make meaning out of it: this must mean that I'm a fraud and I don't know what I'm talking about. That could just be your brain going into safety mode. It's preserving all of its energy because it knows that you're anxious. It knows that you're nervous and it wants to protect you. So in those situations, it makes sense if you don't have that creativity, it makes sense if you're stressed out and nervous or your mind goes blank. That used to happen to me as well. That doesn't mean that I didn't have all that knowledge stored in my subconscious mind. The subconscious mind retains every little piece of information and experiences that have ever happened to you. The information is there, it is just up to you to relax, breathe into it and to really recall from a place of love and acceptance and compassion for yourself. Chances are, if you have declared yourself an expert in a certain area, or if you have niched down to a specific area, there is something about that area that you think you know a lot about. 


Additionally, don't beat yourself up if you're starting out and you need to learn more about that niche. But if you're over consuming, if you're stress consuming and you're just doing it right before you have to do a speech or right before you have to go guest expert on a podcast, or you can't do anything without like reading your notes frantically, then it's time to step back and think, am I over consuming? Or am I genuinely interested in this piece of information and I want to add it to my tool belt? Of course, you're going to want to add to your tool belt. But I think the important thing to focus on here is: am I doing this out of fear? It's okay to be a beginner. It's okay to consume information because you want to learn more, but where it's not okay is when you are constantly consuming information because you don't feel good enough. You're scrambling around trying to assert your worth by knowing as much as you possibly can, but never feeling like it's good enough. 


Those are the feelings that are going to cause you to self sabotage. Those are the feelings that are going to cause you to not want to go on somebody's podcast or not speak about your niche. I think this is really important because we can get it really confused with learning, but we're always learning. We're always consuming information. We're always learning something new; a better niche. I learned something new about imposter syndrome every single fucking day. I remember reading this specific book about imposter syndrome, and I thought, "once I read this book, I am going to be so equipped to help people". I realized how fucked up it is that I said that to myself. I was like, bitch, you already have been helping people. You already have been doing so much, and reading a book is mostly just somebody else's opinion about the research that has been done. And you have done research on this before in school and in university; you've read the studies, you know the numbers, you know how many people struggle with imposter syndrome. Now this is where you put your spin on all this information that you're learning. This is how you interpret the learnings, and you are smart enough to do that. You've learned to help somebody who is in need of your service. And trust me, you are able to use your story. You are able to use all the information that you've acquired over your however many years of life. 


You are good enough right now, as you are. You will always be learning something new in your niche or expanding your knowledge about it, but you don't have to over-consume. The more that you lean into the knowledge that you have and stay consistent with that knowledge, the more you will start to feel better about yourself and your knowledge. Be compassionate with yourself. Know that you are an expert in this area, but you're also learning and allowed to learn. 


I'm allowed to help and teach people, but I'm also allowed to make mistakes and to not know everything. Give yourself permission to not know everything, because there is no failure, only feedback. 


I hope you guys got a little bit of clarity and some comfort from this episode. Thanks so much for listening to The From Imposter to Empowered podcast with me, Jillian Parekh. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot and share it on your Instagram story. And don't forget to tag me at @yourcoachjill. Of course I'd love for you to rate the podcast five stars and leave a review. If you screenshot your review and send it to me at your code show on Instagram, I'll send you a free gift at the very least. Make sure you follow me on Instagram for tons of free content strategies and inspo. See you next time.


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