Getting to Yes, And

Jill Stoddard: Imposter No More


Jill Stoddard

Subscribe on

Kelly talks to Jill Stoddard, the founder and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, to discuss her new book “Imposter No More: Overcome Self-Doubt and Imposterism to Cultivate a Successful Career.”

Something I related to completely is that we all have some level of imposterism, but that’s not true for people who suffer from the Dunning Kruger Effect. Can you explain what that is?

“So, the Dunning Kruger Effect is basically a cognitive bias where there's a failure in self-awareness where people who have limited knowledge or competence or skills wrongly overestimate their knowledge or competence or skills in a given area. And then, because they lack competence, they lack the ability to recognize their deficiencies, right? So, they don't question their legitimacy. But, you know, the easy way to think of it is they're not smart enough to know they're not smart.”

And you use the term imposterism because there are issues with calling it ‘Imposter Syndrome.’

"The folks who first identified this phenomenon, they called it the imposter phenomenon, but they thought that it only appeared in high achieving women. And, so, lo and behold, shortly after, something that appeared among high achieving women was called a phenomenon our culture rebranded it to a syndrome. Right? They made this like, oh, women don't have confidence, they must have a syndrome. I don't think that that's a coincidence. If the hypothesis is accurate, that this may develop out of experiences with discrimination or oppression, then that is another reason that it should not be called a syndrome, right? This is not about a disordered psyche. This is a normal human reaction, especially for people who have had experiences of being marginalized.”

You note that human beings are storytelling machines, which is useful – but only to a point. It’s less useful when those stories turn on us.

“I think importantly, these stories are meant to protect us and keep us safe. When your mind is saying you're not good enough, or you're a fraud, or whatever it may be, it's really an effort to protect you from humiliation or failure or rejection. We humans are social beings. And the number one factor that predicts our overall physical and mental health and well-being is relationships. So much of our mind is trying to protect us from anything that threatens our connection with other human beings. And so, if I'm found out it as a fraud, if I'm incompetent, if I'm inadequate, then, if people discover that they're going to reject and abandon me. And I'll be alone. And so, these stories are designed to protect us. They just unfortunately don't do a very good job. They get in the way of us really being able to thrive and live the lives we want to live.”

Photo Credit: Rich Soublet


Related Episodes