Getting Honest About Imposter Syndrome: How to Push Through Fear to Do it Anyway

If you ever doubt or second guess yourself and feel like an imposter, you need to read this…

Getting stuck in our heads and second-guessing our decisions is painful, especially as I did yesterday. The day started out fine. I woke up early after only getting four hours of sleep, chugged three cups of coffee, then started practicing the narration for my audiobook.

I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

Let’s back up a second to the first two times I went into the vocal booth. I showed up, unprepared and it showed. I know it was my first time, but I got a big slice of humble pie out of the gate and wanted to quit!

I thought I could be perfect the first time out.

I sucked and felt like an imposter. Most of us do, anytime we try something new. It’s normal to feel awkward or uncomfortable but I thought I could be perfect the first time out. What a joke! Nobody is. EVER!

But therein lies the root cause of my insecurities—I thought I could, even expected it.

I am glad I hired professionals to help because on my own I probably would throw in the towel. But I had made a financial commitment and now I had to honor it.

“you need to rehearse this — BEFORE recording,” the director said.

She was right. In my mind, before I started the first two narration sessions, I thought, why do I need to practice, I wrote the damn book?

How egotistical is that?

That I should know how to do something new immediately. That I believe I am somehow unique and “should be able to know it after the first try”. Bullshit. Who am I kidding? Apparently, only myself.

Here’s the irony: The title of the book is Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.

For the third session after a good night’s sleep and practice, I entered the vocal booth and immediately connected with the material. I walked away feeling proud of what I had just done.

That’s the good news. Fast forward to my two sessions yesterday, after only getting four hours of sleep.

After I woke up I got to practicing, reading out loud the chapters I was to narrate later that morning.

I delivered my lines with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. I enunciated clearly, with plenty of emphasis on all the right phrases, and kept my tone conversational, etc.

After two practice runs I was ready to enter the studio. Now in the tiny vocal booth, after all the prechecks, I began to read.

I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

You know where this is going, right?

As I began to speak, I felt my gut and throat tighten. My brain felt like those cartoon characters that hit a brick wall. The words were hollow, with no emotion, no connection. I sounded like an apathetic customer service rep for a funeral home.

Within thirty seconds of starting, the director interrupted and asked, “who are you talking to?” I waited. And waited. I didn’t know.

“Myself,” I finally responded.


“I am talking to the older version of myself. The one I don’t want to be like anymore.”

My brain froze—information overload.

In theory that is true, but with all the input of how to say what I want to say, and who I want to say it to, and reading with energy, and, and, and…well you get the idea. My brain froze—information overload. Complete mental meltdown.

I wanted to curl up in that tiny vocal book and cry. It literally sucked! I have not felt that small and inadequate since the last time. So much for my own Ten Seconds of Boldness, what a fraud, or so I thought.

At that moment those feelings were 100% real. But I already did the research and wrote the fucking book that they can change. I can change. We can change, if we want it bad enough. So much for giving myself a positive pep talk, almost.

Here’s what happened: I managed to pause a minute and slow down. And somehow make it through, but still walked away feeling completely defeated after the first of two sessions yesterday.

I had a big decision to make. Did I want to go back? I wasn’t sure. We agreed to leave it open. No pressure.

“Text me whatever you decide,” the director said.

Here’s what I did: I went home, ate, and took a nap. When I woke up, after a bit of agonizing playing the game of “should I stay or should I go?” in my head, I texted:

I can be there at 2 pm. Will that work?

“Running errands. Can make it at 2:30.”

That was my first hurdle—Making a decision.

Now, I had to face the demon voices in my head that were screaming at me, telling me all the usual BS—You are not ready. You are not good enough. Give it up.

You know what those sound like. We all do.

Fuck it, I thought. I’m going to go in there and give it all I got and that is going to have to be good enough.

It was.

I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

The good news is the next session after practicing two more times beforehand, I stepped back into that booth with a plan, and stubborn determination to not allow fear to win.

What transpired is what I wanted all along but couldn’t because I was overthinking EVERYTHING!!!!

I spoke as if having a conversation with my son or anyone else who struggles with doubt and normal fears and insecurities. I spoke with clarity, conviction, energy, and enthusiasm. Even though the audience was not there, I felt like I was connecting, coming from a place of compassion not preaching. I walked away feeling so much more confident because I felt my fear and did it anyway!

Three cheers to conquering fear!!!

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What Do You Do When Your Own Worst Critic is You?

You are not a puppet. Or are you?

Who remembers the old Pinocchio cartoon with Jiminy Cricket? That famous wise, leg-rubbing insect who whispered words of encouragement into a wooden puppet’s ear about becoming a boy. “Let your…” you know the line. I can’t say more or the Disney police will likely make me take this down. Anyway, guess what? You are not a puppet. And yet, how often have you felt like an invisible marionette master is “pulling your strings?” What if you feel like you are both the puppet and the puppeteer? How messed up is that?!

Wait? What? You ask defensively. First, you say I’m not a puppet now you are insulting me? I outta…

Hold on a sec. It’s a valid question. Because if you are like me, you too suffer from Imposter Syndrome. That uneasy, debilitating feeling that we aren’t good enough, or worse, that we don’t want to stand out or don’t believe we are worthy of the success we have achieved, so we do something stupid to sabotage it, like cut our own strings or say, I can’t. 

Admit it. There are areas of your life where you still don’t feel like you measure up. Look at your car and your neighbor’s car, your checkbook, and what you imagine someone else to be. It doesn’t take much to dig ourselves into a Hagen-Daz-eating, binge-watching Netflix pit of despair, especially when we keep believing our own BS about our self-worth.

Our self-deprecating thoughts are all lies, mostly.

All of us have something we want to be, do, or have, but unlike that insidious well-meaning insect we become more like a warty toad croaking in our own ear saying, 

Uh.. yeah, but you don’t understand, I don’t think I can. 

Yes, I do. And yes you can, if you actually try. Look at that wooden toy-turned boy and how his life changed. OK, not the whale part, but you know what I mean. If we want to believe something can be different, it can. But we must change the garbage we keep telling ourselves and learn to be a little kinder. We need to be more like Jiminy, whispering positive sweet somethings to ourselves. And we can’t just think about what we want, we actually, have to…wait for it…


Or, we stay on the toy store shelf waiting for something or someone you don’t know to magically change your life and give you the confidence so you can hop down and be somebody. Or you can be your own puppetmaster and stop believing the croaking toad. Puppet or Puppeteer—either way, it’s up to you.

And for those who hoped I was going to answer the opening question, sorry. That’s not my job. But I did combine my own school-of-hard-knocks experience with a handful of leaders around the nation, whose main goal is to inspire others by building them up. What transpired is a pretty awesome collaboration in the form of a damn good book that releases Monday. Learn more at

If I stirred things up a bit, good. That was my point as I experiment with this blogging stuff. You see, I don’t have the first clue about what will reach people and what won’t. Do any of us really have the secret sauce without a last name that starts with D and ends in g—Tim Denning? Who knows.

All I know is I’m a stubborn Irishman who will keep trying new things until something sticks. All I know is how to be me. And I refuse to get splinters in my ass from sitting on the toy shelf too long. 

And yes there will be days I, like you, wake up and feel like a complete imposter as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers—those pod-hatching, soul-sucking makes me want to fire up a flame thrower and fry those nasty blobs, but I’m doomed cause I quit smoking ten years ago and can’t find a lighter. But I will not be eaten by my fears or Body Snatchers. I will survive, or die trying.

Let’s face it we all have days like that. I do it at least twice a week. When they hit me, I drag my ass down to the kitchen, slam a cup of black coffee, and, as the sleep crumbles from my eyes and mind, decide that waking up is a good thing, especially considering the alternative. That is enough to change my mindset.

How about you? Tired of splinters yet? Then get off the bench and do something bold. 

Denial is Not a Solution

To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”- Socrates

At this time last year, I wrote about my own shortcomings and how excited I was to finally see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel regarding how long it took to write my next book. I talked about lessons and personal struggles—trying to write a book about confidence while in the midst of one of the biggest slumps in my sales career.

I spoke of promise and hope that my book would be done by the end of 2021. Well, guess what? I’m still not done. But I am many steps closer.

Why do I write this, now? Why am ratting myself out? Because I don’t know of any writer, salesperson, or anyone for that matter, who never struggles with motivation, confidence, with procrastination.

As a writer, speaker, and salesperson I get to face my feelings of inadequacy and insecurity on a daily basis, constantly wondering is this “good enough?” or “am I good enough?”

I know I am not alone.

So, what do I do to overcome that faulty belief system in my head?

I “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I practice Ten Seconds of Boldness.

I show up. I put my butt in a chair and write. I do a little bit every day. I don’t dwell in a carnival house of mirrors where my self-image is distorted and warped. Where the mirrors have names like, worry, doubt, fear, insecurity, and my least favorite, the dreaded “imposter.”

In some small way creating the habit to write on a regular basis alleviates the noise in my head. But like the shadow monster in our closet as kids, these insidious beliefs about my value and worth continue to sneak around, especially in the dark. Probably always will. When I feel them lurking, I flip on the lights and see that they were only shadows. Figments of my imagination and faulty belief system.

Sure, it takes more than flipping on the lights to overcome many of our persistent negative habits and feelings that block us from doing our best. Denial is not a solution. That’s why I chose the quote by Socrates. Our progress is predicated on knowing ourselves and being brave enough to walk across the room and flip on the lights when we think there are monsters sneaking about.

But for now, recognizing and admitting the problem exists—monsters are real when we believe them to be— is the first step toward healing. The first step toward becoming a better, more confident writer.

Like anything in life, things get easier with practice. And our confidence grows when we find the courage to feel what we feel and press on anyway.

Now back to finishing my book, even though I don’t want to write right now.

Here’s to you and your success.

If you want to be one of the first to read my next book, “Ten Seconds of Boldness: The Essential Guide to Solving Problems and Building Self-Confidence.” Sign up here.

I will be giving away some planning tools and one signed copy when it’s published.

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