February 2, 2021

Overcoming imposter syndrome with Glory Kathurima

Getting AheadShot Cover art
Getting AheadShot
Overcoming imposter syndrome with Glory Kathurima

Show Notes

Glory Kathurima talks to Lane about imposter syndrome — that nagging inner voice that says that you are not worthy of your achievements. Tune in for strategies to overcome this common ill feeling.

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Announcer 0:02
Welcome to Getting AheadShot, a show for anybody wanting to get ahead–in life. Join conversations between international award winning photographer Lane Hickenbottom and his clients, who while getting a headshot, offer relatable tips and strategies on a variety of topics, and now here’s Lane.

Lane Hickenbottom 0:26
Hey, folks, thanks for joining me on another episode of Getting AheadShot. So I’ve got a confession to make. As a photographer of 23 years, I usually feel pretty confident in my work. I love Exceeding my clients expectations. And more often than not, I think I accomplished that. But that’s not always the case. So just last week, I had a shoot that came as a referral from a fellow fellow headshot and portrait photographer based in Italy. This photographer was also a web designer and they were going to use my work for to help build my clients website. Sometimes when I work for other visual professionals, I get this pit in my stomach, I get this deep anxiety that the gig is up that I’m going to get discovered as the fraud that I am. It’s it’s tough for me to explain where that fear comes from. But I’m hopeful to gain some insight on that phenomenon known as imposter syndrome. In today’s show, it’s my test. My guest today is an independent health insurance agent. She works with Prime Choice Insurance, which is a woman powered agency based here in Omaha, Nebraska. The team consists of agents who specialize in individual health insurance market. So that includes your Medicare folks, ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, life insurance, and dental and vision plans that are licensed to assist in 15 states including Nebraska, Iowa, South North Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, just to name a few. Glory Kathurima. Thank you so much for joining me on Getting AheadShot

Glory Kathurima 2:09
Thank you so much. Lane. I’m happy to be here.

Lane Hickenbottom 2:12
Yeah, it is it is a treat. So when we discussed having you come into the show, you said that I told you, you could talk about whatever is near and dear to your heart that would have a wide interest in you joked with me that you thought that talking about insurance would be boring. So,

Glory Kathurima 2:33
and I stand by that, although everybody needs it, but it can be strenuous to talk about sometimes.

Lane Hickenbottom 2:41
Well, so I’m excited to talk to you today about this phenomenon. So what is what is imposter syndrome? And and why is this something that you wanted to talk about?

Glory Kathurima 2:52
That’s a big question. So I know what it feels like for me. But I always love to have some research and articles and resources that people can go to so Google’s forever your friend. So I did take some notes. And I kind of just want to read to you what I found that most people have agreed what imposter syndrome is, and then I’ll kind of tell you what it is for me and how you know, I’ve kind of face it. So this is a New York Times article that says you may have heard of imposter syndrome. Maybe you’ve even suspected that you have it which your opener was perfect because really it covers a lot of it. So feeling like a fraud among your co workers or friends, doubting your qualifications, struggling with self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, no matter how much you achieve. Those are all type of hallmarks of imposter syndrome. It ends up it’s really like a psychological pattern of individual doubts, your skills, talents, accomplishments, even if you have all the accolades in the world, sometimes you just feel like okay, maybe I am the poser in the room and it’s a really common feeling I’ve found in my conversations I’ve had within my spheres of weather professionally academically for myself personally it came from being an extremely I guess high achieving child if you want to call it that always the kid who was like you know, good at school, I was helpful with the teachers I was you know, follow directions while school and testing and all of that was not that difficult. So on paper, so it always made me feel like okay, this isn’t that difficult, but there was always external pressures. Once you’re that kid everybody kind of expect that from you always. in that home, it was always expected like you do not bring home anything other than an A and I think it would probably be helpful to mention that my background is, I’m an immigrant, I’m the child of immigrants. So when you are new to a community, especially a different country, that’s really based off of you, you have this need to always perform and to always be good and bringing, like, just a lot of achievements to your loved ones and stuff, especially being a Kenyan immigrant. So with that in mind, my whole life has really just been constantly either comparing myself to others or being compared to others, whether it’s like other Kenyan cohorts, kids who we all grew up with, or people in my class. So I think it’s really important, though, to know that having or feeling like you have imposter syndrome does not necessarily correlate to low self confidence. In fact, one of the things that I found in my little research for this was that there’s different types of imposter syndrome, which includes like being a perfectionist, being a, like a kind of a complex thinker, being a superwoman, or Superman, like that’s the person who’s like, the first one to work, the last one, leaving the one who’s like, constantly, you know, taking on tasks, and there’s a couple of others. So it’s like, just because you feel like maybe you don’t belong in a space does not mean that you’re not confident or don’t portray confidence once you’re in that space. So I think that’s what would probably lead people to be like, Well, no, I, you know, I’d be surprised to think that that person doesn’t feel like they belong, just because they carry themselves like they do. So for me, I’m totally that person. I’m this, like, I would say, I’d fall underneath the Superwoman category, where I feel like I always always have to, like outrun everybody at work. I have to know what’s going on about everything all the time. Because then nobody can find me out. No, no one could be like, Oh, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It’s a skill that has served me well, in a lot of ways. School wise, I was a great student. School was honestly kind of fun. For me. It’s great when you’re, you know, getting the grades that you need to get to get to the next place. It made it difficult sometimes to make friends. Because there is not was not a lot of kids who were also like me. So then I had to counteract that with sometimes using humor as a way to distract from my perfectionist.

Lane Hickenbottom 7:50

Glory Kathurima 7:51
so like, I’ll be there plenty girl, I’ll be the funny kid all day long. But also inside, I’m like, competitive as hell. Like, I’m super competitive. And I like to win. I think most people like to win. But it’s when it can get a little bit detrimental, you know? But, you know, it’s kind of it can be too much. It can always be too much.

Lane Hickenbottom 8:12
Yeah. And so I can imagine being that that immigrant students feeling like perhaps, you know, whether your accents different than other other kids or, you know, you don’t being Kenyan, you don’t look like like every other kid around. I’m guessing that that feeling of the people are judging you, and perhaps even looking for a reason to judge you unfavorably. could kind of help create that is that am I onto something there?

Glory Kathurima 8:49
You are definitely onto something there. Absolutely. I think that the point that you made about being a mother is a huge foundation of who I am as a person. When my family immigrated to the States. We came from Kenya directly to Dallas, Texas, which you would think would be like, oh, a little bit more diverse, but the part of the Dallas part that we went to was not diverse at all. So I was the first time I was the only black kid in school in my class. And from that point, we moved to Nebraska, which is even surprisingly, not much more diverse. And we were out in western Nebraska like near scottsbluff. And so while we were there, we were literally in the little town we lived in literally the only black family so it’s been my sister, my parents, my mom and dad. And so we just were like completely insulated. And we had a very much like this need to show that we aren’t like The stereotype of what Americans think that black people are, which is, that’s probably a whole nother episode, to be honest, the layers of colorism and Africans versus African American all kinds of stuff. So with that in mind, my parents really took it upon themselves to let us know all the time, like, you’re different, you’re always going to be different. But that does not mean that you don’t get to perform at the same level as the kids that you’re in class with. And if nothing else, you will you will either perform with them or above them, you know, so there was always always always a push to to be as good or better. Have you ever watched the show scandal? With a No, I haven’t. Okay. should watch that. So okay. So the main character Olivia Pope, who’s played by Kerry, Washington, is the only black girl she’d like running Washington DC. She’s the cleaner. She’s like, fixes everything. And there’s the scene several like seasons into the show, where her and her dad are in this airplane hangar. And she’s like, constantly getting into issues with the president because they’re having an affair. It’s a whole thing. And he tells her like he’s in her face. He said, How many times have I told you what do you have to do? And she says, you have to be twice as good. He said, what he said, You have to be twice as good. You have to work twice as hard. And he and the way she said it was clearly a mantra that they have had their whole, you know, the whole life. And being that girl, that scene just resonated so much for me, because it’s like, yeah, my parents may not have been like, in are facing that, but you knew what was expected from you. And you knew, because you didn’t necessarily belong in those spaces. The one way to belong, was to make sure that you were the best within that space, whatever that bhature mean. So yeah, no, it’s, it’s absolutely shaped, who I who I have, who have become my whole life.

Lane Hickenbottom 12:06
So that that drive to excellence. It makes sense to me, you know, we have, we have sports, we have, you know, the Olympics, we have presidential elections, we have all sorts of things, where, at the end of a long competition, business, at the end of a long competition, the vector gets the, the reward in and so the drive for excellence makes a lot of sense to me. But where does that that I’m gonna say unjustified sense that your fraud come from when you know when it comes to imposter syndrome. You know, going back to my opener, I delivered the photos. And the Italian photographers like, Oh, my God, these look so great. I’m so happy that we got you to do it. And I don’t I don’t know why I expected her to respond like I thought you knew what you’re doing. But I did I just had that like weird feeling.

Glory Kathurima 13:17
Yeah. That’s a good question. I feel as though that comes from pushing yourself in a way that you are hypercritical of your work, you know, because you don’t sit in your accomplishments long enough. I kind of sound like I and I don’t want to speak for you. I never want to speak for anybody. But for myself. I don’t ever sit in my accomplishments long enough. I’m like, Oh, yeah, that felt good. On to the next thing, you know, sure. Or Yeah, that felt good. But it could have been better, I could have done this better. And those moments, I have to like, that’s been probably the last I would say like five years or so. through therapy. I think everybody should be therapy. I’ve learned you just have to stop in those moments where you, you made a goal. You met the goal. And you didn’t even give yourself a chance to celebrate yourself, you know, because you’re so busy trying to find the next thing, whatever that may be, and outshine yourself. And so, I think that being hypercritical is definitely part of the issue because you are excellent at what you do. Literally people comment and say good things about my headshots all the time. And I’m like, Oh my god, you have to go see this guy. So it’s like you’re good at your work. And you know, you’re good at your work, but you’re always trying to refine yourself, you know, you always want to be the best in your game. And so with the need and the wants to be the best you have to be hypercritical, you have to find like okay, how could that be? should have been better, how could this have been better? And when you think that way all the time, it’s hard to stop yourself when maybe that was the best, you know, maybe you already did that thing. And you’re not like hyping yourself up. And that voice that’s inside your head, it’s so much easier to fall into the, this could have been better this could have, you know, than it is. But you know what, I’m a rock star like I did that that voice is always so much quieter than the, you know. The hypercritical voice. So, I don’t know, I don’t know that there’s a an easy solution for it. I think it helps having somebody in your corner who is always celebrating you, and who is always hyping you up and hyping up your work in a way that reminds you like, yeah, I’m that girl, you know, I’m doing that. And I have a few of those people in my life. And they’ve been genuinely like, life changing life saving, where they they help me get out of my head, they helped me get into that spot of, you know what, remember where you are at like two years ago, when you one of the biggest pieces for me is like my money management, like early 20s, I literally would get mail and just like put it in a box wasn’t even opening, it didn’t want to deal with it. If I didn’t open it, it meant that it was not a thing to deal with. And I let that be my burden for most of my 20s just like carried it with me all the time, not just the mailpiece. But all the behaviors that go with that. And then when it was time to Okay, you have to now start dealing with all this stuff. It felt super shameful, first of all, like super shameful to have to be open in that way. But then once I was open in that way, it became really just normal and much easier. It’s taken a lot of work. But to be more vulnerable and honest about the mistakes I’ve made or ways have tried to cover up or just straight up lies, that kind of stuff. But during that process was realizing, okay, you don’t do that bad thing anymore. That was really causing you so much stress. But now you’re stressed that you’re not already five steps ahead. But you need to sit in this moment right now and realize how much growth that’s gotten you to this point. So I’m telling you being hypercritical will SAP zap joy out of you every time, you know, you have to take a moment and just breathe and like just an accomplishment is an accomplishment. It’s okay. To to pat yourself on the back.

Lane Hickenbottom 17:43
Yeah. So are there some times from your life where that come to mind that you that you’re willing to share with us where you felt that heavy burden of, of thinking that you’re not worthy of, of whatever accomplishments here you’re receiving? And how did that then affect you?

Glory Kathurima 18:11
It’s sad to say that I’ve had more than one of those, those moments. I honestly, I would say the biggest, the biggest one. I don’t know if it’s the biggest I would, let’s just start, let’s like the money thing, because I already mentioned that, let’s just start there. Because I think money is critical. Because we live in a capitalistic nation. So we have to, you know, just do the thing. So money for me, would be something that I’ve realized has held a lot of power over me how to manage money, how to talk about money, how to make money, all of those things. So when you have your well being as well as your personhood wrapped up in, like, how you made money, or how this amount of money says how you are as a person, it kind of messes you up, you know, so I was always like I said, high achieving, I thought for my whole life literally from when I was like five years old, I was going to be a doctor, and I wanted to be a doctor because I was going to help people. But a part of also helping people and being a doctor was making a lot of money, you know, so it’s like they went hand in hand for me. So as we know, I’m a health insurance agent that’s very far away from being a doctor because life happened. But in that process of not meeting some of those, like ideas that I already had planted and was watering my whole life. I also started like kind of being secretive about what was happening with my finances. And it never in my head. It was so bad. Honestly, it was like, insurmountable. I thought I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m about to be like on the street. I am doing so bad. Like I didn’t even know where to begin. And then I had a health crisis that ended up forcing me to have to ask for help in a way that I had never had to before. That health crisis led into a pretty deep depression, that took me almost a year to pull myself out of. And during that process of pulling myself out of it was therapy was talking with my family, honestly, like, Hey, this is what I’ve been facing, opening all of my mail, and then creating calendar tasks on how to deal with it. And it all was like this ugly ball that was all wrapped up together, that stemmed from me, always, always, always not thinking I was doing enough or not being enough, you know, and that caused me to just be secretive and not ask for help and not be kind to myself. So honestly, that, that being forced to have to deal with and clean up all of my money stuff. So paying off my debts, creating a budget and sticking to it, doing that budget every single week. All of that has really gone hand in hand with me kind of healing myself of those bad behaviors of those hypercritical behaviors. And my best friend helped me through that. And when we would hit those milestones, like I paid off my student loans two years ago, I was like, okay, yay, all right. And within the same breath, I was like, Okay, now we need to work out. She’s like, wait, she’s like, you just paid off your student loans after 10 years, and you’re not even gonna, like, sit in it for like, 30 seconds. I’m like, No, we have like, so many things to do right now. She’s like, No, no, it’s like, no, we’re going to sit in it, you’re going to be excited. Like, this is huge. Like, this has been the big, big goal, you know, and I was ready to just go on to the next thing, because I was on this roll. And she she literally forced me. We went out for lunch that day. Like, we made a whole little like, Okay, this was a big goal for you. And if she hadn’t done that, if she had not literally forced me to just stop, I don’t think I would have because I was so focused on the next, you know, the next thing next thing all the time.

Lane Hickenbottom 22:19
Yeah. So, yeah, I’d really would love to get into a little bit deeper on ways to overcome this phenomenon. And if you’ve discussed sitting in the moment, and, and enjoying your achievements, go a little deeper with that, and in any other ways that to help people overcome imposter syndrome. And

Glory Kathurima 22:50
oh, I love a solution I do. I think that absolutely. Sitting in the moment is huge. recognizing your accomplishments, things I’ve found that helped me with that is putting pen to paper. I think lots of people understand diaries and journaling. It’s a critical part of like childhood, you know, all the little secret keeper diaries, but I think it works the same with goals. Whether I know, within the you know, professional networks that we’ve been in, we’ve heard people talk about, you know, vision boards and dreams and all that kind of stuff. It’s very similar to that. So it’s like, if you have a five goals that you’ve set for yourself, and you did one of those or even half of one of those, okay, well, that sounds like something to celebrate, because you put it on paper, and you did the thing. So definitely sitting in those happy moments, telling people about them helps. We are oftentimes so much nicer to other people than we are to ourselves. So it’s important, I think, to have people in your corner. And if you don’t feel like you can celebrate yourself, tell one of your friends who you know, would you know, like, Hey, I did this thing, they’ll hype you up enough to get you kind of going, you know, in the moment. I think that it’s also important to find people who have kind of similar backgrounds and experiences, who you’re able to talk about those feelings with who you’re able to kind of dissect a situation without having to go into all of the background. I found for myself, I have a group of black women who are just, they’ve been like my motherhood mentors, they’ve been my professional mentors and I have women who are the same age as me, women who are older than me were a little younger than me who all have different experiences, but we have a similar background. So when you have a an incident at work, or an incident in the general public, that is racist or discriminatory, I can go to these gals and be like, hey, this thing happened. And then I don’t have to go into the background as to why it hurt my feelings, you know, they know because they’re like, guess, girl, I already know, I’ve already had that happen to me. And they either can just commiserate or be like, you know what, if that happens to you next time, try this, or I would have, you know, like, just that kind of banter back and forth, I think is super important. I think also, just having, like taking the time to just acknowledge that you’re having those feelings is really important. Like you just said a few minutes ago about, you know, why was I feeling that way? You know, what, why, why would there be my colleague, there’s somebody who I’ve worked with before, my work was good, why would I feel that way? And so once you’ve checked that feeling, it’s much easier to put it in its place, you know, you don’t have to let that feeling totally overwhelm you and overcome you and just, you know, put yucky feelings on the good work that you just did. Right. I think it’s just it’s really important to Okay, I felt the feeling. All right. Do we need to like prioritize taking care of that feeling right now? Or is it okay, if we just like, come? let it pass come through, let it pass? To show that yes, just shove it. compartmentalize it somewhere? Yeah.

Lane Hickenbottom 26:30
Good stuff. Is there anything that I’m not asking you in, in this realm that that you think that I should be? I’ve really enjoyed the tips you’ve given us so far.

Glory Kathurima 26:44
Goodness, I mean, there’s just so many layers to it, honestly, that it would not do it justice and trying to, you know, unpack each layer, I think it’s important that if I could impart any type of like, knowledge, I guess, on on this specific subject, it’s that having or feeling like maybe you don’t belong in a room does not mean that you don’t belong there. I think it’s important to recognize that you are always bringing something to the space that you’re in. And knowing what your gift and your skill set, or whatever it might be that you’re bringing is something that only you know, and other people don’t know what’s going on in your head. And honestly, it sounds really silly, but fake it till you make it generally works, you know, like you, if you can hold a conversation if you can, while you’re not talking, you’re listening and like taking in the other knowledge of other people around you have, generally you’ll leave most situations with, you know, knowing something new that you didn’t before. So, there is so many layers, actually, while I was doing a little bit of research, I did find like an imposter syndrome test took 20 questions, like one of those like one through five scale and be like, circle like real quick, like read the question answer. And then if you like fall between like a 41 to something you have, you know, are low on the imposter syndrome scale. So I took that test this morning. And I was like a 58. So which was like, mid range, okay, but my sister who went to law school, took it and she was like a 65. And two of the questions that she answered a high number two, she never would have pre law school. So it’s like that kind of space that she was in that made her constantly question her worth, you know, and what she was bringing to the table, cause those numbers to be different. So it’s important to know that your current circumstance isn’t your always circumstance, you know?

Lane Hickenbottom 28:50
Very good. So, yeah, I really liked what you said about about knowing your value and knowing your worth and and that you as an individual, you’re the only person that really knows that. I guess I would really like to tell my audience a little bit about about you, and your value and your worth. Prime Choice was introduced to me from from Courtney (Callaway), who’s the the owner is a really wonderful person and she came and, and we chatted and she ended up hiring me to do your guys’s headshots. And your colleagues are just a wonderful group of people really fantastic. And Glory fits right in there because because she herself is just pretty amazing. You know this. I’ve had a few different conversations with her. This last summer after George Floyd was murdered. Glory and I had a few different conversations. I think really helps me be a better person from it all. And I just want to publicly thank you for that. But also, I, myself being a small business person, need to wade through through the realm of how am I going to provide insurance for myself and my family. And in I used to do it myself. And by going with prime choice and having glory take care of that, for me, it saves so much time, so much anxiety in folks, it didn’t cost me a penny more. She just took care of it. I just kind of handed it over like, you do this for me. And that’s what she does. And she’s amazing. So definitely recommend Prime Choice Insurance if you want to find them. It’s So prime choice ins as an insurance. You can also look up Prime Choice Insurance on Facebook and through the both of those places, their Facebook page and the website. You can find contact information. So once you’ve got that you can call text email. Glory, just thank you so very much for being my guest today.

Glory Kathurima 31:19
Thank you so much for having me. I had so much fun.

Announcer 31:27
Thanks for listening to the Getting AheadShot podcast recorded inside the Omaha Headshot Company studio. To support the podcast share it with others, post about it on social media or leave a five-star review to learn more go to Getting We look forward to seeing you next time.

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