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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Tips for Pediatric RDs

Do you doubt your abilities? Feel like a fraud? Sure that someday you’ll wake up and everyone will know you’re not as good as they thought?

Maybe you have what is called the imposter syndrome. Overcoming imposter syndrome will help you move forward in your business and achieve your goals.

We hear the term imposter syndrome all the time, but what does it really mean? And is it affecting you and your nutrition business?

In this article, you’ll learn about imposter syndrome, why it shows up, and what you can do to overcome imposter syndrome.

Overcoming imposter syndrome - tips for pediatric dietitians

What is Imposter Syndrome?

According to the Oxford dictionary, imposter syndrome is the persistent inability to believe that your success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of your own efforts or skills.

Fear of failure, anxiety, perfectionism and self-doubt are often wrapped into imposter syndrome.

How Imposter Syndrome Shows Up

Nutrition professionals aren’t immune to imposter syndrome. In fact, in my mentoring programs, I see and hear imposter syndrome all the time.

I experience it myself, too.

Here are some of the ways imposter syndrome shows up for nutrition professionals:

The ‘Who am I?’ question

Who am I to write this book?

Who am I to start this venture?

Who am I to speak out?

Who am I to ask for that kind of money?

Doubting your deservedness and self-worth is classic imposter syndrome.

Dodging Ownership

Nutrition professionals who shy away from recognition, compliments, or talking about their successes may be in the throes of imposter syndrome.

Downplay Expertise

An unwillingness to be called an expert, or a tendency to downplay academic training, real life and relevant experiences, and subject matter expertise is another area where imposter syndrome shows up.

Why Does It Show Up?

I personally think imposter syndrome shows up in all of us. Yes, you can be a very confident person, but in the nutrition professionals I’ve met, self-doubt, fear of failure, and perfectionism are riding shotgun with business risk and success.

Imposter syndrome may be more of a hindrance if you’ve had past childhood traumas such as abuse (physical or emotional), or abandonment. Growing up in an unstable or unsupportive home, as well as constant critiquing from perfectionistic parents can lead to imposter syndrome.

Your personality can also be the root of imposter syndrome. If you’re a perfectionist (hello RDs!), then you’re more likely to deal with imposter syndrome.

Outcomes from Imposter Syndrome

Unfortunately, imposter syndrome can hold back your business progress. If you get stuck in your head about whether or not you should pursue an endeavor, or resist taking credit for the work you do, you only sell yourself short and delay success.

Here are some of the outcomes in business from imposter syndrome:

  • Procrastination
  • Delays or missed deadlines
  • Unmet dreams
  • Not fulfilling your calling
  • Missed opportunities
  • Limited reach and impact

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

If you can adopt the mantra, ‘Be afraid and do it anyway,’ you’ll be well on your way towards overcoming the imposter syndrome.

Tapping into your ‘why’ or your purpose for your business can help, too. If you don’t know your ‘why,’ it’s worth spending the time to nail this down.

Personally, it’s something I come back to all the time.

Another helpful way to work on your imposter syndrome is to reframe what you do. Instead of  a “career,” think of the work you do as a “calling.” Something that’s bigger than you.

If you spend your day looking at what others are doing, what they’re posting on social media, or what new opportunity they’ve landed, you’ll cultivate imposter syndrome.

Don’t do that. If you focus on your limitations, you’ll make them your reality.

Keep your head down and focus on your calling, your work, and who you serve.

If your critic is active, it may help to name her (or him). Then you can call her out when she gets loud. It’s also helpful to name a counterpart, a hero who tells the truth.

For example, Midge (the voice of the critic) says, “You can’t charge that. They can get someone else to speak for less.”

As a result, you drop your speaking fee to get the engagement.

Ruth (the truth-telling hero) counters, “You absolutely can charge that. This is your area of expertise and you’ve been working in this field for years.”

Bam! You ask for what you’re worth.

How is imposter syndrome showing up in your nutrition business?


Want to build the best pediatric nutrition business ever? Watch this.

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