Sheryl Anjanette, Author, Speaker, and Trainer brings more than 30 years of high-level experience in the business arena as both a 3X entrepreneur and C-Suite executive for two-billion-dollar companies to an integrative wellness practice that is holistic by design. Her company, Anjanette Wellness Inc. offers online learning, one-to-one programs, on-site training, and speaking for high-performing and high-profile individuals, organizations, business leaders, and teams. Sheryl holds certifications across multiple business and mindset disciplines that are essential to individual and organizational health. These advanced training include strategy, performance technology, cognitive-behavioral, clinical, and Eriksonian hypnotherapy, NLP, brain health, and stress, anxiety, and self-regulation. Sheryl is a key thought leader and speaker on the topic of Imposter Syndrome with her book, The Imposter Lies Within due to release in early 2022.
Q: What led you to become an expert on Imposter Syndrome?
As a multi-passionate individual with deep experience both on the business side – 3X entrepreneur and C-Suite executive for two billion-dollar companies, and in the healing arts as an integrative hypnotherapist practicing multiple modalities to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, Eriksonian Hypnosis, NLP, and Energy Psychology it was a natural progression.
The truth is, Imposter Syndrome found me! I have experienced it profoundly throughout my life, and as I interacted with business leaders, influencers, and those grappling with the disconnect between their actual accomplishments and how they feel about them on the audio app Clubhouse this year, I had an ‘aha’ moment. This was a way to bring my depth and breadth of experience, coupled with my passion to help people and companies heal, to my newest business, Anjanette Wellness, Inc.
Q: That’s so interesting – you talk about a disconnect. What is Imposter Syndrome exactly?
It is a psychological pattern where someone feels like they are not good enough in-spite-of their accomplishments. Someone experiencing Imposter Syndrome feels as though they’re going to be found out as a fake, fraud, or phony at any time, even when the evidence is clearly to the contrary.
That’s the disconnect – they feel like there is a risk of exposure because inside they don’t feel good enough, worthy or deserving. And it is very common. Before the pandemic, 7 out of 10 people identified with experiencing Imposter Syndrome, and since the pandemic that number has only increased.
The interesting thing is that the more successful someone becomes, the more heightened this uncomfortable experience is. It is not just the fear or doubt of being a beginner. Highly accomplished people feel more at risk of exposure and tend to suppress these difficult and debilitating emotions even more. This can lead to a heightened and prolonged state of anxiety and even severe mental and physical health issues if left unchecked. It also has significant costs for organizations. From bully bosses to burnout, imposter syndrome takes its toll with little understanding or intervention from leadership.
Q: What is unique about your approach in solving this for people and organizations?
I take a holistic approach by design. I am not a believer in silver bullets. I believe it is critical to find and remove the root cause of these deep-seated feelings rather than just putting a band-aid on. I call this the inside-out work which is 50% of my approach. The outside-in, resetting old disempowering behaviors, thoughts and self-talk is equally important if someone is to put Imposter Syndrome in the past.
By the way, many people believe you can’t get past Imposter Syndrome, but I disagree. My methodology shows people how to find what I call ‘The Healthy Zone’ for those uncomfortable emotions. It is predicated on bringing difficult emotions and behaviors like fear, doubt, worry, comparison, and the human desire for validation and belonging into this healthy, adaptive zone. They are then equipped and practiced in techniques so that they can kick themselves back into this healthy zone when triggered because let’s face it, triggers happen.
Q: What are the 3 biggest shifts you see happen when someone overcomes imposter syndrome?
It’s the transformation from worry, anxiety, and feeling not-good-enough to peace of mind, increased confidence and excitement and curiosity about change. It is less comparison and competition, and more cooperation and co-creation which is a complete paradigm shift.
For organizations, this looks like greater innovation, productivity, alignment, high-functioning teams and less presenteeism, internal conflict and attrition from burnout or job dissatisfaction.
Q: What’s the best advice you have for anyone wanting to get past Imposter Syndrome?
Begin with awareness, understanding how it is showing up, and the costs. I have a framework and custom assessment to help individuals and organizations identify the behaviors and associated costs.
Next is to decide and commit to tackling this. It’s not an overnight solution, but it also doesn’t need to take decades or even years. My programs are 90 to 180 days to Overcome Imposter Syndrome 360™.
A few techniques that will help in the short term are:
- Create a Brag List. I like to call this my Badass List of your true accomplishments (including the soft skills) and keep a copy in the Notes on your phone so you can remind yourself when doubt weighs in.
- Do something uncomfortable every day. It may be telling someone about an accomplishment, or setting a boundary, or saying no instead of automatically agreeing to something you’d rather not do.
- Find 3 good things about yourself or your work for every one real or perceived flaw.