Mindset, Podcast

How to cope with imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur

Question: What’s one thing entrepreneurs of ALL levels have in common?


Seriously. After working with more clients & students I can count over the last couple of years, I’ve found that nothing does as much damage to their long-term success as imposter syndrome.

But what is it really? And can we just “get over it”?

To help me answer those questions, I’m thrilled to be chatting with Vince Warnock (of Chasing The Insights)  whose obsession with understanding imposter syndrome has turned him into a bit of an expert!

✨EXCITING NEWS: You can grab your free ticket to the 2021 – A Year of Growth Summit (hosted by Vince and featuring yours truly) here: https://chasingtheinsights.com/summit-2021-year-of-growth/ 🎟



Read the full transcript 👇

Kat Elizabeth  0:00  

You’re listening to Episode 34 How to cope with imposter syndrome as an entrepreneur, featuring a very special guest, Vince Warnock. I am particularly excited to share this episode with you. I actually recorded it originally as a Facebook Live and had no intentions of sharing it to the podcast. However, based on the feedback I’ve been receiving from people who have watched it so far, and just saying it’s been incredibly helpful, it’s resonated, it’s even made them a little bit emotional. I was like, Okay, let’s just get this out onto the podcast, because I know not all of you are following me on Facebook, or in my facebook group, no judgement. Let’s be honest, Facebook is not what it used to be. So before we dive in, though, there are two important things that you need to know. And I know you’re not going to listen probably all the way to the very, very end where we mention these things, although I would encourage you to because Vince was dropping wisdom bombs all the way to the very end. What you need to know is that I am actually taking part in an upcoming summit with Vince called 2021 a year of growth summit, and it is completely free to attend three days of goodness, just all sorts of information that you’re going to need in order to really set yourself up for a successful year. But we’re not just talking like financial success or growth, you know, Instagram growth, we’re talking about personal growth, we’re talking about all of the mindset as well as your brand, your business, productivity, the lot. So I highly recommend you grab yourself a ticket, if you can’t actually be there live, I do believe there’s an option to purchase a replay ticket, where you basically get access to all of the sessions for 12 months, which is well worth the very low ticket price, whatever it is, I can’t actually remember off the top of my head. So I’ve included the link to register for your free ticket in the show notes below. So make sure you check that out. And the other thing you should know is, I often request at the very end of an episode that if you have been enjoying the show, if you’re learning something from it, if it’s providing encouragement, value, whatever that is, it would be incredible if you would leave the show a positive review a written review on Apple podcasts because it just makes such a huge difference not only to encourage me and know that people are out there paying attention because trust me, imposter syndrome is real people. But also because that gets the word out, if Apple gets these reviews, it looks like I’m doing a good job and they’re going to share the show with more people which as you would probably have guessed by now, it is a passion project. I’m not getting paid to create these episodes, and it’s a lot of work. So if you could take 60 seconds out of your day to write me a quick review that would be incredible. And with no further ado, now let’s just dive into this juicy episode. I hope you enjoy it. If you do make sure you screenshot it, share it over on Instagram, tagging me @iamkatelizabeth, same goes for your review, I will always reshare and give you some love as well. So it’s really, it’s a win win, let’s be honest. But anyway, no more rambling for me. Let’s dive in. 

Welcome to the personal branding project. I’m your host Kat Elizabeth, an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you build personal brands that change your life for good. From attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life and the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most. Each week, I’m bringing you inspiration, practical advice and the occasional dose of tough love. So you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality.

I want to introduce you to someone awesome, someone amazing. We haven’t actually known each other that long, but I feel like it’s like a lifetime friendship at this point, really we have so much in common

Vince Warnock  4:01  

Yeah, you’re a sister from another mister definitely. I feel like I’ve known you my whole life!

Kat Elizabeth  4:09  

So this is Vince. Chasing the Insights, so you may have seen me, I’ve promoted some things in the past. I was on his podcast, but basically Vince he’s a marketing strategist. He’s the author of the book Chasing the Insights but he also has a podcast called Chasing the Insights, which is next level not just because I was on it, obviously. All the other episodes are fantastic too. He’s an award winning business and marketing strategist. He is oh my goodness, he’s got so much experience but the reason we are talking today in particular is that he is quite obsessed and knowledgeable around imposter syndrome, which is something that has been coming up on the daily lately whether you’re working with me or you’re just in my circle, everyone is talking about it. How we’re just feeling very just crippled sometimes by these thoughts of like who am I to do this? Am I worthy of this? Am I just a complete fake? Are people going to find me out? So we wanted to have a little bit of a chat today about that. And also something very special that we have to announce that you’ll have to stick around for a little bit before I tell you about that one. Because otherwise, I’m not a good host of a Live! So Vince, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself, and not just what you do now, but also your journey through imposter syndrome too so we can just get a little bit of context and believe that you actually know what you’re talking about.

Vince Warnock  5:38  

No pressure wow! Well, look, yeah, I have a very first of all, career wise, I’ve just had a very, varied career I actually, I trained as an electronics and computer and software engineer, and then moved into sound engineering, working on radio for a number of years, and all these different kind of things. And realised through all of this, I had this incredible passion for technology. But also it was so boring. I was like, I can’t. I don’t want to be an electronics engineer, I was literally locked in a lab with a long lab coat. And back then I had hair, it was long hair with a long goatee that’s how terrible this looked. But I was locked in this lab designing incubators and plant growth chambers. And I’m like, just somebody shoot me, I’m so bored, I need to be around people, I’m a people person, I need to be around their energy, I need to understand people deeply. And this was my other passion. So when I realised that here I was, this fan of technology, and I would know, from a very young age, I’d pick apart things I’d put them back together. I built my first crystal radio set without any schematics when I was seven years old. So that got me into radio and having a passion for that. When I was 11. My first ever company, I started when I was 11 years old, which was I probably shouldn’t admit this. It was pirating video games for a Commodore 64. Because, it was, yeah, to be clear, right? I grew up in a horrible environment, I grew up in abuse, I grew up in poverty, I had no moral compass, nobody there to guide me like my parents were basically morally bankrupt. But so I didn’t realise that this was unethical. But I made a lot of money. And I used this to survive because growing up in an abusive household, this was the thing. So they put me out in the caravan in the backyard with no power, with no heating, with no insulation, everything. That’s where I lived as a like 10 year old. And so I decided to get very creative and in the middle of the night, I’m so glad my parents would never watch this podcast, watch your Live’s or listen to any of this kind of stuff, because they would kill me. But in the middle of the night, I would dig in the backyard and I laid underground cables to go under the house and then hardwired it into the mains so that I can actually have power. And then I blacked out the windows in there so they couldn’t see that I had power, mainly because it was freezing cold, I would wake up with ice on me. So I wanted heating and things like that. And then I discovered, I found very early computers Sinclair ZX81s ones, to show my age here. But they were like rubber keyboard membranes, terrible computer things. But it was one of the first ones and it came into New Zealand and IBM over here bought a whole pile of them. And there were some of them that didn’t work so that was a tax write off. So they chucked them out. I found out about this, got in the bins, got these things out and repaired them. And this was age 11. And I thought, right, I now have three of these things. I got two of them working. So I sold these to my friends’ families and things and they gave me enough money to buy this Commodore 64. I then used that to pirate all these video games and got enough to buy a TV VCR which back in the days, VCRs were super expensive then, and to feed my comic book collection. So I was a comic book junkie. But that’s how I survived. I went into this fantasy world of movies, TV and comic books and everything. So it was incredible. But anyway, through the years I ended up like I said that technology aspect and the people aspect when they converged that became digital marketing. That was an area where understanding people’s behaviours and then using technology to help complement that and add value to them became something I was very good at. So I kind of accidentally fell into digital marketing and discovered I was really good at it. And then 20 years later, I’d been in and out of corporate and entrepreneurship and sort of different things. I created and sold a number of companies and then finally found myself eventually at Cigna as the chief marketing officer there and so going through a massive company merger and all this and then felt completely unfulfilled. I’m like, you know, it’s a great job great company to work for, awesome people, awesome team, but oh my goodness, I need to be as close as possible to impacting people and when you are at that C suite level you are far removed from impact. And you are far removed from people you actually treat people as $ sign or a number which, you know, I know that’s what these enterprise level companies need. But it was disingenuous to me to be there, I felt like a fraud and an imposter but in a good way not in the imposter syndrome kind of way. So I made the decision at the beginning of 2020. That’s it, I don’t care how much they pay me and they paid a lot! I don’t care how much they paid, I was giving all that up to focus on writing my next book, which is very much around imposter syndrome. It is something that I genuinely think is going to help not just the general public but help me as well. It’s something I’m processing through, so I know that it’s going to have a huge impact. So that became my desire. And then from that accidentally fell into coaching, launching a podcast, doing virtual summits, writing two books now, not just one and I’ve written two children’s books, which haven’t been published yet. So I’m just having an absolute blast at the moment. 

But, the imposter syndrome part of this has been there for pretty much my whole life. And the reason I say that is because when you grow up in an environment where you do not have anyone that can believe in you, you don’t feel a sense of protection, you don’t feel a sense of anyone valuing you at all, then you’re constantly feeling like anytime you achieve something you’re an imposter there. So I kind of kind of felt this, I got to age 11, 11 was a very pivotal age for me, I realised. So we went to what we call Intermediate School. I’m not sure what they call it in Australia, but it’s just like two years, age 11 and age 12 it’s like a transition school between primary and college or high school. And when I got there, I found a teacher who believed in me, and this was an incredible feeling. I was such a smartass little kid, I was way too intelligent at the time, but also really cheeky. So I would be like a horrible student in class,or whatever.

Kat Elizabeth  11:31  

I have a hard time believing this.

Vince Warnock  11:32  

Yeah yeah whatever! But I was such a naughty kid. But we would sit there and he’d say something like, a couple of times one of them, he said he wanted us to learn how to structure a speech, you know, to be able to public speak. And I’m like, ‘Why? When are we ever gonna get the chance? Hello, you know, we’re not celebrities’ And he goes. ‘Okay, so you don’t think you ever get the chance to?’ I said ‘No’ and he goes ‘Well, how about now? Get up the front’ And I went oh, hello so I’m standing and he goes ‘Vince has so graciously decided to do a public speech for all of you. So, Vince, you’re going to speak for five minutes. Class, what’s the topic he can talk on?’ Now when you’re talking to 11 year olds, by the way, they’re not very creative so someone just said egg. So I had to talk five minutes on the egg. I know. And I knew nothing about eggs. The only thing I could think of I immediately started with which came first, the chicken or the egg, and then went off on these random kinds of tangents. And at the end, we got to near five minutes. And I was thinking, and it just dawned on me, I can bring it all the way back to and therefore the chicken came before the egg. And I mean, and it was like this kind of moment where I was outside of myself, just going woah I on this flow I was talking and everything and when I finished I was like what just happened? Kind of thing and the teacher looked at me, his name was Mr. Few and he was genuinely one of the most impactful people in my life, he was an incredible human being. But, he just turned to me and he said ‘Wow, you’ve actually got some talent there Vince’ he goes ‘you could do something really special with your life’ And I went ‘What?’ And I remember thinking, what’s this strange feeling I’ve got on the inside and it was a sense of hope. It was a sense of believing in myself. And I was like, whoa, so that kind of started me understanding there was more to life, there was more to being, you know, feeling like this failure kind of thing. And so then fast forward a number of years, and I remember I was I don’t even know what to call myself. I would call myself a young businessman. I was trying to break into the corporate world. But yeah, I had this job and I had no money like honestly, I was super broke super poor. And I won tickets to a business breakfast and I’m like, Hello, this is going to be my big break right I want to be I want to be like these people you see in movies you know that wheel and deal over here that have all these different things you know, the money’s coming in, there’s like money everywhere and parties and all this and, not the cocaine, but that kind of image. You know, it was a Wolf of Wall Street type thing. I discovered I don’t really like that kind of stuff, I’d never, anyway, we won’t go there. But I won these tickets to this event. I thought, okay, this is gonna be amazing except I didn’t even own a suit. And I’m like, I know people are gonna be dressed up there. So I went to this secondhand shop and I bought the worst suit I could ever find it was the only thing I could afford. It was grey, but like a shiny light grey, like really horrible. The sleeves went down to here, it was double breasted, everything about this suit was just hideous. I had long hair tied in a ponytail. I’m not painting a great picture here but I turned up to this event and I sat at this table and I looked around and everyone there, now, if I picture it now in my mind, it looks like to me everyone was in Armani, they were all just so well dressed. And yeah. they just seem to have their life all sorted. And I felt like such an outsider. I’m like, I do not belong here. But dammit, I won tickets to this and free food by the way and free drink when you’re poor. This, I’m never going to let that go. I’m like, I’m here. I’m going to gorge on everything here. And, I remember sitting there listening to this guy. He was from Adobe. He was the oceanic representative for Adobe. Photoshop 2 had just come out, I was a huge fan of this kind of stuff and so I just wanted to absorb everything he said and he was an amazing speaker. He was a great speaker, he got up there and he was really inspiring. And I was taking pages and pages of notes. And then at the end of it, he went around each of the tables and he asked us, if we had any questions, and I remember him at the other table, my brain, my brain sometimes is quite separate from the rest of me. And you’ll know that every now and then when I say something, then realise, oh, brain, you should’ve stopped me saying that.

But my brain was like okay Vince, listen up, pay attention. You’ve got one shot now to ask an intelligent question, right? You’re feeling like an outsider, you feel like you don’t belong. This is your one shot to get it right. And I’m like, okay, here we go. I’ve got this. I got this. He came to the table and he goes, right, so has anyone got any questions? And I’m thinking, wait, I don’t have anything yet. So I just blurted out something and I said ‘At what point in your career, in your life, did you know you’d made it?’ And I heard the snigger around the table, everyone kind of like huh this guy, you know, and my brain just went, dude, seriously, I’m out of here. I give up. And I’m sitting there, feeling like, I just I just wanted to skulk under the table or just run out of the room. But I just sat there. And he surprised me. He turned around and he said ‘Actually, that’s a really good question’ and then everyone paid attention. And he said ‘I’m gonna let you into a little secret’. Now, when you hear somebody you look up to you say, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. You pay attention, I grabbed my pen, I grabbed my paper, and I’m like, I am writing every word this guy says down. And he said to me ‘I’m gonna let you in on my daily routine’. And I’m like, oooh, this is gonna be good. ‘Yes. Every morning, I wake up deliberately early’ so I go deliberately early, okay, I write that down deliberately early okay this must be important. He says ‘Yeah. And I go, I go to the bathroom’ I’m like, bathroom, interesting choice. Right, write that down. He goes ‘I fill up the sink with cold water’. I’m thinking do I ask him what temperature of cold? No, no, just write cold water, cold water. And he goes, ‘I splash that water on my face and I look in the mirror and I go, ha, today’s the day they find out you’re a fraud’. And I went, what? And the entire table stops, and he goes, ‘I’ve never felt like I fit in Vince. I’ve never felt like I’ve made it. I always feel like, I’m going to wake up and they’re going to realise I have no idea what I’m doing’ He goes ‘And that’s when I have to remind myself that I’ve achieved all of this, to remind myself that I know what I’m doing and I’ve got this’. And he goes, and then he does something else and this was the thing that had the profound impact on me. He goes, ‘most of us deal with that’. And as soon as he said that, I looked around the table again, and everyone was nodding. And all of a sudden, that table seemed very, very different for me. I wasn’t looking at these guys, and what I perceived to be Armani suits now, I was just looking at human beings, who all had the same insecurities as me, who all had the same issues, the same problems. And it made me realise I have as much right to be at this table as all of them. So this was quite a profound moment. Now, I would love to say that was the end of imposter syndrome, crushed it now I’ve moved on success after success. But no it’s something I’ve consistently had to deal with. And it’s something I probably will deal with, for all of my life. But it also got me on this journey of trying to understand imposter syndrome. And many times in my career, I’ve seen it kick in, and particularly when I’m doing entrepreneurial stuff as well. And then I discovered there’s a reason for that. And everyone, all the entrepreneurs in your group, no doubt will have come across imposter syndrome at some point in life. In fact, the stats are around 72% of people, so general population people, suffer from imposter syndrome or deal with imposter syndrome at one point in their life at least. Now, when you talk to entrepreneurs, that number is skewed very, very high. But there’s a very good reason for it. And that is because, and brace yourself here, you are an imposter. Simply put, you are creating something that doesn’t exist, you are creating a company that has not yet been created, you’re doing something brand new, you’re doing something you haven’t done before. So you are operating as something that you’re not familiar with, something you’re not, so it’s not you essentially you are an imposter. And that is a good thing. Because that’s weird. Like being an imposter means you are outside of your comfort zone. It means you are trying to do something you’ve never done before. Which means that is exactly where you should be. As an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be comfortable. You should be pushing yourself to be in this area where you are learning consistently, where you are making it up as you go along. Because all of us are, even those of us by the way, and even the heroes I look at in the industry who I think man these guys have got their lives sorted they’re so perfect I want to be like them until you get to know them and realise wow, they are as hot a mess as I am. Seriously, they have really messed up.

So when you realise that, you kind of realise that being in this like, feeling imposter syndrome means that you are right where you need to be, it means you are challenging yourself, you are outside of your comfort zone. And that is where growth happens. You cannot grow when you’re comfortable. You cannot grow in your safe environment there. You grow when you’re trying something new, when you’re pushing yourself beyond where you normally are. So that to me was the biggest lesson there and I realised, hang on a minute. If that’s the case, and this is by the way, I’ve talked to a number of psychologists who get really peed off when I say this, so I’m going to say it even more. I genuinely believe we should embrace imposter syndrome. And by that I don’t mean embrace the sabotage aspect of it. And once you start doing the self sabotage aspect of imposter syndrome, then it’s nasty crap. And we have to deal with it as entrepreneurs. But I mean, don’t embrace that aspect, but embrace imposter syndrome itself. Because when you are feeling that, when that little, those claws are in your head and the little whisper in your ear going, who do you think you are? What makes you think you’ve got the right to do this? What makes you think you are anything special? That’s when you go ahh okay, I see what you’re doing imposter syndrome, right? You’re trying to protect me, you’re trying to get me back into a safe environment, because you’re worried I might get hurt out here, but I don’t need you right now. In fact, thank you for reminding me that right now I’m out of my comfort zone. This is awesome. This is where I’m going to grow. This is exciting. So this is the point where you go, Okay, I’m embracing. Let’s see, I appreciate that imposter syndrome. Thanks. Thanks for prompting me to make me realise it’s right where I should be right now. But the other thing too, is, when you embrace imposter syndrome, you understand that everybody else around you deals with this as well. And I teach people this. And in fact, one of my favourite people I’ve ever worked with, this woman was a, I don’t even know what to call it, she was an account director for an advertising agency for a marketing agency. And she worked at the agency like the one in the UK. So the big agency who’s done the most of the big campaigns that you know, in the world, and these guys are amazing. And she was so effective in her job, that she had to do all the planning, so the time management and budgetary planning for these huge campaigns, and she was penalised if she was 5% over budget or over time, and she was also penalised if she was 5%. under budget, or under time. So she really, really.

Kat Elizabeth  21:41  

Oh god, no pressure! 

Vince Warnock  21:41  

Yeah, exactly. But she was brilliant. And she came over to New Zealand, she worked at a company here that we were using, and was to this day, probably one of the best account directors I’ve ever worked with. But she went off and got married and had lots of babies and all this kind of thing and got out of the industry. And she was out of the industry for I think eight or nine years. And then life changed her, her and her husband had split up and she realised I need to go back to the workforce. And she went, ‘I don’t even know where to start. Digital Marketing has moved on so much since I was there. I don’t even know where to begin. And this is not going to work’. And so she reached out to me and said, ‘Look, I just need to know what courses I should do what I should be learning, what’s all the new technology I need to be aware of?’ And I went, ‘None. Actually, yes, technology may have moved on from where you are, but all the principles you have, all of the things that you know, they are all still as relevant now. And you will still be the best that you know, and like the best account director I’ve ever worked with’. So I just talked to her about that. And then I talked to her, I explained imposter syndrome to her and this whole concept of embracing it. And this whole concept of realising that if you’re feeling this, everybody else in the room is probably feeling it as well, which means you’ve got as much right to be there. And it was a couple of months later and she contacted me and said, ‘Look, I’m taking you out for lunch’, and I said no I’ll buy you lunch. She goes, ‘No, I’m taking you out for lunch’ Right, okay. So we went out and she sat there and she said, ‘I’ve got some news’. She goes, ‘there was a job opportunity that came up. And it was above anything I’ve ever done before. I looked at this and said this is far more senior. And I remember I just heard your silly little voice in my head going, you have as much right to be here as everybody else. So I put my best foot forward. I went for it. And I didn’t let go. And I wouldn’t I wouldn’t. I was like, This is mine. This is mine. And…’ and she said ‘I got the job’. 

And we’re sitting there in this cafe in Wellington. We’re sitting there in this cafe and tears stream down our faces and the waitress comes over and goes ‘You guys. Okay?’, we’re like ‘Yeah, it’s amazing!’ Like, it was just, it was one of those moments where I see somebody embracing imposter syndrome and going, you know what, I’ve got as much right to be there. I don’t care that I’m feeling this, you’re all feeling this as well. All of us are human beings. And that’s okay, we’re allowed good days, we’re allowed bad days, we’re allowed to feel human, which means we’re gonna deal with this stuff. And that’s all right. So I’ve tried to teach people just to completely embrace it. The other thing too, by the way, is if you’re embracing imposter syndrome, if you’re always feeling like the dumbest person in the room, and you’re okay with feeling like the dumbest person in the room, like I always do, it prompts you to want to know more and prompts you to want to learn more. So that’s a good thing. I’m consistently learning every morning. I go through a routine of reading as many articles as I can to try and keep up with digital marketing. Good luck with that one! To try and keep up with all the changes and everything, trying to predict where things are going, trying to learn new skills, I’m learning new programming languages, and AI, all these kinds of things as well, just so I don’t feel like the dumbest guy in the room. So totally embrace it. Yeah. Wow, see what happens when you push that trigger now?

Kat Elizabeth  24:37  

There is so much gold in there. And it’s like, I had so many lightbulb moments and things where I was like, oh, right, like, the first thing you were saying is like, I mean, so I had a wonderful upbringing. I’m really lucky and I know my experiences are quite rare. I’ve got my stuff, I made most of my mistakes in my 20s like that’s why I really screwed up my life. So it’s all on me. But what happened was, when I, my first like part of my career was as you know, it was as an actor. And because I’ve been immersed in that from when I was like three years old, I started dancing. So by the time I finally got on stage and was doing it and getting paid to do it, I was like, well, yeah, I’ve done my 10,000 hours, like, thank you very much. I’ll take the, you know, I was able to kind of, it was still in the, in the audition once I kind of knew who else I was up against. That’s kind of when it kicked in. Because I was like, Oh, wait, like, this isn’t just about me. Like, there are all these people with like, crap loads of experience, and I’m new. But anyway, I was okay with that. But then when I decided to leave behind my musical theatre career, and then start down this entrepreneurial path, holy dooley, like, it has just been five and a half straight years of constantly feeling uncomfortable, constantly feeling like under qualified and what am I doing? And like, when are people gonna figure out that you’re an idiot, like all of that stuff? But it makes sense. Because yes, it’s new. I’m creating something completely new, I’m doing something that I haven’t proven to myself before. I didn’t grow up doing this. Like, it’s like, I probably have done way more than 10,000 hours now, like more hours than I did on my acting. But yet, because it’s new, it’s this constant feeling of like, Oh, my gosh, I need to up my game, because everyone is going to figure it out so that, that really helps. Like that was, thank you for sharing that. Because I feel like there’s some people that probably started out life already dealing with the imposter syndrome thing. And then others who were like, Oh, I was all good while I was in corporate, and suddenly, I feel like a complete fraud now that I’m trying to be an entrepreneur.

Vince Warnock  26:31  

Yep. Oh, that definitely. And that’s the other thing, too, you talk about the 10,000 hours, I find this fascinating, because there’s this weird thing we do as human beings, and I’m gonna try and illustrate this. Oh, wow, I’ve got a pop filter, that’ll help me, see this thing. And so one of the things we look at is we look at how much we know. So we think about, okay, all the areas that I’m an expert on. And, for example, if this sphere here is everything that I know, then my assumption is that everybody else, when you look at what they know, it will be like this. Or it will be like this, you know, it’s this giant sphere around, and so they obviously know everything that I know, obviously, you know, because that’s what we think, that’s imposter syndrome kicking in. But the reality is, this is what we know. That same sized sphere is probably what somebody else knows with a bit of cross over here, with somebody else there might be a bit of cross over there and a bit of cross over there. So yes, some of the stuff that you know, some of the stuff that you’ve experienced in your life, some of the stuff that you teach, other people may know that really, really well. But then you’ll be sitting there going, here’s a basic principle that obviously everyone knows, and suddenly they’ll go, Whoa, light bulbs, light bulbs, what the? Because, yeah. So we doubt ourselves, we put ourselves in this little thing of going everyone must know everything I know. But actually, no, because you’re unique, all of us are completely unique. We’ve got our own experiences, our own scars, our own emotional battles that we’ve gone through, our own lessons, that input we’ve had from various people in our lives and the things that we read, all of these make us very unique, it gives us a unique perspective gives us a unique personality and a unique set of knowledge as well. And this is something that I had to come to terms with. So being a coach, this is a really interesting one. Because when you’re a coach, or doing any kind of coaching and things, oh man imposter syndrome, it doesn’t just whisper to you anymore. It screams at you, because

Kat Elizabeth  28:18  

Oh yeah! I feel like I feel it every single session with the client, I’m like is this ever going to go away?!

Vince Warnock  28:24  

I half expect I’m sitting there and they go, you don’t know what you’re doing! And I’m like they know now! But the fact is, you have to realise that you know, these people and these, there are people out there for which you are the exact right person to unlock them. Right, there are people, and I look at one of my favourite clients. And it was a really interesting story, how he even came to me. So this is how I accidentally fell into coaching, by the way. I had left Cigna, and I was writing my next book and all this kind of thing. And he just suddenly goes, Hey, Vince got time on his hands now. Woohoo. So he said to me, Look, I need to take you out and shout you a beer. And I said, Yeah, because he is a company that we used to have as a vendor when I was at Cigna. So we used to use their services. And we used a number of different companies that do the same as him. But I knew that this was one of the best of it. I love the work that they produce. I’m being a little deliberate here not telling you what he does, just because I don’t want to accidentally reveal him, because it’s embarrassing. But he wanted to take me out for a beer and I said, yep, so we went and met up at the pub. By the way, anyone wanting to get my attention just shout me a beer. It generally works or a whisky. Yeah. So we got there. But before we’d even sat down, he said, Look, I just need to let you know, I’ve rebranded my company. I was speaking to my wife, speaking to my business partner, and I need you to consult to us and I need you to coach me. And I’m like, I’m not a coach. I’m thinking. I went, Okay, so let’s sit down, have a look and I asked him what that looks like. Like what does success look like for him? What is he wanting to get out of this? What is the end game here? And he told me and I was like, yep, and I said, What makes you think I’m the right person to get you there? And he just laughed at me. He said, You’ve got no idea. He said, I’ll take you back 12 months, it was almost 12 months to the day when I was at Cigna. And he had approached me and said, Look, I want to take you out for lunch, he called me up. And he said, I’d love to take you out for lunch and pick your brains because I need some clarity on my direction. And you’ve worked with me a number of times, I’d really love to find your thing. And I said, No. I said, because of conflict of interest, I’m going to shout you lunch, and then you can pick my brain. So he goes, okay, so we went out for lunch, spent a couple hours chatting away, and I challenged him on a few things, I reminded him that his brand name was something that he spent far too much time actually explaining people how to pronounce it, rather than what he actually does, because it was a terrible name. It was personal to him, but it really was just not a good fit. And then I talked to him about being more visual and things like that, and being able to tell a story. And he was like, ah, you know, it’s not about me, though, I don’t really need to be the centre of attention. It really is about my team and the work that we produce. And I would listen to that. And then I listened to how he explains his competitors and market and I realised something’s disconnected here. And it dawned on me and I said to him while we were having this lunch, I said, You do know it’s okay to want to take credit for your work. I said, You do know it’s okay to want to be the centre of attention. I do. I’m the type of person I love being on stage, I love being the centre of attention. I love people knowing that I’m actually really good at what I do. I’m proud of the work that I produce. I’m proud of the people that I help. And that’s a good thing and he went. And I didn’t realise that unlocked something in him, where he had pretended that it wasn’t about him. But he really did want credit for all of this. He wanted to be thought of as a thought leader in his industry, he had a lot to contribute and a lot to challenge. And he was frustrated by the fact that despite how good he was, and he is one of the best, most of his competitors had higher profiles than him. So I said, right we can do something about that. And, and then he turned around and said, the thing that you always want to hear as a coach or entrepreneur, but you really don’t want to hear as well, which he goes, and I don’t even care how much it costs just invoice me, we’ll get this done. And I’m like, oh, dammit. Now you can’t do that. Because I don’t know how much to charge. But it was, all of this was I thought that everybody knew what I knew, I thought that there’s no way this is going to add value to him. And to him it unlocked all this potential. So there are people that are waiting out there for you to help them whether it’s a product you’re making, whether it’s a service you have, whether it’s coaching, whatever it is that you are the right person to help them to accelerate to growth. And there are people out there, I’m very conscious of that I will never be able to help, there are people out there that I irritate. I know it’s shocking. So, it’s about understanding that and being okay with that as well. So, yeah,

Kat Elizabeth  32:40  

That’s the thing, I feel like when we’re going to look for someone to help us we’re not looking for a walking encyclopaedia, which is what we tend to forget, we think we’re meant to be this walking encyclopaedia, who knows absolutely everything. But then really what I’m looking for is someone who can yeah bridge the gap for me, and sometimes it’s them helping me see something that I’m not seeing in myself, and just giving me the confidence to just take that next step. And other times, it’s like, oh, I’m able to see this thing in a different way and go, oh, this is just the one thing that you’re missing. So yeah, it’s just like,

Vince Warnock  33:12  

Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Kat Elizabeth  33:13  

So and I have to remind myself of that constantly. And I have a couple of clients now who are starting to become coaches, and they’re like, but I’m not perfect. I haven’t got my whole life together. I’m still on this journey that I’m helping other people with, I’m like, that is fine. But one thing I wanted to bring up that I’m interested to know your opinion on is, for me sometimes, talking about the fact that I am going through the imposter syndrome and that I don’t have it all together can actually remove some of this pressure that I feel to like, to look like I’ve got it all together. So I find myself just being like, hey guys, like I’m on this journey with you. Are you the same? like is this part of your own story?

Vince Warnock  33:50  

Yeah, for sure. For sure. And in fact, so when I published my first book, and this was an interesting journey for me, so the book itself, it was actually a journey in writing the book. But when it came time to publish, there should have been a moment that was incredible. Like, I should be incredibly proud of this. So I thought right, I can get ready to publish the book. Someone said to me, by the way, don’t do a book launch. Nobody does book launches anymore and I’m like phff amateur, I’m a marketer, hold my beer. I got this. So I put together an event, we had 100 or so people there, peers in the industry. We had people flying over from Australia. Not you though Kat just noting, although we didn’t know each other then so you can be forgiven. I had all these people coming in, peers in the industry, all these digital marketers from around places and things and it was just such a supportive environment. It was incredible. Like everyone was there I get to talk through why I wrote the book, what inspired me I got to talk through the people that have helped me on the journey and things like that. And we all had a really good time. But I had to rationalise something in my head. I knew that if you’re going to a book launch, there’s something that has to happen and then as you have to do signing copies of the book and I’m going, huh, how does that feel to me? So, essentially my autograph. I am not a celebrity. I am a barely average karaoke singer, although in my mind, I’m a brilliant karaoke singer, just saying.

But why would they want my autograph? But then I thought, it’s okay. I can rationalise this because that’s what I would do if I’m going to a book launch. I want a signed copy, because it’s my way of supporting the person but also, yes, cool. Awesome. So I got this Vince, you can deal with this, this is great, bought myself a fancy pen, I’ll sign all these things, it’s gonna be great. But I didn’t count on something else which I hadn’t prepared for which is that the majority of people as I signed the books and gave it to them said something along the lines of this is awesome. I can’t wait to read this. And every time I heard those words, my stomach started knotting. And I started feeling ill and I was like, okay, that night, despite the fact I’m a high extrovert being around that many people with that much energy, I should be like, Ah, this is great. I was drained. I was exhausted. And I had these conversations replaying over and over in my head. These make believe conversations going, who do you think you are? What makes you think you’ve got the right to write a book, like what makes you think you have something special to say, or everyone’s going to read this book and think you’re such an amateur vince like this is ridiculous. And I dealt with this like, honestly, this kind of crushed my spirit a bit. Even though I know about imposter syndrome. I’ve dealt with this all the time. This was part of it. And I decided the next morning that was it. I didn’t really want to talk about the book. I was super stressed at the time anyway, we were dealing with, like I said, buying another company when I was at Cigna and bringing these two companies together and removing one brand from the market rebranding the other one, it was just so many different things. So I thought it was a good enough excuse. I will turn down. I can’t believe I did this. I turned down interviews for Forbes, Diginomica and CIO magazine who wanted to do, like big spreads on the book itself. I was like, sorry, guys, I’m really busy. I’m a chief marketing officer. I just have to focus on that. And one of my mentors called me up about two weeks later. And he never calls me. I always have to book time with him. It’s really rude. But out of the blue, he said, he asked me how the book sales would go. And they were actually going really, really well, which is awesome. And I told him and he was like that’s really good news. But I haven’t seen anything out there on social. I haven’t seen any press anything like that about the book. What’s going on? And I said ah nothing, I’m just relying on word of mouth. I’m really, really busy. Mmm hmmm sure, he said, I’m gonna call BS on that. And he goes, do you know what I go through every time I write a book? And this is a guy who’s published eight books or bestsellers, a very accomplished marketer, and entrepreneur. And I said, What? and he just basically outlined the exact process I just gone through. And this did something to me when I realised that there’s somebody I look up to who I think has got his life all sorted and he’s perfect. I look up to him. And I thought, right, all of a sudden, I realised he goes through the exact same insecurities that I do. And that and just hearing that, that helped me, that made me immediately feel a lot better. And I was like, oh, my goodness, he totally gets it. And I’m not alone. There’s not just loser Vince feeling these things. Actually, no, everybody feels this. And then I did something, I thought I need to talk about this, I need to deal with this. So as soon as I hear a problem, and I know I’m hiding from something, I need to address it, I need to take action. So I thought right, I’m going to write a big article on LinkedIn. So I wrote this article about dealing with imposter syndrome, talked about the journey, exactly what I explained to you guys. And then I said at the end of it, and now I’m going to take action. If you’re a marketer or an entrepreneur, you need to buy this book. It’s a damn good book. And I know that for two facts, one, because I’ve poured my heart and soul into this. And two because it’s, this is the processes, this is the systems, this is what I do in my life. This is what I do to transform the companies that I’m part of. And I have a proven track record to know that this stuff works. And then two things happen. One, massive spike in sales. Yes! That was a good feeling, by the way, not that you make money off book sales. But still, it was a really cool feeling. But the other thing that happened was the amount of people that reached out to me and said, Oh, my goodness, me too. Oh, my goodness, me too. And it started this thing where I realised we need to talk about this a lot more. In fact, then it culminated and so a couple of weeks later, after I wrote the article, I was at a birthday party for one of the agencies here, it was their 10th birthday party. So right I’m there and one of the senior partners at one of the big four firms, I won’t name him. One of the senior partners of the big four firms was there and he was an investor in one of my previous companies; he was a previous mentor of mine as well. This guy is a legend in New Zealand and Australia actually he’s very well known in the entrepreneurial space helps a lot of big starts, helped Zero and companies like that to get to where they are. And I’m like, so this guy’s got it sorted, and he came up to me Vince I haven’t seen you in ages I’ve been watching your career. Well done, man. He gives me a big hug and he goes, I saw your article on LinkedIn. Can we have a chat? And immediately I thought, ah no, I know what’s coming. Dammit. He’s gonna be, are you okay? Do we need to get you medication? Or do you need help? Should I get a straight jacket? I’m like, Oh, no. And so we went out on a balcony so we could chat. And he explained to me that in his entire career, he’s always felt like a fraud. This is one of the most respected senior partners at a big four firm. And he said, I read your article, and it was really confronting, he said, and I was so glad no one else was in the office because I cried. And I’m like, What is happening? Like, I don’t know how to deal with this, like, What do I do? Do I give him a hug?

But it was incredible to hear from him. And I’m going how is this possible that somebody who is so well respected, somebody who just seems to be able to unlock so much potential in other companies, but feels like a complete fraud. So it made me realise this is something that we have to embrace, we have to actually talk about more, we have to let people know that it’s okay to feel these kinds of things, because we all do. And if you, if someone feels like they don’t, or someone’s telling you they don’t, they’re either a sociopath or they’re lying to you, because they feel the insecurity and they’re trying to protect themselves. So yes, it is part of my story, we need to talk about more. The other thing too, and you mentioned this, like, yeah, as coaches, those new coaches you’re talking about, they will be looking at you, you know, who obviously has had their life all sorted, they’ll be looking at the success that you’re having. And they’ll be looking at other coaches as well. They’ll be looking at other people going, man, these guys have everything sorted. I can tell you now, nobody does. When we talk, and this is why my book that I’m running at the moment is called ‘anti perfect’, it really is to stop trying to be perfect. Stop projecting perfection on other people by the way, I got to meet one of my heroes, my absolute heroes, I won’t name him. But he is somebody I really, really respect. And I got to speak in San Francisco with him on stage. And I was just like, this is gonna be amazing. I, first of all, I got to hear him. I was like this is great. But I didn’t realise he had heard my session. He was in my session there. And we got to the end of his presentation, and it was mind blowing. It was next level marketing. I’m thinking everyone here should just totally appreciate that this guy’s like five years ahead of all of us, and you need to be listening to this. And then somebody asks a question, and they, I know we say there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but there totally is dumb questions. Anyway, this guy raises his hand and he said, Look, this is all fantastic. Thank you. But what’s the next big technology we should be looking at? And I looked at this guy, almost facepalm and go uuuugh and he goes, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but that’s the wrong question. He said, if you want to know what your right to win is, you need to have been in the guy from New Zealand session. I’m like, wait there’s another Kiwi here. What’s going on? You know, I didn’t know there was another Kiwi. And he goes, Yeah, when he was talking about experimentation, when he’s talking about this compound interest approach to marketing and entrepreneurship. That is the stuff you should be writing down. That is your right to win there. Then he turned around and he said to me and he goes Oh, you’re in here. Yes, right. And I can’t do his Boston accent. But he goes, yes, you and I are going out to dinner and I went Oh, hell yeah, I couldn’t believe it. And we went out and we just had an awesome time. And, and to make it even worse, he’s someone I look up to. Every time I see his Instagram feed. It’s just him in first class or on a private jet with glasses of champagne and I’m going what a jerk. You know, like he’s obviously an absolute douchebag, obviously. Then I get to meet him and realise, dammit, he’s really nice. I know. And I’m like, can I just find some flaw in you but anyway. So I got to meet him. We went out for dinner. Then we also went out for drinks and we found a whisky bar. And I’m just saying any Americans in here I apologise in advance but you guys are lightweights when it comes to whisky holy crap. I’m sitting there going right we’re gonna top shelf I was introducing him to all these single malt scotches that I like, and he was just getting so drunk. But then he started opening up to me a bit more and started telling me about how he’s really worried his partner’s going to leave them their relationships on the rocks, but also the spendings the other control he said, I’m just in a lot of financial trouble at the moment. I’m going, what just happened? This is someone where I want to be this guy, I don’t just want to be like him. I’m thinking I want to be him, his life just seems so absolutely perfect. But it’s all fake. It’s all this front and he puts on to protect himself. Actually, he’s as messed up as the rest of us. This is awesome. So yeah, we’ll stop projecting onto other people. Because often what you think their lives are like, what you think their success are, aren’t real anyway so I wouldn’t even bother thinking about it. Yeah.

Kat Elizabeth  44:00  

Mike drop. Okay, we need to wrap up so we can get to the exciting news. So I have two quick fire questions for you. So number one, summarise as quickly as you can. What do you think is the cost of letting imposter syndrome get to you as in not finding a way through it?

Vince Warnock  44:18  

The cost is in the lost opportunities, it is in the fact that you will, it will stop you from pressing forward. And that cost to you is those lost opportunities. But there is a bigger cost, which is to the people you’re supposed to impact. Because it means you’re not going to show up for them, which means you’re denying them the opportunity for breakthrough, you’re denying them the opportunity for growth, because you’re dealing, you’re looking inward and you’re dealing with this, this kind of thing in here. So rather than look inward, look further out. Look at the way you’re doing what you’re doing. Look at the lives you can impact with whatever you’re building, whether it’s product, whether it’s a store, whether it’s whatever you are fixing a need for some people focus on that and instead of looking inwords and that will help you to get through that.

Kat Elizabeth  44:56  

Oh, good and one daily practice or you know, some ongoing thing that you can use to tackle imposter syndrome as it comes up, or even prevent it?

Vince Warnock  45:07  

Yeah, I use a very, I use the cookie jar method, but I use a variation of that as well. So this is writing down all the things you’ve accomplished and succeeded in your life, and putting them in a metaphorical cookie jar, don’t put in an actual one, I used to put them on my wall until I realised people come over here and they look at the wall again, dude, your vain. And I’m like no I’m not. But one of the things I do is I write down a list of everybody I impact and everyone that I help. And I write down a list of their names and I write down what their need is and how I help them. And whenever I’m hitting the wall, which you know, we all do this, you have those mornings, where you wake up and go, I can’t face the world, I should get a real job. What am I doing? I look at that list, I put it I’ve actually got it in Trello done. And I just go through that list. And I look at all these people that if I didn’t show up, I would be denying impact. And all these people who I’ve helped because I’ve just kept consistently tuning up even when I don’t feel like it.

Kat Elizabeth  46:00  

So good. I call it my evidence of awesome, I have the same kind of thing you’re like, just someone remind me that I don’t suck.

Vince Warnock  46:08  

I’m totally stealing that name. Evidence of awesome.

Kat Elizabeth  46:12  

I’m sure I stole it at some point I can’t remember who from. Oh, amazing. Okay, so thank you so much for all of this. It is I truly believe that everyone needs to listen to this and hopefully found it extremely helpful. And it really I’m segwaying here I’m getting I’m getting creative, really sounds like imposter syndrome, it’s really a sign of growth. And that growth is how we are going to get anywhere we want in our lives. So maybe we should talk about what we have coming up.

Vince Warnock  46:42  

I love that. I was gonna say that’s cheesy, actually. It’s a really good segway. No, you’re right,that’s it imposter syndrome is in the space where you grow. And we have a virtual summit coming up, it’s actually coming up next week 2021 A Year of Growth Summit. Now, where this came from guys is the same thing I see with all entrepreneurs, myself included, no doubt you as well Kat. We all do the same kind of thing. We get to the end of the year, and we’re shattered, we’re exhausted, if we’re really honest, especially last year, that was a dumpster fire of a year. It was like, oh my goodness. So you get to the end of last year and you’re like, you know what, I’m kind of done. I could use a break right now. We get to Christmas and New Year’s, we pause we take time out. Hopefully you all did this. You take time out with your family, with your friends, with your loved ones, with your pets with your Netflix, whatever you’re into, you take that time out and you go, Okay, I’m going to refresh, I’m going to re energise myself going to recharge my batteries, and then comes January and you hit the ground running, you’re like, yes, I’ve got a renewed vision, I’ve written down all these audacious goals, I’m gonna, I’ve got so much energy now and momentum is there, and you’re just you’re amped to the sky, this is the year I’m gonna crush it, then you get to the first week of Feb, which is next week. And the same thing happens where the momentum is not quite as big as it was, the speed slowing down, the trajectory slowing down, you’re knee deep in the weeds and and you’re not feeling it as much as you did. So that’s the that’s the exact right point where you need to stop, you need to take a step back and pause, take a deep breath and go. How do I position myself for growth now? Let’s have a look at what’s working what’s not let’s have a look at the things I should be doing more of the things I should be doing less of the things I should stop, things I should start. What are the things that are going to position me to absolutely nail this year. And that is the goal. The whole goal of the summit is that this is your year. I want everyone watching this everyone that participates in the summit. I want you guys to absolutely crush it this year. And I know Kat does as well. She talks by the way, outside of the scope, I’m just gonna say sorry, Kat, I’m just gonna drop you in it here. Kat doesn’t shut up about how awesome you all are. So anyway, I know she wants you guys to absolutely crush it. So what we’ve done is I’ve put together a summit. A free virtual summit, it’s on the, actually, if you’re in Australia, it’s on the fourth, fifth and sixth, fourth, fifth and sixth. Of course if you’re in the in the past, like the Americans, and the Canadians that’s on the third, fourth and fifth of February, but it really is bringing together 30 of the people that I respect the most in the industry. These are people who I know are just impacting so many lives, who have something different to say, a different perspective that is going to help all of you to position yourself for growth. And we have honestly some incredible speakers in there, including maybe somebody who was on the Flash TV series.

Kat Elizabeth  46:43  

I think most of them don’t even know I don’t even talk about that there’s ven imposter syndrome with that!

Vince Warnock  49:28  

Yeah, I’m a giant comic book nerd guys so when I found out the Kat was on the Flash TV series I’m like oh hell yeah, we are talking about this. See that would be frontline in my CV or frontline in my bio and Kats like meh, that old thing that old chesnut yeah brush it off. So anyway, so I’ve brought together we’ve got George Bryant and then we’ve got Kelly Cochran, Kinsey Machos, Laurie Burrows, Monica Tanner so many different people in there to help you to position yourself for growth. And so like I said, it is a free summit. You need to make sure you go, ah you even put a link there. 

Kat Elizabeth  50:01  

Look at me go, look at me go

Vince Warnock  50:02  

Go go to that link. Grab your free tickets now because honestly, we haven’t even I haven’t even really had time to push the marketing. And you can’t tell right now but I’m in super casual clothes and because there are builders there and he’s coming to my door right now, there are movers sorry not builders, movers here because we’re moving house at the moment. Great time to do that right before

Kat Elizabeth  50:18  

As you do like summit, moving at the same time. Great.

Vince Warnock  50:25  

Exactly, exactly. I’m just casually looking out the window hoping my son has heard the knock. Yep. So he’s got to go to the door and pay the movers. Anyway, so hopefully he stays there. I’m gonna have to run in a second, but basically they we haven’t even really had a chance to push the marketing out there. Right. A few of us have been spreading the word but the tickets sales, like the tickets themselves have been grabbed really quickly. So many people registered for this. If you’re worried, exactly. If you’re worried about you might miss a session, especially in Australia, it’s early morning. If you’re worried about missing a session. Don’t worry, we have an option there for you. You can purchase a VIP, it’s a very low cost VIP ticket. It gives you access to the videos for 12 months. So that is there as well. But yeah, anyway, I need to go run because he’s staring at me through the window.

Kat Elizabeth  51:08  

Thank you so much for this, we look forward to seeing you all at the 2020 year of growth summit. Thanks, bye!


Kat is a copywriter, brand & messaging strategist personal branding coach and the founder of The Personal Branding Project whose mission is to help you go from best-kept secret to in-demand brand.


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