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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

How I Broke 25 Years Of Imposter Syndrome - The Break Issue 55

Updated: Mar 13

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#55: 25 Years of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome.

We all know it. I know it too well.

In a nutshell, its the (irrational) feeling that sets our own limits.

It tells us we don’t belong.

We’re not worthy.

Why start? There’s someone else out there ahead of us.

What’s the use?

And we retreat to our nice little comfortable box.

We stop trying to do heroic things.

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I’ve suffered from this syndrome for over 25 years. But I’ve also tried everything under the sun to get myself healthy. Here’s the moves that actually helped me see I was real.

1. Invert “Imposter”

One of the greatest models I’ve learned is to invert or consider the opposite. I talk about it every single week . . .

What is an imposter? A fake, right? Someone who is posing as someone else.

What is the opposite of an imposter? The real deal. A real human person. Someone who walks and talks with an authenticity unknown to the rest of mankind.

You are a real person, so if you get the right context, how can you be an imposter?

2. Challenged My Beliefs

Challenging my beliefs started with journaling. I’ve journaled on and off for years - mostly around BREAK moments that were surfacing at inflection points in my life. Journaling sounds woo-woo, but it’s very grounded. At times where I’ve felt like an imposter, I’ve journaled.

Here are some great prompts I’ve developed over the years to help:

Why do I feel like an fake? How am I living someone else’s pursuit?

When do I not feel like an imposter? What am I doing?

Is my feeling true? Or am I just at a different stage in journey?

What do I need to see/believe to not view myself as an imposter?

Is that attainable, or an impossible ideal?

Why does my feeling matter?

What am I not doing because of this feeling?

Could there have been a time when [insert your ideal person] felt like an imposter too?

What did he or she do in that moment? Did they quit or back down?

This process helped me reframe a ton of my beliefs about belonging or being good enough. I hope these prompts help you cut the time down.

3. Physical Challenges

Move your body before your mind.

I learned this from a coach. Moving your body engergizes your mind, and starts to build the belief flywheel.






At various times in my life I couldn’t bring myself to do any of these. Each time I started with the lowest thing I could do. Just walk, and my belief flywheel would start turning, and I could keep it going all the way through marathons, ironman or to now where I’m waking up at 4:30 and getting two workouts in per day.

What does this have to do with imposter syndrome? Confidence. Confidence that you can get yourself to build an engine of inertia. You are a person who can get yourself to do harder and harder things.

90% of people can’t do this.

4. Created My “Wins Journal”

I have always sucked at recognizing the process. I would always say my progress didn’t matter unless the outcome happened.

I read Ben Hardy’s book The Gap and The Gain and it blew my worldview.

I was living in “The Gap” - between where I was and my ideal. You always feel like an imposter in the gap.

To feel good about progress and to fuel your confidence (your belief flywheel) you need to live in “The Gain”. Where you measure progress looking backwards and give yourself credit for the tiny wins that add up.

So I created a wins journal and revisit it as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

I’m building a physical wins journal into my coaching practice as well! Can’t wait to share it.

5. Mapped My Advantages

In 2018 I went DEEP to figure out my path in life. I started from where I was, and I “mapped” out everything I was good at. I interviewed people who knew me. I asked colleagues, bosses and friends. I took personality tests, and deeply thought about what I actually enjoy doing. What gives me energy and what fuels my curiosity.

I laid it all out in a map which built my confidence that I really could do something in life that mattered. I could make an impact, and I could find success.

That map led to . . .

6. My “Soul’s Purpose”

Through what became my ​Advantage Mapping process​, I found what podcaster ​Danny Miranda​ (episode forthcoming) calls “soul’s purpose.”

That might sound crazy, but if you map yourself to your soul’s purpose I believe success becomes inevitable.

You can get through any obstacle.

Climb any mountain.

Over any hurdle.

Because its you, and you’re not living someone else’s dream.

You click into another gear that is indescribable. and it changes how you define success itself.

Your soul’s purpose is unique and real, so it’s impossible to be an imposter at that.

7. I learned that imposter syndrome isn’t a real thing.

If you do the work to find your soul’s purpose, you can’t be an imposter. But if you’re still on that journey, here’s something that will completely shatter the imposter syndrome concept.

Every single person in the entire world feels like an imposter at some point.

Every one of your heroes.

Every person you think is ahead of you.

Every seat in every room where you don’t think you belong.

Millions of people have been an imposter, but now are real? That doesn’t even make sense!

Everyone has felt like an imposter. Which means:

just like supply and demand - when everyone has something, it’s value is nothing.

All you have to do is let go by trying some of the things above.

and finally . . .

8. I had kids . . .

There is nothing more real to children than their parents. They look at you and you are the most real, most important, most steady, most invincible thing to them on the planet.

So if you’re feeling like an imposter, maybe its time to go have a kid, or another one 😜

Is three enough??

Here’s to breaking your old habits and becoming the best version of yourself!



P.S. My Advantage Mapping Program is all about systematically building a "high odds" path to your version of success. In order to build high odds we first need to break our low odds habits and scripts about work. This is hard work, but I personally guarantee you will find your path that aligns who you are with what you do. I'd love you to check it out ​​Join the waitlist


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Resources To Make Your BREAK

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  • Career Quiz: Take the Advantage Mapping step of learning how you're wired and for what roles!

  • Recommended Reading​: My list of must reads to BREAK your view of the world and what's possible for you.

  • Side Hustle Database: Over 200+ ideas to bring out your creative side as you explore your path. Maybe it will end up being your BREAK!

  • LinkedIn Headline Analyzer: See how your LinkedIn headline stacks up and how you can improve it to attract better opportunities.

The Latest Conversation on THE BREAK Pod

Dakota Robertson (​@WrongstoWrite​ on Twitter) bet it all on himself and went from Dominos delivery driver to the internet's pre-eminent ghostwriter in under a year. He has an incredible story of transformation and resilience to share.

If you remember Dakota’s name, it's probably because a previous guest, ​Taylin Simmonds​, credits Dakota with single-handedly changing his life.

So now it's time to get the master’s story.

He hails from Kelowna, Canada, a place that seems to have an uncanny knack for nurturing remarkable creators and innovators, as you'll soon discover.

Dakota grew up with drug addicted parents, and lost his mother to the addiction at a pivotal age. Despite his childhood, or maybe because of it, Dakota knew he was destined for greatness, but hadn’t a clue where it would come from. Sound familiar?

One of Dakota’s BREAK moments came on September 24th, 2020, a date that he's not only marked in his journal but has also proudly displayed on his Twitter banner. It was a pivotal moment in his life when he made a life-altering decision which we get into.

In just three short months, Dakota transitioned from a college student with a part-time job at Domino's Pizza to someone fully immersed in the world of entrepreneurship. He made a bold choice to leave college, quit his job, and start fresh on Twitter. This decision was fueled by a burning desire for something more, a fear of living an average life, and the realization that life was too short for regrets.

Dakota's journey is a testament to the power of resilience, self-belief, and the incredible transformations one can achieve when they are driven by purpose and a deep desire for change. In our conversation today, we'll explore his upbringing, the challenges he faced, and the pivotal moments that led him to where he is today.

We'll delve into the power of belief and how small wins can set the stage for significant life transformations. We'll also discuss the importance of self-awareness and the role that community and mentorship played in Dakota's journey.

So, without further ado, let's jump into this incredible conversation with my new friend with an old soul, Dakota Robertson.

You made it to the end! Hopefully you learned something about breaking your career today! If so, please share this with someone you care about.

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