Imposter Syndrome and The Role of Bias

Imposter Syndrome and The Role of Bias

part 3 of a 6-part series discussion of imposter syndrome:

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. Wait, maybe I can’t.

Imposter Syndrome is more than insecurity, some claim it’s a bias.

Imposter Syndrome (IS) is a condition that describes high-achieving individuals, who despite being successful by external standards experience an internal and pervasive illusion of incompetence. Much of the conversation on this topic has been focused on understanding this phenomenon. Still, more consideration should be given to the possible bias that may contribute to this condition. The warring of intuitive simultaneous thinking, “I can.” and “I can’t.” can become debilitating and have caused some to miss out on walking in confidence in the workplace and as entrepreneurs.

More Than Self-Doubt

It is a fair argument that everyone experiences self-doubt at times, but this is not the same as suffering from imposter syndrome. Both are common roadblocks and a distraction. Yet, while these two overlap in aspects of uncertainty, irrational thoughts, and low self-esteem, there exist differentiators. The biggest differentiator is that self-doubt occurs occasionally causing hesitation, while imposter syndrome is persistent and consistent at the same time in achieving success.


dr geneva williams

Recognizing Bias

Psychology Today has defined bias as, “a tendency, inclination, or prejudice toward or against something or someone.” It goes on to state, “biases are often based on stereotypes, rather than actual knowledge of an individual or circumstance. Whether positive or negative, such cognitive shortcuts can result in prejudgments that lead to rash decisions or discriminatory practices.”

This may seem contradictory but bias is a natural inclination as a result of perceived learned behavior. Its learning is dependent upon variables such as race, ethnicity, educational background, and socioeconomic status. To be clear, everyone has some degree of bias both positive and negative. Nonetheless, negative bias often impacts personal and professional relationships. In that we all have biases, some are problematic in that some treat others poorly based on these variables.

Bias and Imposter Syndrome

Studies widely report that imposter syndrome is experienced by people from every demographic. This is true. Yet, be that as it may, it is not experienced equally in each demographic.

While self-doubt and imposter syndrome invades the workplace, women of color are more likely to experience and struggle with this condition. In short, the reason why is the result of negative bias. Hardworking Black women in the workplace are not duly acknowledged and their voices are barely heard and not received as an authority. Not given the same recognition as peers with equal or less standing, has the potential to evoke emotions of imposter syndrome. Hence despite this phenomenon being experienced in every demographic, Black women are at higher risk within.


Living in a male-dominated world, the odds are already stacked. Adding to the stack are layers of bias. Working within systems where you are reminded (directly or indirectly), that you are less-than or undeserving, triggers the behavior of imposter syndrome. The triggers manifest in varied ways, but most likely in the three most popular types of IS: perfectionist, expert, and soloist.

Bias In The Boardrooms

Despite progress, diverse voices are often absent in the workplace and with historical context. A research study reported by Catalyst stated that although representing 18% of the US population, women of color hold only 4.6% of seats in boardrooms. Corporations are beginning to pay attention. White men are holding two-thirds of the seats in the boardroom and white women are holding 4 times as many seats as women of color. With such little representation, is it any wonder that women of color particularly Black women feel doomed within the workplace and adversely impacted by imposter syndrome?

Representation Matters

One Black employee shares her experience,

What role do you think bias plays when considering the lack of representation in the workplace and the boardrooms for women of color?

The problem is that even though doing well, reaching achievements, and receiving recognition, it has little impact on perceived internal beliefs attached to the condition of imposter syndrome. In fact, the effects are adverse. The more you accomplish, the more you experience fraudulent feelings. Your belief systems prevent you from internalizing your success.

Without effective representation within the workplace to break the vice grip of imposter syndrome, these negative feelings intensify brushes of perceived discrimination, anxiety, and depression for underrepresented groups but especially among African Americans. Some argue this group needs to increase their confidence, yet a larger solution-based argument is to fix the bias.

Driving Change

While imposter syndrome has yet been given recognition as a psychological disorder, it has been closely aligned with and often diagnosed as a social anxiety disorder which is recognized in DSM-5. In terms of social anxiety, receiving early poor feedback strengthens faulty core beliefs even though the evidence is contrary.

In driving change as it relates to imposter syndrome, there is an intersectional approach being considered in two major communities, the medical community, and the corporate community. The Journal of Mental Health and Clinical Psychology released a study and commentary on prevalence, predictors, and treatment of imposter syndrome. It argues imposter syndrome should be considered as a clinical disorder and addresses its prevalence within the workplace.

Corporations too are recognizing the impact of this phenomenon and employee performance, growth, and reputation management. Investors (more than 53%) have acknowledged the importance and placed board diversity to include more women of color as a top priority. They’ve considered this top-down approach as one of the solutions in addressing and embracing diversity within the workplace. While change may not occur fast enough for some, we must note that one has to start somewhere. These decisions are indeed a favorable solution in addressing the role bias plays as it relates to imposter syndrome.

We are halfway through our 6-part series discussing imposter syndrome. If you are just tuning in, check out our previous discussions, Are You A Fraud, and The Mental Health Impact of Imposter Syndrome. Our mission with this series is to drive conversation and change by means of acknowledgment and accountability. Join our mailing list to learn more about how you play a role in pushing this conversation forward. Meanwhile, leave your thoughts below.

The Mental Health Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Part 2 of a 6-part series discussion of imposter syndrome:

The Mental Health Impact of Imposter Syndrome

The mental health discussion not only entered the Olympics arena this year but has simultaneously seemingly been magnified within the workplace.

The Olympic Games have always garnered public discourse and Tokyo 2020 fulfilled expectations. However, in addition to conversations about medal counts announced by sports and news analysts, what also crept in was widespread discussions on the topic of mental health. This year Olympians became outspoken mental health advocates. The dialogue was amplified with Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles in the spotlight of the exchange.

What’s interesting is that while the topic of mental health was being discussed within the Olympic arena, it has also been taking place heavily within the corporate workspace. It appears that collectively, society is waking up to the need to have the long-overdue discussion surrounding mental health in both environments. A popular reference point surrounding office place mental health is imposter syndrome. Imposter Syndrome (IS) is an internal belief that one is not as competent as others perceive them to be. Therefore, it is thought that at any moment one will be exposed as a fraud.

One feels like a fraud because they have convinced themselves that they do not belong and that the status they hold was achieved only by mere luck and not as a result of talent or skill. Psychologically this is an agonizing and grueling internal conflict. Needless to say, it can become an endless vicious cycle for many.

In The Office

According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, more than 70% of people are affected by workplace imposter thoughts at some point in their career.  Another research article published in 2018 found, “Organizations have become increasingly concerned about mental health issues in the workplace as the economic and social costs of the problem continue to grow. Addressing employees’ mental health problems and the stigma that accompanies them often falls to supervisors, key people in influencing employment pathways, and the social climate of the workplace.” Yet, despite the rising data, imposter syndrome has not been given a diagnosis code for treatment by mental health professionals.

Mental Impact

While imposter syndrome is not recognized in the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, the impact imposter syndrome has psychologically often led to either depression or anxiety. Both of these are indeed included and recognized as mental disorders.  It has been noted that imposter syndrome and social anxiety are likely to overlap. A person with a social anxiety disorder (SAD), often feels as though they too do not belong. But because imposter syndrome is protected by shame, those that experience it tends not to share their struggles with anyone. This has proven to be a challenge for self and mental care when it comes to recovering from imposter syndrome. This shame prevents one from seeking and receiving life-changing help towards personal, professional, emotional, and mental growth.

Types of IS

Imposter Syndrome akin to mental health matters is not a one-size-fits-all non-diagnosis. Therefore, there are several types of imposter syndrome. Here are the 3 most popular types.

  1. The Perfectionist. The perfectionist strives to achieve exactly that, perfection.  Rather than focus on their strengths, a perfectionist becomes fixated on their flaws. As a result of this single focus, perfectionists are never satisfied. This lack of satisfaction leads to disappointment that is accompanied by a great deal of self-pressure and a lot of anxiety. Sometimes, we are our worst enemies.
  2. The Expert. The expert is the one that determines they lack knowledge despite evidence such as academic degrees, industry certifications, and years of training with hands-on experience. Experts are constantly seeking to learn more, thinking another class, program, or certification will remove their internal struggle. As a result of constantly pursuing and despite achieving, these also are never satisfied. They will consistently downplay their expertise because, in all honesty, they cannot detect them.
  3. The Soloist. The soloist, of course, prefers to work alone. The soloist strives to achieve success individually because from their perspective, their solo achievement is indicative of their productivity and their self-worth. However, if it were that easy, then when a soloist did achieve success individually, they would find satisfaction. But, this is not the case, nor the focus. Just as the other two types, the soloist finds no satisfaction. A soloist’s focus is thinking that asking for help will be seen as a sign of weakness and not achieving goals is seen as mere incompetence. Thus, their internal cycle is unable to notice any favorable achievements made because their priority is elsewhere.

Again, imposter syndrome has yet to be distinguished as a mental health issue worthy of diagnosis within the DSM. That is, it has yet to be distinguished, as of now. With analysis, strong deliberation is being given so that the rising 70% of the population vulnerable enough to share their shame can receive guidance from healthcare professionals. Nonetheless, filling in the gap until then and most likely thereafter are experienced leaders, trainers, and coaches specializing in this phenomenon providing steps to battle and overcome the symptoms of imposter syndrome.

Determine and Defeat

Are you an imposter? Can you relate to the woes of the perfectionist, expert, or soloist? If so, please do not be ashamed for you are not alone, and more so, are in good company. Our imposter syndrome series kicked off with revealing known celebrities admitting they dealt with or are still dealing with imposter syndrome. Statistics show and lean towards the discussion of it being a popularized social science concept. Even so, in this instance, to defeat imposter syndrome, we must first determine if you are a said “imposter”.

  1. Do you credit your success to anyone or anything other than yourself such as circumstance, luck, or some form of favor?
  2. Do you feel you have something to prove to yourself or others as if what you are doing isn’t good enough and has to be twice as good?
  3. Are you a workaholic by choice because you are compelled to do more than required so no one will notice you may not be as good as perceived?
  4. Are you adversely impacted by criticism yet feel the need to be validated by others particularly your superiors?

These questions represent my four-point rule, for these four points each making a right turn will create a box. Experiences of imposter syndrome box you in. You become boxed into faulty thinking, a covering of shame, and the driver of a seemingly never-ending cycle. If you’ve been boxed in, we have determined you are indeed an “imposter”. That is, an unwilling participant of imposter syndrome.

As if finding out and determining you are an unwilling participant of imposter syndrome, thus an imposter, is not enough, now you have to carry the heavy burden of defeating it. In spite of the casualness and public conversation of this topic, it should not be taken lightly. The fact that it has yet to be recognized as a mental health disorder, doesn’t negate the damaging effects. Suffering from imposter syndrome can be devasting and adversely impacts one’s lifestyle and mental health.

Understanding the pressure I’ve just placed upon your back, I will give you the first and most important and perhaps the hardest assignment in defeating imposter syndrome. The assignment is this, break the silence. It may not seem like much, but breaking the silence entails trust, courage, and vulnerability. This may also require some time. Therefore, the assignment is simple and delivered with patience. The first step in defeating imposter syndrome is to break the silence. Boldly place the stake of shame down and break the silence.

Although we were able to push this discussion forward, there is still much more to be uncovered. Be that as it may, understanding the mental health impact of imposter syndrome is critical in garnering the seriousness of this experience while creating pathways for defeat. I would be remiss if I didn’t state that determining you are an imposter is a double conundrum. We will unpack this facet later. Our next discussion will continue to push us forward in this 6-part series of imposter syndrome.

Ep 94 The Best Ways to Keep It Together during Difficult Times

Feeling out of balance during these times? Not sure how to stay happy and positive? Dr. Geneva talks with Dr. Michele Leno about personal development tips and ways to keep it together and be happy even in difficult times. This insightful conversation with one of the most renowned mental health experts will inspire YOU and help get you back in sync.

Dr. Leno is a native of Detroit and a licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan. She completed her undergraduate studies at Marygrove College and later attended the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, and obtained her M.A. in clinical psychology. She completed her doctoral degree at Saybrook University in California. Dr. Leno is the owner of DML Psychological Services, PLLC, a company that provides consulting services throughout Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Psychology Today. Dr. Leno serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners(NAWBO). She has offered her expertise to several media outlets including WXYZ Detroit and The National Psychologist. Dr. Leno is currently a co-host on 3D View, which airs on WADL TV. Dr. Leno has several years of experience providing court-ordered psychological evaluations, therapy, coaching, and consulting services to individuals and organizations. She has worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds, including children, adolescents, adults, athletes, and various professionals. Dr. Leno offers special intensive therapy and coaching session to busy professionals. Some of her interests include performance anxiety, generalized anxiety, situational depression, and the effects of social media on mental health. Dr. Leno helps others get unstuck, transition, and cope with chronic and situational stressors. Her treatment is based on some guiding principles: first, she maintains that many physical symptoms and somatic complaints stem from poor mental health and coping; second, others often remain in positions with which they are unhappy due to fears and anxiety about change. She encourages others to recognize their own self imposed obstacles. Dr. Leno believes that by improving your mental health, you improve your life.

Check out this episode!

Ep 103 Good Health can Equal Happiness

What’s the link between happiness and health? If you’re happy, you may be giving great benefits to your health, scientific evidence says. It seems being happy helps boost the immune system, reduce pain, protect against heart disease, and help fight stress. Being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. And…guess what,  being happy may even increase your life expectancy.

Join Dr. Geneva and her extraordinary guest, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and national leader, Florine Mark, as they talk about the link between happiness and health and give awesome advice and practical tips on living your best life. This is one of the best conversations to listen to especially during Women’s History Month.

Florine Mark, Detroit native, President, and CEO of The WW (formerly Weight Watchers) Group Inc. in Farmington Hills, MI, grew up in a poor and large but loving family. They taught her courage, perseverance, and faith, which gave her the confidence to build a business that is recognized as the largest franchisee of Weight Watchers International.

Following are a few key highlights of Florine Mark’s many appointments and accomplishments:
The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, Chairman of the Board
Jewish Federation and United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit, Board of Directors
Committee of 200
Served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch, Chair
Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Women’s Leadership Board, Board Member
Vice-Chair, Henry Ford Health System West Bloomfield
Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health & Sports, Governor Appointee
Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, Advisor
University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center, National Advisory Board Member
Wayne State University School of Business Administration, Board of Visitors
Wayne State University School of Medicine, Board of Visitors
Detroit Regional Chamber, Board of Directors, Executive Committee
Economic Club of Detroit, Board Member & Executive Committee

Florine’s career has been filled with numerous accolades. She was the first woman to be inducted into the National Management Association Hall of Fame. She was honored with the Entrepreneurial Visionary Award from the Women’s Business Center in Washington, D.C. She was also the first woman to receive the Neil Shine Award. In 2004, she fulfilled a lifelong dream by publishing her first book, Talk to the Mirror.

Recently, she was awarded the William Davidson Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Detroit. She received the Euro-American Woman’s Council Artemis Award in Greece and the C200 Luminary Award.

At the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy’s School of Government, Florine works to advance women in leadership and public policy globally. She was awarded the Endowed chair of Entrepreneurship at WSU and was named a Michiganian of The Year by The Detroit News. The coveted title is bestowed upon people who, through their good community deeds and the examples they set, make life in the state a richer experience.

Florine’s honorary degrees include:

Eastern Michigan University, Bachelor of Arts
Central Michigan University, Doctor of Commercial Science
Oakland University, Doctor of Humanities
Walsh College, Doctor of Laws degree
Wayne State University, Doctor of Laws degree

Florine is the heart and soul of The WW Group, but she also devotes much time and energy to policy-making boards that set the bar for health and wellness issues in her home state of Michigan. She is committed to improving Michigan residents’ health and regularly encourages state and business leaders to join the effort. Florine is passionate about her work and involvement in numerous organizations, always seeking to advance the community in any way she can. Being the mother of seven children and 23 grandchildren, she has instilled in them the importance of giving back and making a difference in the community.


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Ep 97 How Entrepreneurs can Reimagine a Compelling Vision for their Business in 2021

The vision for your business may have taken a real turn during this past, very difficult year. When you started you most likely had an awesome vision as well as specific goals. Yet over time, and especially in the last year, perhaps you’ve become uncertain about your short and long-term business goals or feel your vision isn’t as compelling as it once was. 

Join in the conversation with Dr. Geneva and Dr. ZaLonya Allen, President & CEO of the National Entrepreneurs Association, as they discuss what small business owners need to do as they pivot in 2021.

Dr. ZaLonya Allen leads the National Entrepreneurs Association, a 501c3 created to empower entrepreneurs to grow and sustain successful businesses through monthly networking events, training conferences, and educational programs. As a speaker. Allen has delivered hundreds of presentations for organizations throughout the country including, the Society for Human Resource Management, Ford UAW, Edison, RoanokeCollege, and the Federal Government to name a few. As a coach, she has worked with professionals in a variety of industries from corporate executives to professional athletes. Using the principles of psychology, Dr. Allen helps her clients master their mindset and get on a path to goal attainment. Dr.Allen has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Woman of Wonder Award from the University of Phoenix, Unsung Hero Award from Wayne State University Association of Black Business Students, and the Spirit of Detroit Award. Her work has been featured by numerous media outlets including Detroit News, Fox2News, CW50 StreetBeat, Crain’sDetroit, dBusiness, 910AM Superstation and105.9FM. Dr. Allen is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and North CentralUniversity. She holds degrees in industrial relations, sociology and two degrees in psychology with a focus in I/O psychology. She continues to work as an online psychology professor to help students achieve their dream of a college education. Dr. Allenhas served on numerous boards including the National Speakers Association of Michigan and is a member of the American Psychological Association. To learn more visit zalonya.com




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Are You A Fraud?

A 6-part series discussion of imposter syndrome

Are You A Fraud?

When Imposter Syndrome Rears Its Ugly Head

imposter syndrome - dr geneva williams

An act of deceiving or misrepresenting is a Merriam-Webster brief definition of fraud. So based upon this definition, do you secretly think you are a fraud?

If you are quietly nodding yes, don’t fret, you are in good company. According to a 2020 study, up to 82% of study participants admitted to secretly thinking they were a fraud. Participants consisted of men and women across a range of age groups.

Secretly feeling as though you are a fraud is the leading indicator and signal of the imposter phenomenon. Imposter Phenomenon is also known as fraud syndrome and is widely known as imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the doubting of ability, capacity, and qualifications in spite of documented achievements and accomplishments. Imposter Syndrome goes beyond the occasional self-doubt and is characterized as persistent thoughts of intellectual phoniness. This phenomenon can affect anyone but is often experienced by high-achieving individuals.

Fraud Thinking Tendencies

Imposter syndrome is an internal perception. The conflict is that your internal self-perception is also a form of self-judgment. Therefore, if your internal cues are weak or misguided, it makes it challenging to accept visible external cues of perception. In taking on the self-labeling fraudulent thinking, one is unable to reconcile the two (internal and external) versions of perception. This relentless and recurring disconnect can lead to one becoming plagued with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some other unwanted tendencies of this faulty fraud thinking may include:

  • On-going damaging feelings of self-doubt and self-worth.
  • Failure to identify worthy accomplishments and achievements.
  • Unreasonable and unwarranted fear of being discovered as a fraud.
  • Inability to recognize and accept valued talents, skills, and competencies.

In the spirit of a self-declared fraud, or imposter, achievements and recognitions feel unearned and harmful self-criticism brings about even stronger feelings of fraud. This vicious cycle has the potential to bring about self-destructive behaviors.

The Imposter Cycle

The deep-held belief of imposterism with persistent thoughts of intellectual phoniness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hence, a false reality (weak internal cues) has a strong potential of becoming an actual truth due to psychological responses to fears and worries. As a result, the imposter syndrome cycle continues. Albeit a brief cycle, it is a ferocious cycle. The imposter phenomenon perpetuates in this manner, weak internal cues + insecurities + accolades = imposter syndrome.


According to Frederik Anseel, professor of organizational behavior at Ghent University in Belgium,  “The persistent fear and self-doubt it engenders, as well as the inability to savor achievements, can result in a persistent state of physical and emotional depletion.” The first step in breaking this cycle is to first determine if you are a legitimate fraud or are you misinterpreting misguided cues leading to unfair self-imposed labeling as a fraud.

Imposter Syndrome Behavior

While the jury is still out to distinguish imposter syndrome as a mental disorder, heavy conversation surrounds this topic towards determination. Meanwhile, what is indisputable are grouped behaviors of those living this phenomenon. You may be experiencing imposter syndrome if continued conduct resembles the following.

  1. Do you attribute your success, achievements, or accomplishments to mere luck despite knowledge, training, and experience?
  2. Do you cringe when given public recognition, praise, or accolades from the concern of others discovering you are unworthy?
  3. Do you instantly begin to overcompensate or minimize tasks or goals out of fear of failing, or worse, fear of succeeding?
  4. Do you avoid celebrating your praised performance, distressed that the truth will be unveiled?
  5. Do you often feel anxious, depressed, or shameful as a result of a haunting feeling of not belonging?

What makes these developed practices more detrimental is that the one living this phenomenon keeps these feelings to self.  This makes it challenging to not only break the cycle, but also thwart the behavior. Failure to internalize success is a defining feature of imposter syndrome. The result is deceitful, disingenuous, and dangerous self-talk. Recognized or not, this behavior of imposter syndrome takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll on one’s body.

Normalizing Conversations On Imposter Syndrome

Getting past imposter syndrome involves commitment and dedication. Living this phenomenon did not make its appearance overnight. Most likely it’s a result of years of comorbidities. As such, the deliberate intentional effort is required to conquer and destroy this infringement upon one’s life.

So when we asked if you secretly felt like a fraud and assured you that you were in good company, we weren’t kidding. A high percentage of the public population admitting to having dealt with or still experiencing imposter syndrome seems to have normalized having the conversation. This is encouraging because the greatest hurdle that prevents the success of overcoming imposter syndrome is the ability to freely admit to and discuss the phenomenon in real-time. Therefore, normalizing this discourse neutralizes the sting and embarrassment associated with this experience.

Aside from medical, educational, and mental health communities, some helping to move this conversation forward are unsuspecting high-profile celebrities. Many have publicly come forward and shared their insecurities. It is important to note the bravery required to oust oneself in this sensitive manner. And while some groups are more prone to this phenomenon than others, this experience can apply to any who is unable to internalize their success.

Among the vulnerable voices willing to share their once hidden shame  of insecurity and self-doubt is American actor Tom Hanks, American singer Lady Gaga, American businesswoman and investor Barbara Corcoran, and Former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. These are only a few who have openly admitted that they too feared ‘being found out’. Each one also admitted to being afflicted with a nagging feeling of not belonging. These commonalities shed light on the indiscriminate nature of this phenomenon.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Candidly advancing the conversation weakens the power of this bitter cycle of imposter syndrome. Opening the door to defeat this phenomenon once and for all begins with a few simple steps. Here is your task list.

  • Instead of dwelling on doubts, focus on what you absolutely know to be true. Ask yourself what core beliefs do I hold about myself? What am I sure about myself? Consider a SWOT analysis. Include likes and dislikes of things you may think don’t matter. Nonetheless, make a list of these things to confidently include core beliefs and certain truths. Having these lists before you will aid in detecting a pattern. Thoughts may cause doubts, but patterns cannot lie.
  • Spend time listing commendations, recognitions, promotions, awards, and goals you reached. In full transparency, this may be the hardest task of all. It is likely you may not recall some activity. As a matter of fact, you may not recall a lot of it. To this end, soliciting the help of close peers, friends and family will prove extremely advantageous. This list should include any and everything you and others can recall such as interviewing for a job and being offered the position.
  • Seek out an experienced and seasoned mentor to serve as your sounding board. This mentor should be fully qualified and capable of providing an effective assessment balancing internal and external perspectives. Your selection of a mentor must be someone you yourself hold in high regard and find trustworthy. This mentor will assist with the task of breaking the cycle. Also, seek out and join social communities led by imposter syndrome experts.
  • Reach out to your human resources department and inquire about  programs specifically addressing imposter syndrome. Some employers are taking the lead in corporate responsibility by providing seminars and training in this area. They are aware that study after study has shown imposter syndrome shows up widely within the workplace with the potential of adversely impacting corporate key performances.

We covered a lot in this discussion, yet there is still much more to be covered. Nonetheless, to solve any problem, we must first adequately identify the problem. To this end, we posed a question to reach the core belief of this paradox. Therefore, Are you a fraud, was a rhetorical question asked at the onset of this discussion, because although you may feel like a fraud, an abundance of evidence exists and will suggest the internal perception is driven by faulty thinking. By shifting one’s mindset, the angle in which you learn to see yourself will allow you to see as others see you. This cycle is hard to break, but it can and shall be broken. Our next discussion will push us further along in this 6-part series of imposter syndrome.

Ep. 115 Over 50, Underemployed and Not the Way I Used To Be

Did you know you could be on your way to living in or near poverty with an entirely different lifestyle as you age?

Dr. Geneva discusses this real-life phenomenon with aging expert Elizabeth White and offers solutions and practical advice to avoiding financial insecurity and limited finances as we age.

Elizabeth White, author of 55, Underemployed and Faking Normal (Simon and Schuster), advocates aging solutions for older adults facing uncertain work and financial insecurity.  When she could not find a book that met her needs during her own bout of long-term unemployment, she wrote it herself. She wrote it as a 65-year-old woman who has lived the stories she describes and as a Harvard MBA, former retail entrepreneur, and C-suite executive who never expected to land here.  

55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal is about the millions of older Americans who, despite a history of career choice and decent incomes, are facing the prospect of downward mobility in old age. Based on expert research and interviews with older adults, Fifty-five looks at the tools and strategies Boomers, and GenXers can utilize to make sense of changed circumstances and better manage financial hardship. Containing over 100 online resources, Fifty-five is the book to read to navigate the emotional aspects of finding oneself suddenly and unexpectedly among the long-term unemployed.

Ms. White is a frequent guest blogger and speaker at conferences and workshops and has been named one of the top influencers on aging in the country. Her essays and work have appeared in Barron’s, Forbes, The Huffington Post, MarketWatch, Next Avenue, and The Washington Post. She has been featured prominently in three segments on the PBS NewsHour.  And her TEDx Talk has been elevated to the main TED stage, where it has garnered over 1.9 million views. Ms. White has been featured on the TED Radio Hour and was recently invited to testify before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Check out this episode!

 Ep. 114 How to Motivate, Model, Mentor, Move as a Leader:The 4-M Model of Leadership

When you think of a good leader, what comes to mind? Leadership affects every aspect of our lives, from the workplace to our homes. 

Meet Reverend Dr. Patricia Butler, respected clergy leader, and education expert who shares her innovative trademark approach to effective leadership. Through her educational career, teaching experience, and years of pastoring, Rev. Butler has developed a system of leadership known as the “4 M’s”. Join us as she elaborates on the 4-M Model of Leadership process and shares tips on how you can implement effective leadership practices in your everyday life.

As always, we bring you the best of the best here at Ignite 2 Impact! 


  • The importance of leading by example.
  • How good leadership skills benefit our professional and personal lives. 


  • “Mentoring doesn’t mean that you become me; mentoring means that you take what you need from me, to become a better you.” – Rev. Dr. Patricia Butler, 38:10
  • “Leave a legacy through your leadership.” – Rev. Dr. Patricia Butler, 41:50
  • “My best sermons are those that I act out, not speak out.” – Rev. Dr. Patricia Butler, 46:00






Rev. Butler is the pastor of St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church-Detroit. She also serves as Chair and President of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance Board, where she led an 84-member community group to implement a community revitalization plan to promote and secure resources 

Her impressive educational background includes an Associate’s of Science, Bachelor’s of Science in Education, Master of Education in Instructional Technology, Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and an array of additional certifications qualifying her to teach children and young adults, including those with mental or physical impairments. 

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Ep. 113 The Reasons You’re NOT Living Your Best Life Now


What’s stopping you from enjoying your life to the fullest?

There’s nothing worse than untapped potential. We all have dreams, goals, and visions of an ideal life that…believe it or not, is attainable. What’s stopping us from reaching it? 

Today, Dr. Geneva speaks to Silver Rae Fox, renowned coach and popular blog writer, about why many of us have failed to reach our “best life” status and how to overcome many of the roadblocks that prevent us from doing so. 

Silver deposits countless gems that everyone needs to hear. You don’t want to miss this! 



  • The dangers of complacency.
  • How rushing our goals hurts us. 
  • Tips for perseverance. 



  • “You have to want to – no one is going to make your dreams happen for you.” Silver Rae Fox, 6:20
  • “Enjoy the journey. There are things that happen along the way that are priceless.” – Silver Rae Fox, 11:30





Best known formerly by her birth name, Pat Evans, Silver Rae Fox rebranded and brought a heightened dedication to uplift and motivate others by sharing inspiration via public speaking engagements and radio show FOXOLOGY TODAY. Silver’s admirable career has spanned over 35 years of empowering others as a life consultant, coach, instructor, speaker, and presenter. 

As radio host of her own show, FOXOLOGY TODAY on Blog Talk Radio, Silver continues her life’s mission to uplift and motivate through sharing inspiration on the airwaves and speaking venues. Through her genuine desire and determination to help make the world a little bit brighter, Silver brings a confident, commanding, and engaging presence to every stage. As a skilled MC, Media Host, and speaker, she is poignant, expressive, and has the gift to flavor her dialog with wisdom, wit, and humor. Whether speaking in intimate groups, churches, corporate trainings, conference seminars, or in the spotlight on stage, Silver is passionate and powerful in her delivery. Her messages are always entertaining, enlightening, guaranteed to be insightful, and good for the heart and soul.

Some of her signature presentations include “What’s The Plan? Discovering Your Passion and Purpose in Life”, “The ‘F” Word: What Failure Really Means,” and “Be a Dreamer: You Can Be What You See.”

Silver is also the author of an audio ebook, an entertaining and humorous modern-day folktale entitled “Colored People,” and a workbook for aspiring speakers entitled “Talk Is Productive.”

Check out this episode!

Ep.112 How to Use Your Passion to Help Others 

Do you ever wonder how you can help others? 

Today we have a special treat: a Morgan State University connection! Dr. Geneva speaks to fellow alumnus Matthew Reeds, millennial philanthropist and founder of the Reeds Fund, about how to turn your enthusiasm into ways to help others.

The Reeds Fund is a Baltimore-based not-for-profit that educates, advocates, and liberates families impacted by autism and sarcoidosis. 

After experiencing inadequacies within Baltimore, Maryland’s healthcare system first-hand, Reeds took action. He aims to destigmatize those who struggle with these issues, inform others who may be unaware of them, and fight against the socio-economic barriers that prevent many from receiving care.

Reeds is also a proud alumnus of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. He is a strong and youthful force in Baltimore in philanthropy, business, and community service. 

Matthew Reeds’ inspiring story will motivate you all to take action and use life’s circumstances to make a difference in the lives of others.


  • Turning personal passions into life-long ventures.
  • An in-depth look at the challenges autistic individuals may face. 


  • If challenges aren’t arising, then you aren’t pushing yourself; you’re being comfortable.” – Matthew Reeds, 13:45
  • “When you’re building something, sometimes it’s very hard for people to see the vision until it manifests.” – Matthew Reeds, 15:10
  • “In leadership, it’s critical to live in the present, but also think three steps ahead.” – Matthew Reeds, 31:33



Check out this episode!