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ABCs of Managing Fear

ABCs of Managing Fear

In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we take a powerful look at how our physiology drives how we show up in the world. My guest, Rebecca Heiss, a stress physiologist, evolutionary biologist and coach, shares her personal journey, as well as her insights on how we can live a life that’s not dominated by fear. She shares the ABCs of managing fear so that we can more fully experience our lives.

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About My Guest

Rebecca knows fear. As a biologist and stress expert, Dr. Rebecca Heiss is dedicated to helping us become self-aware and overcome our instinctual limitations – the ancient, often subconscious fears that hold us back from our optimal performance and our happiest lives. Her research has been designated “transformative” by the National Science Foundation and it is waking up audiences around the world.

As an author of the newly acclaimed book Instinct, founder and CEO of the 360-review mobile application, icueity, and highly sought-after professional speaker, Rebecca has found her calling in helping others recognize the power of biological applications in their lives. A former educator, Dr. Heiss spent much of her earlier career in the classroom at both the high school and college levels and was recruited to be a founding member of an innovative charter school with a focus on entrepreneurial thinking and impact-based learning. Today her focus is leading high achieving women through stress, fear of failure/rejection, and imposter syndrome, to a place of confident and authentic leadership in her Fearless Accelerator program and her community for women to thrive called The Leap. To learn more about The Leap, visit:

Rebecca’s “fearless” message inspires hope and actionable insights to train our brains to work for us, rather than against us in times of uncertainty. With surprising humor and palpable energy, no matter if Dr. Heiss is delivering virtually or on stage, she wins over audiences around the world with her interactive, inspiring and timely takeaways.

She lives in South Carolina with her spoiled rotten dogs named Guinness & Murphy and every day tries to live her life motto: “spread happy.”


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Kim Meninger Welcome, Rebecca. I am so excited already and we’ve just started our conversation. I can’t wait to continue. Before we do, I would love to welcome you and invite you to introduce yourself.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Well, thank you so much, Kim. And thank you for having me on this podcast. I am super excited to be here. So, I am Dr. Rebecca Heiss, stress physiologist by trade, evolutionary biologist, and now professional speaker and CEO, coach. I don’t know, I do a few different things here. But yeah, I’m really, I’m really grateful to be on here today.

Kim Meninger I love your background. I think it’s so interesting. And there’s such a connection between impostor syndrome and stress. And, you know, and especially for women, I mean, I don’t know if you work with men as well. But I just feel like the workplace continues to be a very stressful place for women and especially in the pandemic, and everything that, that brought to our lives. Before we kind of jump into what you do to support others and your kind of philosophy around this, I’d love to hear more of your personal story. How did you get to where you are? And is there any impostor syndrome along the way?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Oh, my gosh, the entire journey has been one big, long stretch of impostor syndrome, right? I’m an academic. So that’s like one of the characteristics you have to have. And yeah, I mean, look, my story truly begins when I’m eight. I tell people I knew exactly who and what I was when I was eight years old. And I loved the theater, I wanted to be on stage I, you know, did my 4H speaking competitions and, and I made it all the way to the state competition. And in states, I’d won, I’d won and won and won, I got to states and the day of the competition. I played sick. I played sick because it was easier to not go all in because I was a little bit afraid. I didn’t believe I didn’t, I didn’t believe I’d make it. I didn’t believe I belonged there. I didn’t believe that I had what it took. And so it was easier for me to make that excuse for myself and not go all in, so I didn’t fail in front of everybody than it was for me to do that. And that’s truly what set off this whole, I mean, lifetime right of feeling like I’m not enough, I don’t belong. I don’t have what it takes. I’m a fraud. I’m a fake. And, and I spent the next oh, couple decades, doing all the things I thought was supposed, I was supposed to do. Right? So I could earn people’s respect so that I would be enough. So I went out and I just started accumulating degrees. And that was well in fine because I do love science. I do love the field that I’m in. But it wasn’t who I was and what I truly wanted to do. It took some, it took a pretty major event for me to get back to the speaking world, back in the spotlight, to say no, no, I have what it takes to be here. But yeah, it was, it was quite a long, drawn-out journey to come back around to, to taking off that mask and truly being myself.

Kim Meninger Wow. And if you could summarize, I’m sure it’s more complicated than this. But if you could summarize what are some of the big things that allowed you to do that?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Honestly, it was, it was one event. My sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And in that moment, you know, we had some pretty major discussions as you do, right when, when you realize wow, this is this is really it. And what, what we really concluded was that death isn’t the worst tragedy. It’s pretty tragic. Don’t get me wrong. But the far worse tragedy is a life lived in fear. Because that’s not a life. Those aren’t active conscious decisions that you’re making for yourself. Those are you know, evolved biological norms, societal norms, cultural norms, that you just kind of navigate because it’s the path of least resistance. And I think so many of us fall into that category of just saying, let me just take this path because I don’t want to be rejected, I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to experience that pain and I want to fall into my grave you know, wearing clean this mask, rather than and this is, this is a Jim Carrey quote that I’m absolutely butchering right now but rather than ripping that mask off, and taking the full-on risk of being loved or hated for who we truly are, and I think it’s a risk that is so powerful and so scary but so rewarding.

Kim Meninger Wow, what an unfortunate way to get such a powerful perspective.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, yeah I always, I mean that’s, that’s kind of become my, my mission now is to help other people do that without a tragedy right? We wait so long, so many people wait till they’re on their deathbed to go I wish I had, I wish I’d have this regret have this. Why, Why wait? Why take that risk of not fully living and, and trying all the things the worst-case scenario is you have partial success. Which is just another word for failure and learning right? Partial success, you know, I failed miserably. I learned something great, partial success.

Kim Meninger I like that reframe. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I think that it’s a, an almost like a discomfort avoidance approach.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, I mean, that’s so again, I’m a stress physiologist, I study the brain under stress. And what we, what we see is that, when, for example, you break your arm, you have physical pain, the brain reacts the exact same way to that physical pain as it does to a rejection. So, it lights up the exact same areas when you are rejected, as well as when you have a broken bone. So what ends up happening is we treat that the exact same way this physical pain that we have, well, what do we do we splint the bone, right, we immobilize it, we board it up, we bind it, we keep it hidden back inside. And we do the exact same thing with emotional pain. If we’re rejected, we’re like, oh, I don’t, I don’t want that, again, here’s what I need to be, here’s what I need to become. In order to avoid that I’m going to people please, I’m going to code-switch, I’m going to do all the things I need to do to make sure that I fit in here. And then we repeat that behavior until we absolutely lose who and what we are, right? There’s so many of these women that I work with. And you mentioned that I do work mainly with women. I work with all genders, but mainly with women. And so many of these women that I, that I work with wake up and they’re like, I’m 65 years old, I don’t even know how I like my eggs, like if I want them scrambled or fried or because it’s always, oh, whatever you want dear, whatever you want, whoever it is that we’re trying to please that day. And it’s such a rude awakening for so many people. I truly hope that we can come back to ourselves and say, wait a second, I’m causing myself pain, by, by not rejecting or by not accepting myself first.

Kim Meninger Well, in many ways, what you’re describing, make sense from a very basic perspective, right, is we want to protect ourselves from harm. And when we have been hurt, it feels like the number one priority is to prevent that from happening again. And we don’t intellectualize it necessarily of what’s the lesson here? Or…

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Wouldn’t that be nice? Like we actually operate from our conscious cognitive brain? No. Again, as a, as a biologist, as an evolutionary biologist, we know like we operate like 99.99999% of the time from these subconscious reactionary portions of our brain, right? We’re stressed, we’re in survival mode most of the time. So to your point, it takes, it takes actual effort to step outside of that and say, oh, I don’t need to protect myself. If I get rejected, I’m not going to die. Right? Because our brains are in this moment of like, if I get rejected, if I get kicked out of this tribe, I die, which was true for our ancestors. But for us, no, just go find a better friend group, right? Go find another group, you’re, you’re safe. But you’re actually harming your safety by staying and trying to bend and mold yourself to whatever culture that you’re trying to fit into.

Kim Meninger So given what you just said about us operating in survival mode, are we doomed? Are we doomed to just keep doing this? Like what what’s, how do we break the cycle? Yeah, no,

Dr. Rebecca Heiss I appreciate you asking that. No, we’re not doomed. I’m not a fatalist. I’m a huge optimist, right. I’m an optimist. But I’m a realist. So I recognize we’re stuck with these brains that for 200,000 plus years, have said survive first, right, operate from fear, operate from fear, operate from fear. I think the first step is awareness. Right. So I talk about the ABCs. Awareness, being, asking yourself in the moment, is this a tiger? So isn’t an actual life and death situation that I’m having this stress response to, that I’m in this survival mode for? Like, I’m getting rejected? Oh my gosh, right. If you, the example that I often give is if you go to Starbucks or any coffee shop, and you just lean in and ask, hey, can I get 20% off today? Now, most of us immediately have a stress response to that. We’re like, oh my god, I would never do that. That’s so terrifying. Why? Why? Because they’re gonna say no. Oh my gosh, no way. You’re just gonna pay your $10.99 or whatever is you pay for coffee and walk out the door. You’re fine. But our brains immediately go to, oh, it’s, it’s a tiger. It’s that thing, that thing, that thing that rejection is gonna kill us. Whoa, brain slows down. It’s not a tiger. It’s, this rejection is not a life and death situation. So when we have that level of awareness, then we can move on to the B, right. Breathe. And I know it’s so simplistic and everybody talks about the breath. But to me, it’s the most important thing, right? It’s the only thing that connects your subconscious and your conscious mind because we subconsciously breathe all day. But we can consciously slow down and take a breath, and when we do that, what we’re signaling to our biology is actually no, you’re not having a tiger charging at you, you can regulate your heart rate, regulate the hormones that are being circulated through your body, you actually have control over that by controlling your breath, because that’s the only conscious thing you can control. So the second step is always, breathe. Alow down that system that says, whoa, we got to, we got to fight, flight, freeze. No, we need to breathe. And then the third step is curiosity. So ask the question, do I even want to be accepted by these people? Right, be curious. Ask yourself, why are they rejecting me? Is it me? Or is it them? What hurt? What hurt are they, have they experienced that they need to reject me in this moment? So the more curious we can be about ourselves, about others, about our position in the world about the culture, the less fear we can have. Because fear and curiosity can’t coexist. You can’t be curious in fear. Nobody’s sitting there as the tiger is charging at them going, I wonder what I should do. We just react, right? So so when we step back, and we breathe, and slow our system down, and then get curious, we can operate more from the cognitive space.

Kim Meninger Oh, that’s so, so powerful. And the curiosity piece is so fascinating to me because I see this as a way to almost create some emotional distance between yourself and the situation that you’re in. And I often describe it as almost like detective work, right? Like, I’m just gonna, I’m not gonna be attached to the outcome. It’s so hard to do in practice. I mean, do you, do you think it’s the kind of thing that just gets easier over time? Or is it always going to be hard because of who we just naturally are as humans?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yes and. Yeah, it’s always going to be hard, because again, I would love for, for our brain technology to evolve as fast as our phone technology, right? It’s just, biology is slow. And so we are hardwired first to survive. And so our first instinct is always, follow the fear, follow the fear, follow the fear. But when we recognize that, when we’re aware of that, I do think we have more control over it. And so I do think we get faster to a space of curiosity, we can follow the fear and go, I know where I am. Hang on, whoa, slow down. And so it, like any other muscle, you know, the, it’s, it’s training your muscle, it’s muscle memory. The more we train it, the more we work it, the more our brain wires together, fires together and goes, wow, wait a second. This isn’t a tiger. We’re safe. Let’s move on. So yes, yes and.

Kim Meninger That’s great. So is this easier or harder for some people than others?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, no, I think any, any population that’s underrepresented, right really struggles with this more, because as much as Sheryl Sandberg whole, like lean in, lean in, lean in is sound advice to some extent, certain populations, the more they lean in, the more they realize, they look around at the system. They’re like, I don’t fit here. I don’t belong here. So I want to encourage everybody to lean out. Women, underrepresented populations in general, struggle because when we lean in, all we’re seeing is more of the same and not us. So if we can lean out and look at the system, I think so often, right, we get pointed to as individuals, women have impostor syndrome, underrepresented people, people of color, have impostor syndrome. Fix this. Well, it’s not really up to the individual to fix this, right? There’s, there’s strategies we can do. We can work on our worthiness, we can work on these, these pieces of ourselves that we can control. But I think it’s more important to look at the system itself and say, wait, why do women feel this more? Why do people of color feel this more? What is the system behind it that’s creating this issue? So that it’s not just pointing back at the individual again and reinforcing the cycle.

Kim Meninger Yes, exactly. And putting even more emotional stress on the individual experience.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Exactly, exactly.

Kim Meninger What’s the common if, if anything, what’s the common denominator among the people that you work with?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Um, wow, that’s a great question. I think the biggest, well, I mean, the easiest thing to say is that they’re all women. I work almost exclusively with women. But I think the, the surprising thing is everybody is shocked that everybody else is having the same experience that they are. And I think that’s one of the most powerful things about impostor syndrome, right? The research says and thank, thank goodness for podcasts like yours, that get this word out that we have women and people talking about impostor syndrome more because all the research says the best way to solve impostor syndrome, is to talk about it, right, is to recognize like, my mentors have impostor syndrome. The people have, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, like, so many high achieving women are like, yeah, that’s, that’s me. And when we’re willing to put that out, I think it’s shocking to one another to look at these high-power executives that I work with. And I mean, in moms and stay-at-home moms and everyone, everyone in between, like going wait, you? No, not you. You? No. And so I think that the common denominator is we’re all surprised by other people’s sense of impostorism. By other people’s lack of worth. And so even the people that present most confidently and most high achieving by some societal standard, right are still going, I don’t, I don’t know the first thing about this. I’m just faking it. I’m just I’m not the expert here.

Kim Meninger Yeah. Oh, gosh, it’s so true. And it’s, in some ways, comforting, right to know that we’re not alone. On the other hand, it really does magnify the issue in some ways. Gosh, if even that person feels this way.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss I’m with you. I feel I think I again, this is probably because I am an optimist, by, by nature. But I feel like that gives me great hope. That gives me great hope. Because frankly, what that means is that I don’t have to have any answers. I don’t have to show up as the expert. I think the more we give ourselves permission and others around us to not have to be the experts, not have to have all the answers, then we can show up to get it right, rather than having to be right. And that’s a game-changer for personal development, for professional development. When we can show up and we can be curious, we can ask for answers. We can ask for solutions, we’re willing to ask them dumb questions that actually turned out to be not that dumb. We can get over that, that fear of feeling like I have to know it all, have to be it all, I have to be that expert.

Kim Meninger So what you’re saying is, at least in my interpretation of what you’re saying is, that we need to adjust our own expectations and our own kind of playbook for how we approach certain situations. Because I love what you just said, and I think that too many of us walk into a situation expecting, oh, I’m going to pre-master this. Right? I’m going to walk into this new role already having all of the answers, all of the experience, everything I need in order to just hit that ground running on day one. And obviously, it is easy just recognize the absurdity when we’re talking about it in hypotheticals, but obviously, that’s not going to work. And so we are constantly setting ourselves up for quote unquote, failure, because the rules that we’re playing by are so ridiculous.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah. And they’ve been set by other people. Right. So, So I mean, this is again, plays back to underrepresented people in positions of power often are coming in, and they have to prove themselves because nobody believes because they don’t look like they fit. They don’t look like the model of leadership that, you know, when I look at the last 10 years, the top 10 leadership books, 91% of them have been written by white men. Now, look, I’m not trying to admonish white men, those are great books, by the way, you should definitely read those books. But also if I’m coming into a position of leadership, and I’m not a white male, then there’s a definition by definition, I don’t fit. So I have to prove myself, right. I have to go in and have all the answers and do all the things and that, that kind of conditioning is actually really detrimental to my own success. I think you know, when, when we’re little kids, we don’t have this. You think about it, you’re looking over and like Johnny’s falling off of his bike and Joanna’s falling off of her bike and I’m, we’re all just falling off each other’s bikes. It’s great. And then we hit a certain age, and we have all, all of your listeners, you, I, we’ve all hit this age where we suddenly have this pluralistic ignorance and we just believe that everybody else knows all the things that we suddenly somehow missed. And so we don’t talk about it. This is what makes it pluralistic ignorance, ignorance, right is that we just believe everybody else knows. And so we’re just all gonna be quiet about it. Meanwhile, we’re going oh my gosh, there’s 15-year-olds making a million bucks on TikTok, what have I done with my life? You know, like we’re all stressed out about, I should be an expert at something by now. And the reality is, you, you are. It’s just, it may not look the same or fit the same rules as somebody else. And we get trapped into this space of comparison. And I think that’s where the real danger lies.

Kim Meninger And so you’ve been talking about the system, which I wholeheartedly agree with you on and I have these mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am very quick to point to the system as the issue. On the other hand, I recognize that it’s going to take a long time for the system to change and for these kinds of issues to get resolved. So, what feels most, most realistic in the moment for people who find themselves in these situations? Do you think it’s leaving, finding a better environment? Do you stay and try to work from within? Obviously, it’s going to differ from situation to situation. But what is your general perspective on that?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss You know, I think it’s a really personal decision. I don’t think anybody should stay in a space where they feel unhealthy, and they feel inauthentic, and they feel like they can’t show up as themselves. That said, one of the best advice, best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard, and I wish I could credit this to the person who said it, but I have no idea who did. So I’m gonna take credit, sorry, folks, is you know, when you go to a job interview, for example, and if you are just yourself, if you don’t play a role, if you don’t try to be anything, but just you and you get hired for the position, you never have to have impostor syndrome. They hired you, they want you, authentically you. So, if you can start in that space of knowing, ah, okay, I’m enough, I’m worthy, I belong here because I didn’t put on a mask, I didn’t try to impress anybody from the start. That’s, that’s a great spot to be in. Now. That’s, that’s a pretty nice position to start from if you’re in a position now where you’re feeling this. And, you know, I think it’s, I think it’s really a personal decision. I’m, I’m a big advocate of trying to do what you can where you are. That said, your mental health and safety and well-being has to come first. So you know, be true to you. And, and see if you can’t find some mentors in the space around you that can help guide you through and help, help change the system from within.

Kim Meninger Yeah, and you know, it’s making me think, too, about how, because we are all, to some extent, aware of the flaws in the system. And many of us have, unfortunately, experienced toxic work environments, it’s easy to step into every situation, assuming that all of the environments are going to be like this. And so, not to take responsibility away from those forces, but I also think it’s important for us to recognize where we may be making certain assumptions based on prior experience, as opposed to getting real about what is possible or not possible in the existing environment.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, I love that. I mean, one of the, one of the big things I talk about is what story are you telling? Because we know how powerful the stories that we tell our brains can be, right? They can manifest all kinds of very interesting, good or bad, so detaching from, well, wait a second, if I’m showing up and I’m believing this is the environment that I’m sitting in, then you’re definitely going to find evidence for that. And if you believe you’re in a different system, then you can sort of selectively have selective attention to look for the positive things, to look for the opportunities to tweak to change to begin to move the system towards your favor. So you know, selective attention is, is really powerful. And I’m, I’m in danger here of outing myself as a little bit of a mystic, right? Because I’m, I’m a hardcore scientist, but also the idea around the law of attraction and, you know, positive psychology is all about what you focus on. And the brain is really good at ignoring certain things and reeling in and really focusing on, on others. And unfortunately, the way we’re wired we focus primarily on the negative because that’s what could have killed us. Right. Again, survival mode. So we’re like, oh, that’s negative. Let me look at that. That’s the thing I need to pay attention to. Rather than saying, okay, yes, and take the breath, right, become aware. It’s not a tiger. It’s not going to kill me. Take the breath, get curious. What, what here is positive that I can begin working with and working from?

Kim Meninger Yeah. Oh my gosh, that’s so great. I think that’s it, it’s true that we are I guess hardwired I don’t know the right way to say that. That we will always tune into the negative for the survival reasons that you talked about. But that’s where that opportunity to more consciously think about what am I giving my attention to? How can I look at this through a different lens becomes really important, because it very well may be that there are things within our power that we could do that we’re not seeing because we have been focused in a different direction?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s, that’s one of the, a lot of the research around gratitude and keeping a gratitude journal is, is just calling positive things in your environment every day, right? Because, again, as you said, the brain is hardwired for this negative bias. So we’re good at pointing out, oh, I failed here. And I did that. And I messed this up. And I screwed that up. I can remember the, the problem that I got off got wrong on my ninth-grade state exam, like, that’s absurd. What I can’t tell you is the positive feedback that I had an hour ago. Right, because our brains like, it’s fine. That’s, that’s good. That’s a nice, that’s a nice reward. But it doesn’t, doesn’t mean anything life and death. So the trick is to really focus in on those. You know, that’s part of the gratitude journaling process is if you just take 30 seconds every night and jot down, physically write down three things that were, that were great about your day, or that you did successfully that day, even partial successes, right? Even like massive failures where you learn something, that’s huge, because that starts to that starts to rewire your brain in a way where you’re actively seeking and looking for those positive things. So your brain is more active in that, in that positive space, rather than always looking for the worst-case scenario.

Kim Meninger Yeah, and I love this advice I always give this to, to the people that I talk to, too, because I think what it also does, is it, it makes our, our experience feel more legitimate. And what I mean by that is when we are not paying enough attention to all of the things that we’re doing well along the way, when we get to a certain stop on our journey, we often feel like it’s a fluke, right? Like, oh, my gosh, how did I get here? I’ve just been sleepwalking through my life.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss … Success. Crazy. Yeah.

Kim Meninger Exactly. Like, I don’t belong here. Nobody, nobody knows how unqualified and incompetent I really am. Because we haven’t ever taken the time to catalogue all of the things that we’ve done that have led us to this particular moment. And so that, that sort of practice that you’re talking about, to me just has so much power to shift our attention and make us feel like, of course, I’m here, right? Look at all the great things. And obviously, we’ll never probably be that enthusiastic about ourselves. Why not?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss We do that for our best friend. Right? We would be like, Oh my gosh, Kim, you’re amazing. Look, all the things you’ve done. That’s incredible. And how do we talk to ourselves? Certainly not like we do our best friend. Right. On a good day, I’m talking to myself like, alright, Bec. You had a decent, decent, okay, call. Why not that was amazing. You did such an incredible job, Bec. Wow. You know, when we, when we are that enthusiastic way of others, why wouldn’t we be that enthusiastic for ourselves? Be a big cheerleader. I love it.

Kim Meninger You’re absolutely right. We should aspire to that. There’s no reason why we couldn’t do that.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, I mean, quite frankly, if you take the opposite side, and you think about how negatively we talk to ourselves, I mean, you, you say things to yourself you would never say to like your worst enemy, we say awful things to ourselves. And yet, we don’t have that on the, on the same spectrum on the other side of like talking to ourselves positively. So I mean, I’m, yeah, I’m a big fan. I’m a big fan of positive affirmations of really, and not just, you know, the candid like, I’m going to look in the mirror, and I’m going to tell myself some good things about myself. But like when I do actually nail a presentation or I have a great phone call with a, with a client. I’m gonna say, Wow, Bec. Yeah, you really got that? Yeah, I’m going to be that cheerleader for myself because nobody else is going to do that. Right. And if they do, often the story we tell, the stories that we tell ourselves like, oh, that person needs something from me or they’re being, they’re being overly gracious or whatever it is. Because we don’t take credit for all the great things that we are doing in the world. Don’t be afraid to be your best cheerleader.

Kim Meninger You’re right. You’re absolutely right. And so I’ll ask you because you have not only been on your own journey, but you’re, you have the benefit of information through the science, right? That isn’t necessarily available to the average person. How are you today in dealing with some of these things? Right, like, do you, do you still struggle? What is it? What’s it like for you?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, of course. I mean, of course, I still struggle. I, um, I would love to say that, oh, that impostor voice. It’s, it’s way it’s back with that eight-year-old and the reality is no, no, he’s sitting right here. His name is Chad. I talked to Chad. I’ve named my impostor voice right. I don’t know why he’s Chad. Sorry. Any Chad that’s listening. Wonderful Chad’s out there. Um, but I think, I think what happens is that at least for me, I quickly identify him, right? And I can name him. You can name them something, whatever you want to name him or her. Or they, but for me, it’s just when I name him when I, when I name that voice and I say, oh, it’s you. Suddenly all the power comes away. It’s like I don’t know if you ever grew up on the, on the story of Rumpelstiltskin. Right, but, but her whole, her whole riddle is she has to name the, the troll, Rumpelstiltskin. And when she names it, all the power from him disappears because she’s named the fear. That’s the power is. I’m naming this impossible. I’m like, oh, you’re the impostor. You’re the one that is telling me I can’t do these things. I’m not good enough. Hi. Okay, sweetie. Yeah, thank you. I know you’re there protecting me. And that’s the first thing like I thank Chad, I’m like, Chad, thanks, I appreciate it. I know you’re here trying to protect me. I’m safe. I’m safe. This is not a tiger. I’m okay. Why do you think you need to protect me in this moment? Right, I get curious with my own voice. And so it’s not that the impostor is gone. It’s that I have different mechanisms for dealing with it now.

Kim Meninger And I think that’s really important too. Because the going back to what we were talking about before is, this is so much a part of who we are as humans. And it’s not about getting rid of this. I mean, there’s obviously a positive part of this evolutionarily, or we wouldn’t be the way that we are. But it’s managing it right, it’s being able to see it through a different lens and have tools available to us that we can access more quickly. That can help make it less painful when it shows up.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s, for me, it’s, it’s more of a welcoming of the impostor rather than you know, as I said, at the very beginning, gassing it, right, putting it, putting the cast over binding it up, putting it on his own little box where it can kind of echo in the background and just keep spinning the tales, keep spinning those stories that are ultimately going to impede me, I can say, oh, I feel that. I feel that pain. I know you’re here to protect me. It’s okay. Like, it’s okay.

Kim Meninger Yeah, and I love that too. Because it’s really showing compassion for the part of yourself that’s afraid because we all have that and build a relationship with Chad.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Exactly. Hey, Chad. Oh, it’s you again. Hi, sweetie. This is, it’s a, it sounds so silly. But the reality is, I mean, I realized, I guess a little bit later than I, would have liked to. But nobody’s ever asked to see my GPA. Nobody’s ever asked to see my diplomas. Which, to my great disappointment, by the way, I might add, right? Like I work really hard for all these things. And at the end of the day, it’s only me, it’s only me that’s holding me back. And so it was, it was not the diplomas. It was not this, it was going to make me worthwhile. It was me addressing that inner voice and saying, thank you. I’m already enough. I’m already worthy. I’m going to show up here and I’m going to have a partial success. I may fail, I may fall flat on my face, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to die. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get kicked out of my tribe. It doesn’t mean like this is the end of all days. It means I’m going to have an adventure. And the beautiful thing about the brain right is when we are under fear and stress and anxiety and all of these Chad, Chad stories, right? We’re releasing this incredible hormonal cocktail of, of cortisol and adrenaline and, and dopamine. Funnily enough, people think of it as a happy hormone, but it’s an addiction hormone, right? We’re having all of these this hormonal cocktail release. When we are excited. We release the exact same hormonal cocktail. So fear, stress, anxiety, excited. So the only real difference right our body is having this experience is information experience. The only real difference is how we’re interpreting it here in our brains. So am I excited? Or am I scared? Am I having an adventure? Or am I having an ordeal? And so much of life is choosing oh, this is an adventure this I may fall flat on my face. It’s an adventure rather than allowing our fear to dictate that path for us.

Kim Meninger I love that so much. And it brings me back to where we started because you talked about a life lived in fear. And I think that if we zoom out and we imagine ourselves at the end of our lives whenever that might be, that we are going to wish we went on that adventure, right?

Dr. Rebecca Heiss So many people have bucket lists, they never even start to tick off. So go have adventures.

Kim Meninger Yeah, we’re never going to get to the end of our lives and think, Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t do that. Because it was scary, right. Yep. Yeah. Wow. Oh, my goodness. Any final thoughts, Rebecca? This has been so real, it’s so powerful.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Thank you. I mean, final thoughts are just thank you for doing what you’re doing. I am so appreciative of, of women who are willing, especially women, all people, but especially women that are willing to speak about this and raise their own hand up and say I’m, I’m one of them. Right. I can hear, I need to talk about this because others are suffering. And, and I think the more we’re willing to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable, and say, okay, I’m struggling too, the more we can help and benefit one another. So that’s thank you for being here and for doing it. Oh,

Kim Meninger well, thank you so much. I mean, I so enjoyed this conversation, I think is so valuable to everyone listening. I’m gonna include all your information in the show notes. So anybody who wants to learn more about you, I know you have services and programs that you offer as well. So information will be available in the show notes. And thanks again, Rebecca.

Dr. Rebecca Heiss Absolutely. Thanks for having me on Kim.

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