• Sarah E. Brown

Turn Your Imposter Syndrome into Your Super Power with Jen Coken


What makes you so scared of doing your best? Do your past or childhood memories hinder you from doing and being the greatest? Are you feeling stuck and hidden because of the imposter syndrome?


The imposter syndrome is something little we know about ourselves, is hard for us to accept, and is limiting us from going about achieving greater heights. But what is worse than imposter syndrome? Hiding from it, rejecting it, and being unable to accept that part of us. How would you know if your “too much” is really too much? The only way is to accept that part of you and use it to your advantage. So, are you ready to turn your imposter syndrome into your very own superpower?


Jen Coken has been recognized by ABC, MSNBC, and TEDx. She is a speaker, peak performance coach, imposter syndrome expert, and comedian who works with C-Suite women who are looking to make a bigger difference. She shatters the limiting beliefs that plague women at this level with her unique style centered around ruthless compassion.


In this episode, Jen talks about the downfall that imposter syndrome may bring, but also the beauty it hides within it. She shares how this could bring out the best from within us, let us realize our powerful capabilities, and make it our very own superpower!


What you will learn from this episode:

  • Discover why it is better to face your imposter syndrome and accept it than hiding from it

  • Know more about how accepting it is a critical part of knowing yourself and growing more

  • Find out how you can embrace your imposter syndrome and make it your stepping stone into the C-Suite


If you don't suffer from some way of imposter syndrome, you're not playing a big enough game.
- Jen Coken


Valuable Free Resource:


How to embrace your imposter syndrome and make it your own superpower: jencokenquiz.com



Topics Covered:


01:56 - Challenge is doubting and questioning their leadership and capabilities in their workplace, and not realizing their deserved place in the C-Suite


03:34 - Suffering the imposter syndrome and not realizing it: the common mistakes women business leaders make when becoming a better leader


05:31 - One free and actionable tip you can do to help address your imposter syndrome and believe more in your capabilities and power: Make sure you notice that we do have imposter syndrome. You're embracing that. That's really the tip, is to embrace it. =


07:58 - One valuable resource to help you embrace your imposter syndrome and make it your superpower: Visit jencokenquiz.com


09:20 - Q: Does everybody have imposter syndrome? A: Yes. Don't poopoo whether you're male or female, because- don't poopoo it because of the wording, because it is such a catchphrase. And don't think for a minute that women suffer from it more than men. They don't.



Key Takeaways:


“You're playing on the skinny branches, embrace it. It's simply an opportunity for you to grow and keep true to what you're out to accomplish. Keep leading that passionate, purpose-driven life.” - Jen Coken


“When women are leading, companies are more profitable, employees are more engaged, and they're more empowered because women score higher on the emotional intelligence index.” - Jen Coken


“If you are exhausting yourself by working too hard, if you're trying to do things perfectly, if you are procrastinating because things don't come really easy, or for example, you're not asking me for help because you think it makes you look weak, those are all hallmarks of imposter syndrome.” - Jen Coken


“What I have found in working with about 60 of my clients is that there is always, for people that deal with imposter syndrome, there's always what I call an "originating incident". Not something dramatic, not anything traumatic, something mundane that happened in our world as a child.” - Jen Coken



Ways to Connect with Jen Coken



Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown



Full Episode Transcript:

Sarah E. Brown 0:33

Recognized by ABC, MSNBC, and TEDx, Jen Coken is a speaker, peak performance coach, Imposter Syndrome expert, and a comedian who works with C-Suite women who are looking to make a bigger difference. She shatters the limiting beliefs that plague women at this level with her unique style centered around ruthless compassion. These are women who at their core, long for the audacity to be themselves, to lead without limits. Jen has made it her mission to become the personal wrecking ball behind a woman ready to step into her power. She knocks down the barriers women create, and empowers them to make the money they deserve, get aligned, and build an authentic life. Fortune 500 clients to seven-figure CEOs trust Jen to shake things up with no apologies, no limits, and all the laugh. Jen, thank you so much for being with me today.


Jen Coken 1:44

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited about this!


Sarah E. Brown 1:48

I am too. So, what is the biggest challenge, as if I don't know, you help female leaders face in business today?


Jen Coken 1:56

Well, females don't realize- female leaders don't realize there is an office in the C-Suite with their name on it because they doubt and question their leadership. So, Harvard Business Review recently did a study for the Rockefeller Foundation which has a campaign of 100 female CEOs by 2025. And they interviewed 57, and two-thirds of those women said they didn't realize they could be a CEO until someone else told them they could. Now that number 57 may seem small, like a small sample, but that is relevant because there are so few women CEOs. And in fact, in 2018, there were 25 female CEOs and 23 men named John. So, right?


Sarah E. Brown 2:46

But for real?


Jen Coken 2:48

No, I'm not kidding! That's not- I didn't make that up. That's, you know, that is absolutely true. And I am committed to increasing that 100 fold because research also shows that when women are leading, companies are more profitable, employees are more engaged, and they're more empowered because women score higher on the emotional intelligence index. So, I help women get into the C-Suite by promoting themselves, letting go of imposter syndrome, promoting themselves with confidence and humility, and empowering their teams, and giving back to their communities, which is what they truly care about.


Sarah E. Brown 3:28

Wow. So, what do you say are the biggest mistakes your clients make before working with you?


Jen Coken 3:34

They suffer from imposter syndrome and don't realize it, because it's such a buzzword right now. You know, Sarah, and people look at that word, "Now, that's not me." But if you are exhausting yourself by working too hard, if you're trying to do things perfectly, if you are procrastinating because things don't come really easy, or for example, you're not asking me for help because you think it makes you look weak, those are all hallmarks of imposter syndrome. And I, then, help them make imposter syndrome, their superpower.


Sarah E. Brown 4:06

Ah, what an intriguing idea! So how prevalent is imposter syndrome?


Jen Coken 4:13

Well, about 70% of all adults or all Americans say that they suffer from some form of imposter syndrome. But I will tell you, I've been a coach a long time and coached thousands of people. I've never met a person from a kid in their teens to a member of Congress, and these are people I've actually coached who don’t suffer at some point from questioning and doubting themselves, trying to be perfect, you know, grinding it out to get ahead. All of us suffer. I would say everybody does. And truth is, I tell my clients, “If you don't suffer from some way of imposter syndrome, you're not playing a big enough game.”


Sarah E. Brown 4:54

Hmm.


Jen Coken 4:54

Because when imposter syndrome arises, it's because we're putting ourselves out there. We're playing on the skinny branches. We're risking ourselves. It's our brain’s way of really attempting to figure out the threat and make sure that we're safe. Like, "Wait, don't speak up. Don't do this. Don't do that." So, if you're not suffering from it, you're playing too small a game.


Sarah E. Brown 5:18

Oh, so what is the number one free and actionable tip, or was that it, you can give people to address this challenge now?


Jen Coken 5:27

That was a good tip, wasn't it?


Sarah E. Brown 5:28

It was a good tip!


Jen Coken 5:31

The truth is, I hate tips. You know, I- there- if you Google "overcoming imposter syndrome", there, as of a week ago, there were 2.44 million tips and tools. I don't think any of those work in the long term. Because what I have found in working with about 60 of my clients is that there is always, for people that deal with imposter syndrome, there's always what I call an "originating incident". Not something dramatic, not anything traumatic, something mundane that happened in our world as a child. For example, I was working with a client last week, who- she is very successful. She's gaining more and more success but she said, "I'm really struggling because I don't feel like I've earned it." Okay, and when we got back to was when she was about, I don't know, six or seven years old, she was in a storytelling championship at school. It was an all-day event where she told five different stories and all the kids were involved, and there were different judges. And on her fifth story, she was talking about Paul Bunyan and his pancakes. And she was really into Paul Bunyan and his pancakes, and she went on too long. And the moderator had cut her off, so she was devastated. She goes into the gymnasium to, you know, see who won. She's sure she didn't, and she won the contest. But in her mind, she talked too long and was cut off. And I said, "Well, wait a minute, how many stories did you tell?" "Well, four and a half?" "Okay, were there different judges for each story room?" "Yes." "Did they all collaborate and figure out who is the best storyteller?" "Yes." Okay. And she was, "What? What?! It was that simple". I said, "It's that simple." And literally, it was like going from black and white to color in The Wizard of Oz. And she could see where she's been struggling with thinking she has to work really hard and earn it in order to experience the success that she already has. So, she really dismisses her success. And I find that with everybody. So, all that being said, yes, make sure you notice that when you have imposter syndrome, you're embracing that. That's really the tip, is to embrace it. You're playing on the skinny branches, embrace it. It's simply an opportunity for you to grow and keep true to what you're out to accomplish. Keep leading that passionate, purpose-driven life.


Sarah E. Brown 7:48

Hmm. I get it. So, what is the valuable free resource you can share with the women who are listening today to help them understand this challenge better?


Jen Coken 7:58

Yeah, I have a free quiz that will give women an opportunity to understand their particular flavor of imposter syndrome and how it's sabotaging their success. And then, once you take that quiz, there's an email with a link to a free webinar that will give you a strategy to overcome it. I'll say it this way to embrace it and really own it as your superpower. And the link for that is easy. It's my name jencoken, and then the word quiz. So jencokenquiz.com. J-E-N-C-O-K-E-N quiz.com.


Sarah E. Brown 8:35

And that will be in the show notes. So, Jen, what's one question I should have asked you about this that I didn't that will help our audience take action to address this challenge? And then would you please answer the question?


Jen Coken 8:49

Absolutely. This always- when I saw this question, because, of course, you shared it with me beforehand, it reminded me of a college professor, I have to say, who- she was one of my favorite professors. And we would read, it was comparative political literature, and we would read six books over the course of a semester, and the test was always her questions. And the last one was, create your own question and answer it and you will be judge by the question as well as the answer. So, it was great-


Sarah E. Brown 9:16

But you knew what was coming?


Jen Coken 9:17

Yeah, exactly.


Sarah E. Brown 9:20

Uh-huh.


Jen Coken 9:20

I think the big question is really, does everybody have imposter syndrome? And you kind of asked that question, but the answer is, yes. Don't poopoo whether you're male or female, because- don't poopoo it because of the wording, because it is such a catchphrase. And don't think for a minute that women suffer from it more than men. They don't. It seems like they do because we, as women, talk about our feelings more and talk to each other more, and are really about empowering one another. So, we- and we don't tend to be as competitive in a lot of ways. So, we do open the kimono, as I like to say, and talk about it more. Take the quiz, look at your particular flavor, and then watch the webinar and identify strategies to embrace it so that you can make it your superpower instead of trying to overcome it.


Sarah E. Brown 10:15

What a hopeful message! Embracing something everybody has and turning it into your superpower. Jen, thank you so much for being with me today.


Jen Coken 10:24

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me.



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