Finding Confidence Amid Self-Doubt: A Discussion on Imposter Syndrome and Dunning-Kruger Effect

In this enlightening episode of “Stillness in the Storms,” titled “Finding Confidence Amid Self-Doubt: A Discussion on Imposter Syndrome and Dunning-Kruger Effect,” host Steven Webb offers a deep dive into the psychological phenomena that often hold us back from realizing our full potential.

If you find value in these discussions and wish to support the podcast, consider making a donation or buying Steven a coffee at Your support helps continue these insightful conversations and aids in reaching more people who could benefit from them.

Drawing from his personal experiences and insights, Steven shares his journey of overcoming self-doubt and finding confidence, despite the challenges. He explores the intricacies of Imposter Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect, explaining how these conditions manifest in our lives and influence our self-perception and actions.

Steven recounts a pivotal moment at a climate change conference, where he was thrust into the spotlight despite feeling like an imposter. His response to a challenging question not only earned the agreement of a climate change expert but also led to a personal breakthrough in his battle with Imposter Syndrome.

The episode emphasizes the importance of acknowledging our achievements, no matter how small they may seem. Steven encourages listeners to write down their accomplishments as a way to combat feelings of inadequacy and to realize their worth.

He also underscores the value of sharing our fears and facing them head-on. By opening up about our insecurities, we can begin to understand them better and find ways to overcome them.

Steven’s discussion on these psychological phenomena is not just informative but also deeply empowering. He reminds us that self-doubt and overconfidence are not fixed states, but fluctuating feelings that we can learn to navigate.

Tune in to this episode for a transformative discussion that encourages self-reflection, promotes self-confidence, and provides practical advice on dealing with Imposter Syndrome and the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Remember, the journey to inner peace and self-assuredness is a continuous one, and “Stillness in the Storms” is here to guide you every step of the way.


Finding Confidence Amid Self-Doubt: A Discussion on Imposter Syndrome and Dunning-Kruger Effect


[00:00:00] So welcome to this week's podcast. I want to talk about imposter syndrome, something that I had no idea I suffered from massively, but I overcame it almost instantly at one given moment, and I had no idea it was about to happen. I'm going to share that story shortly, but before that, Let's get on with the introductions and I want to say a little thank you to a few people that have bought me a coffee this week.

[00:00:30] So to us, someone and a someone, thank you very much to you two. Thank you to Paula. Thank you to Mia. You guys are absolutely awesome and I'm humbled by it. Thank you very much. And it really does help make a difference. The actual money goes towards, The hosting of the podcast and the hosting of my other podcast, inner Peace Meditations, and I'm releasing a new podcast in about eight weeks.

[00:01:00] I'm super excited about this. It won't change this podcast. It won't change the Inner Peace Meditations podcast, and it's something I think you guys are going to absolutely love. It's going to compliment these two podcasts. But I'm not gonna say any more about that right now. I'm just super, super excited.

[00:01:22] So thank you very much to you guys that treat me to a coffee. That's where your money goes, to the editing, to the equipment, and to the hosting of these podcasts. The more popular they get, the more you share it, and the more people we reach and the more people we help. It really is. And I say we deliberately because you guys been part of it.

[00:01:45] The emails you send me, the ideas you give me for the shows, you guys make it so much more deeper and so much more satisfying and I love you guys. Thank you very much for all of the support. So yes. Anyway, let's move on to today's show.

[00:02:04] We're talking today about imposter syndrome, and I'm gonna talk about effectively the opposite to imposter syndrome, the Dunning Kruger effect. So because they kind of go together on the opposite side. Very often we talk about love and hate, although they're not opposites. The opposite of love is fear, ironically, but we often see it as polar opposites.

[00:02:29] So Dunning Kruger is not necessarily the opposite to imposter syndrome, but it is certainly on the same scale somewhere, or I'm not a psychiatrist, but I, I think, I think you'll understand by the end of this podcast what they are, and we all suffer from. These in some way are not just talking about professional people.

[00:02:52] When we talk about imposter syndrome or the Dunning Kruger effect, we're all human. We all suffer from these things, and we all fluctuate in and out of them at times. You know, I suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect, especially in my teenage years where I thought I knew everything, and now sometimes I only think I know everything about three times a day.

[00:03:15] As opposed to 20 times a day as a teenager. And I suffer from imposter syndrome more often now than I did as a teenager, but it's less than, it doesn't hold me back so much cause I recognize it now. It's not something that you suddenly completely get over, but it's something you recognize and you go, ah, hi.

[00:03:38] I recognize that voice. So that's first of all, what is imposter syndrome? Well, imposter syndrome is, it's a psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their accomplishments. You don't believe that whatever you achieved, really, you did it. You think it was somebody else and you just got a good memory, or you know, it was a lucky day, or I happened to win that race because they were having an off day.

[00:04:10] And it was like when I got elected on the council, it's like, yeah, they didn't really want me, nobody else wanted to do it. And I still say that now about the mayor when they, I was on the b BBC radio yesterday and Justin Lee said.

[00:04:22] How come you'd done two years? And I just looked up and said, yeah, nobody else wanted to do it. So that little voice, although I was joking, that little voice is there still.

[00:04:32] We basically don't think we're capable. We don't think we're intelligent enough. We don't think we should be in the room. So when I sit there with other councillors, when I sit there amongst other mayors, I just don't think I deserve a place in the room.

[00:04:47] So how does imposter syndrome really manifest itself? How does it show? Well, we're constantly fearing failure. We want to run away. We don't want to do it because we don't think we'll achieve it. We think we'll let people down and. We, we also want to become a perfectionist. We wanna make sure we cannot release it into this Absolutely.

[00:05:10] Perfect. It has to be perfect. So really, we are procrastinating. We're. Totally not leaning into it because we worry about what people will say. We worry about what others say. So if other people's opinion is stopping us from doing these things, then we're allowing them to have too much influence.

[00:05:35] Another thing we do is we discount our successes. So if someone comes along and says, you've done a really good job at that, and you go, yeah, yeah, no, I didn't really, there would, there was so many things I could have done better. There's so many things I could have improved and no, someone else would've done a better job than me.

[00:05:52] So there's that. And then the other way that it is not, it's very huge, but it's more subtle as well, is that fear of success. The worry that you're gonna succeed and you're gonna be sh the light is gonna be sh on you and everybody's gonna see exactly what you are. Everybody's going to see how awesome you are.

[00:06:15] Wait a minute, but you're not awesome, aren't you? So that fear that the world's gonna suddenly see that you are that imposter, you're not really there. Well, I think everybody that has a genuine, authentic side to them fears that, and when I heard Richard Branson has that fear, and Alexander Cortez and all those, they have that fear as well.

[00:06:42] I've just bit my tongue. That hurt.

[00:06:44] I'm back and I'm okay. I'm going to survive. I think definitely survived long enough to finish this podcast, but boy did that hurt. I dunno if you noticed it when I was talking. Then I said, I said a name and I bit my tongue and it's like, ow. Anyway, God done that hurt. Wow. I suppose if it didn't hurt, we would bite our tongue all the time.

[00:07:09] Wouldn't we Make sense? But the other way it manifests itself is overcompensation. We really work really, really hard and we're trying to convince people all the time of how we got there and what we did to get there. And our qualifications are, we're having to reemphasize it all the time, which really, we're not talking to them, we're talking to ourselves.

[00:07:34] And I can think of a person that ironically suffers from imposter syndrome, but is over. Over compensated with confidence in, unless Donald Trump, he's still trying to convince his father that he's a successful person, then okay, you can define success, you know. He became the president of the United States, and in the scheme of politics and the hierarchy, that is pretty successful.

[00:08:01] What you do with it is a different story. I'm not talking about that. I'm not talking about the actions. I'm talking purely about the achievements of getting elected and doing that at the moment. So,

[00:08:12] This is why he overcompensates about the next election fraud and all those other things. And he is gotta tell everyone cuz he cannot face the real reality because he has, he has a real mix of the Dunning Kruger effect and Imposs syndrome. It's crazy, isn't it? It's really quite interesting actually. I'm sure psychiatrists are gonna be analyzing Donald Trump for like the next.

[00:08:38] 2000 years.

[00:08:40] So I spoke a bit about imposter syndrome. Let's talk about the Dunning Kruger effect. The Dunning Kruger effect is, The opposite where you think you, you are qualified, you think you have all the qualifications, you know all about it. You don't need to listen to anybody you already know. You are already clever enough.

[00:09:02] You don't even need to read any books about it because you already have that knowledge. You did it at school. When you are the expert in it, you know, you overestimate your abilities. And I do that sometimes on certain things. I do it. So it's not black and white. Nothing's black and white. You know, everything has gray areas and you catch me on a really confident day and I'm feeling really good and the sun's out, I'm gonna, I may have that effect on me rather than the imposter syndrome, but you gimme a day that I'm not feeling too good and it'll be imposter syndrome that I'm suffering with.

[00:09:42] So, What I'm trying to point out is it's not black and white. It's not. We sit in this chair, and we stay in that chair constantly. So going back to the Domen Kruger effect, you know, the feelings of their is overconfidence. The learning attitude is they, they may not recognize they need improvement.

[00:10:05] The attitude toward task that, that they may take on tasks that are beyond their capability. Whereas someone with imposter syndrome, they may hesitate to take on the task with fear of failure. The learning attitude of an imposter syndrome is constantly seeking to learn and improve. You know, feelings, anxiety and self-doubt.

[00:10:30] Whereas feelings of a Dunning Kruger effect is overconfidence. You know the reaction to criticism. You can guess which one this one is. Reaction to criticism, often. Dismissive or defensive. That's the Dunning Kruger effect. Reaction to criticism may take it to heart and dwell on it. That's imposter syndrome.

[00:10:55] That's really interesting actually. I thought it had been the other way around, but I guess it does make sense and some of the phrases you might recognize when you're around people that may use these phrases or when you, you use these phrases, and I think I've used every single one of these phrases on both sides at least a hundred times in my life.

[00:11:20] You know the Dunning Kruger effect. I don't need any help. I've got this. It's not that hard. Anybody could do it. I don't see why they don't understand. It's simple. I know more than enough to handle this. They don't know what they're talking about. I'm right. They're all the Dunning Kruger effect, and I've said all of them.

[00:11:42] Imposter syndrome. I must have just got lucky. I don't deserve this success. I feel like a fraud. They must have made a mistake in choosing me. I don't know why they think I'm so competent. And I've used those phrases all similar. And especially coming outta my membership, I people often say, you've done a brilliant job.

[00:12:09] I'm like, not really. I dunno what I've done. So it's, it is really interesting and my story of when I overcame the imposter syndrome was, it was about eight months into my first year of membership and I was invited to a climate change conference locally. And I'm not an expert in climate change. I'm not an expert in weather and climate patterns.

[00:12:37] And all I know is climate change is pretty real. We are learning a lot about it, and we have to do something about it. That's the depth of my knowledge and I want to live in a healthy, clean society. That's the depth of my knowledge. That's where I bow down to the experts. The people that have studied it for decades, they know what they're talking about because they've studied it.

[00:13:04] So who am I to know? However, in my twenties, I was totally dismissive of it. I thought it was a religion to make money out of people. When I thought it was complete rubbish, I used to repeat the sentence. Yeah, well, the earth used to warm up and cool down six, 7,000 years ago. What's the difference now?

[00:13:24] There ain't no four by fours back then. Then I realized when it was pointed out to me in my thirties that, yeah, it didn't heat up by two degrees in the space of 60 years. It took six or 7,000 years to do it. We've done it in a short time. Anyway, that's the facts about climate change. Get back to the conference.

[00:13:48] So I was there at the conference in the afternoon and I was one of the ones to be on stage as one of the panel. And I say panel because I don't wanna say experts because I certainly wasn't. So I was on this panel with three other experts, or three experts of me, and I was on the right, right next to me, was a professor from Mexico University on climate change.

[00:14:12] Right next to him was a local business person that was A CEO and a trustee of a really big company locally when it comes to, and I'm deliberately not saying their name no, why? I'm not saying their name anyway, but really quite well known locally in the sustainable world, and right next to him was somebody else similar and they really knew their stuff.

[00:14:39] And it went to the audience. The first question came up and it turned around and said, so climate change is a real decisive thing among the public. And how do you envisage the future when we cannot even agree that climate change is real or not real at the moment? And I thought, okay, it'll come to me last.

[00:15:02] They'll never come to me first on this. So they came straight to me. And it's like, oh, so I've got the mic here. I've got like 80 people sat there listening to my reply and I just said, do you know what? We live in a world that I've not spoken to one person and doesn't wanna live in a happier, healthier, friendly, clean environment.

[00:15:31] Everybody wants to live with more nature, more trees. Nobody wants to sit behind a gas guzzling car. Everybody prefers cleaner energy. So we need to work out how to do that rather than keep having the debates, whether it's real or not. We need to move on from that and just work towards a nice, healthier lifestyle because nobody disagrees with that.

[00:16:04] And I thought that's just a wishy-washy answer. And then they went to the Professor of climate Change right next to me. They put the mic to him and he looked up and goes exactly what he just said. And in that moment I thought, do you know what? Perhaps I do have a place here. Perhaps I do know something.

[00:16:31] And although I don't totally think that I'm over my imposter syndrome because I don't think anybody will ever get over it, that is genuine and authentic. And although I don't think I'm genuine and authentic entirely because I know what goes on this side of my head, you know, I've, I've got the inside knowledge of what goes on in here and, and I wouldn't share it with the world because inside my head is completely.

[00:16:57] Bar me, really? And it is the same with you. If, if you think about it, I'd mentioned it on a podcast two or three podcasts ago. Why do we find it so hard to alo to love ourselves? Well, for one reason is we know w it's an inside job. We know what's going on inside of our head. We know some of the things we think that are not very lovable thoughts.

[00:17:21] So how we know all those things. So it's a little more difficult to love ourselves because we're human and we have that inside stuff. So it's exactly the same as me. I, I have all the self-doubt in my head. I know what really goes on in there, and I know about the confident moments when I think of this crazy thing that I think, yeah, I've got this when really I haven't.

[00:17:43] So, yeah, I, I don't know. I know the title of the podcast is how I Got Over My Imposter Syndrome, but really I've learned to have the voice and have a healthier relationship with that voice. So when it pops up, I'm like, hi, how are you? I know you're looking after me. Just let me jump outta my comfort zone just for a minute.

[00:18:09] But thank you for being there and protecting me. And having that relationship with the imposter syndrome, voice softens it, makes it easier. And I, I hope it keeps me humble to a little degree. Whenever I say that, when I'm talking about me being humble, I'm like, yeah, I'm really not.

[00:18:33] And when people say, yeah, but Steven, you really haven't got an ego. I'm like, I got a huge ego. I wouldn't, I would never have been on the council. I would never have become mayor if I didn't have an ego the size of this planet. You know? That's the reality. It's probably why I need the spiritual journey so much.

[00:18:54] That's why it's so, so much hard work because of the ego. So when people say to me, you know, you haven't got a huge ego, Stevie, I'm like, you have no idea. But yeah, it's, it is an interesting, it's the, the inside job, what we can see on the inside. So what can we do to try to get over the imposter syndrome, subject to dumping ourselves in the deep end and going on to stage in a climate change conference?

[00:19:25] What can we do if we think we suffer from either of these, the imposter syndrome or Dunning Kruger effect?

[00:19:35] Now then, I don't know what you would do about the Dunning Kruger effect. Really, you know, if you think you are brilliant at everything and you don't need to learn anything and you don't need to go to class and you don't need to, there's not really a lot I can say or do because you already know it all. But on the flip side, if you do suffer from not fitting in or not feeling like it's worthy of a place there, there is a few things you can do.

[00:20:03] One thing that I did a few years ago that was really effective is write a list of your achievements. A whole list of achievements, and write everything down. You know, if you literally, if you cannot think of anything, say, I survived school. I survived primary school. I survived my first camping trip. You know, I survived my first swimming lesson.

[00:20:29] I survived falling in the water. You know, start with the, all the things you survived in life. You des you survived your first relationship, you managed to get out of it relatively may be unscathed, you know, and then all the little exams at school, all the things you passed, all the little achievements, you know, even if they were just a C or a D in maths, write it down.

[00:21:01] All the little, in the UK we have nvq 1, 2, 3, 4, and five I suppose. Write down the little exams you do for these jobs and things like that. Everything, write it down and when you look back through, you'll go, do you know what I'm, I got better than I thought. I'm doing okay. It might even make you cry cause it did me, it made me very proud of some of the things I've achieved.

[00:21:31] The other things you can do is talk about your feelings. Talk about your fear of taking that job on, or taking the next challenge on. Just sharing it with someone. Ask them, don't say something. I don't need fixing. I just need someone to share my thoughts and feelings with, and ultimately face your fears.

[00:21:56] Jump into that deep end. Don't dive into the swimming pool like I did dive into the deep end, but you know, I'm only joking. Look, I'm Steven Webb. Hopefully this helps you and if it does in anyway, look, leave a review. That's awesome. That's amazing. That will help us to jump through the ranks and. Reach more people and help more people.

[00:22:23] That's what fulfills me. It's just helping people. I, I love it when someone can email me and say, Hey, you said a little something that helps me, helps me have a little less suffering. Thank you to those that treated me to a coffee. If anybody wants to download the five Simple Practices for Inner Peace or treat me to a coffee, you can too at

[00:22:48] You are awesome.

[00:22:49] Take care, and remember, there's always love in the stillness. I love you.