Normalizing the Imposter Syndrome with Dr.Kelly Flanagan

by Janice Tomich


The imposter syndrome is something you’ve heard me speak about before on my podcast. But how do we give ourselves permission to be uncertain when we hear that inner voice that screams, “I feel like an imposter!” while we are delivering a speech or presentation?

Dr. Kelly Flanagan, psychologist, blogger, and author is not your typical clinical psychologist. Every week, he has a community of more than 50,000 people that wait for his newsletter where he shares personal stories from his blog, UnTangled. I am one of them. His blog is about telling a redemptive story where he breaks down the suffering and pain of life and makes room for love, grace, and belonging.

The sharing of stories is not common in a psychology practice. However, it has brought him and his family onto the The Today Show. It has also spearheaded his journey to writing his new book, Loveable: Embracing What is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life.

Kelly’s commencement address, Chase Your Dreams but Chase Them for the Right Reasons, gave me another reason to interview him.

Come join me as Kelly shares how we can normalize the imposter syndrome, why we don’t need to plan too far ahead, and how we can embrace the voice of shame and our worthiness. You’ll learn many nuggets about how he was confronted with the imposter syndrome at his commencement address, the reason for his writing his heartfelt letter to his daughter, and the process he went through to publish his book.

Show Highlights

3:19 What does being redemptive mean?

5:45 How Kelly became comfortable about sharing his personal stories on his blog and with his clients

7:45 How to push the boundaries of traditional clinical psychology but making sure it still serves the client

9:09 The speaker vulnerability crisis and managing it

11:00 Embracing your worthiness, getting on stage and knowing you’re alright, but what are the chickens going to think?

14:00 The ‘Can we all agree on one thing about beauty?‘ post and how Kelly was invited to the Today’s Show

15:40 ‘Of course you’re an imposter!‘ and normalizing the imposter syndrome

16:32 How when we say, “I feel like an imposter” is actually an important moment of becoming more authentic

19:10 Kelly speaks about his experience delivering his commencement speech 20 years after graduating

20:00 How Kelly handled it when he didn’t receive a lot of feedback from the crowd during his speech

22:01 The first core tenant of his speech: Give yourself permission to be uncertain

22: 35 The second core tenant of his speech: Don’t plan too far ahead

24:14 The third core tenant of his speech: The voice of shame and the voice of grace

26:25 Why it’s important to set aside time to be still, quiet, and to listen to the voice of grace

27:32 Kelly answers questions from his new book, Loveable: Embracing What is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life

35:54 He shares about the process of writing a book including submitting proposals, writing, sending revisions, and getting ready for the launch

37:35 The Karma Envelopes and what they mean


Read Dr. Kelly Flanagan’s blog ‘Untangled’

Follow Dr. Kelly Flanagan on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

Learn more about Dr. Kelly Flanagan’s practice:

Buy his book on Amazon

About Dr. Kelly Flanagan

Kelly graduated with his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Penn State University and is co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. Several years ago, he discovered writing was the thing he never knew he always wanted to do, so he began the now popular blog, UnTangled, where he writes weekly about how to live redemptive stories right now. Kelly is married to another clinical psychologist named Kelly, because they decided to make life even more complicated than it already is. The Kellies—as they are called by friends and family—have three children, and they have a deal with their kids: they teach the kids how to grow up, and the kids teach them how to grow young again. So far, it’s not clear who is helping who the most. Kelly is the author of Loveable: Embracing What is Truest About You, So You Can Truly Embrace Your Life.

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