How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Episode 1001: How to Overcome Self-Doubt, with Kris Kelso

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How to overcome self-doubt—Unlock the keys to conquering self-doubt with proven strategies and expert advice. Learn how to overcome self-doubt.

How to overcome self-doubt — Kris Kelso is a keynote speaker for leadership conferences, corporate events, universities, and has been both guest and host on television and radio programs. He is the author of Overcoming The Impostor: Silence Your Inner Critic and Lead with Confidence.

Trained and certified as an executive coach, Kris has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, and their leadership teams. He is an advisor and instructor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, is a Facilitator / Coach with The Alternative Board, and is a contributing writer for The Nashville Business Journal.

Kris has founded multiple companies and has served on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations. He is an active member of Cornerstone Nashville, where he serves, teaches, and coaches other leaders. He lives with his wife and three teenage sons in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.


What you’ll learn in this episode is about how to overcome self-doubt: 

  • Why Kris chose to focus his career on solving leadership and communication problems in businesses and overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
  • How Kris defines the Imposter Syndrome, and why it causes us to overvalue the accomplishments of others and undervalue our own unique traits and accomplishments
  • Kris gives expert advice on how to overcome self-doubt
  • Why we often find ourselves comparing the reality of our own lives with a simplified, polished and curated version of other people’s lives we see on social media
  • Why entrepreneurs by nature are at higher risk of falling to the Imposter Syndrome, and why allowing yourself to be vulnerable is crucial to overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
  • Why expressing his own vulnerability to a young entrepreneur gave the entrepreneur a sense of relief and emotional release, and led to Kris writing his book “Overcoming The Impostor”
  • Why being open and vulnerable is the antidote to the trap of the Imposter Syndrome, and why community without vulnerability will “feed the Imposter”
  • Why you should focus on becoming a part of organizations and communities where vulnerability is the norm and encouraged
  • Why it’s important to shift your mindset and realize that failure isn’t the opposite of success but a key part of success
  • How legends Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle had the highest number of strikeouts in all of Major League Baseball because they were willing to take chances
  • Why you don’t have to love failure to avoid fearing it, and why you should accept the compliments you are given and internalize them


Additional Resources:



How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Full Episode Transcript


Get ready to find your recipe for success and how to overcome self-doubt from America’s top business owners here at Onward Nation with your host, Stephen Woessner. 


Good morning! I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation, where I interviewed today’s top business owners. So we can learn their recipe for success how they built and scaled their business. So if you’ve been in business for a while now, or even if you think back to when you were first starting out, my guests is the people inside your inner circle or even complete strangers who just met you and heard that you were starting a business, came up to you and asked you how you found the incredible courage to start your business. Like, how did you get past that nagging voice of fear in your head?


It was urging you, begging you and maybe even insulting you enough so that you would quit so that you will go back to being comfortable and not pushing yourself to grow in, to take on this enormous stress and risk of building your business. And yet, somehow, somehow Onward Nation you push through in, from the outside, looking in, I’m telling you, it takes in, it looks like it took a lot of guts and candidly, it does. It takes a lot of guts to defeat that voice. And that voice is you may already know, is what many people call the imposter syndrome, or maybe you’ve heard it called the inner critic or some other term. Regardless, if you let it, the imposter syndrome will derail you from your destiny.


It is, without a doubt, your worst enemy. So, when I thought about how to structure today’s episode, I decided we ought to focus on conquering the imposter syndrome and how best to kick it to the curb so that you are in the right position to come to roaring Onward Nation out of this recession. I mean, seriously, if we talk to someone on our team, the way we talk to her or ourselves and our own heads, we wouldn’t have a business. Everyone would leave. So, let’s fix that. So in today’s discussion, we’re going to identify the underlining fear behind the imposter syndrome.


We’re going to talk through why it’s more prevalent among business owners and high achievers, just like you are also going to shine a bright light on the biggest trap that many successful people fall into and to better understand how the imposter syndrome weaponizes, that’s a cool term, isn’t it? Weaponizes our unique gifts against us. And lastly, today’s discussion will help you by giving you the tools to redefine success on your own terms. And the ability to recognize when the imposter syndrome is hard at work inside somebody else.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Kris Kelso’s Introduction


How fast will you learn about how to overcome self-doubt? Okay. That’s a pretty tall order. We’re going to cover a lot. Although I have felt personally, the imposter syndrome will work in my life and inside Predictive many times, I am not an expert on a subject, which is why I invited Kris Kelso to be our guest today. Kris is a business owner and executive coach, a highly sought-after keynote speaker and he has an impostor syndrome expert. He is also the author of the new book entitled Overcoming The Impostor Silence, Your Inner Critic, and Lead with Confidence. He’s worked with hundreds of business owners, just like you and me, Onward Nation, working alongside them in their leadership teams to work through constraints and obstacles to grow their businesses.


And now, because he said, yes, we all have this unique opportunity to learn directly from Kris to help us all conquer the inner critic. The imposter syndrome is so without further ado, welcome to Onward Nation. My friend, thank you for joining us, Kris. Thank you,


Steven. It’s so great to be here. Hello, Onward Nation. I’m excited to have this conversation today. It’s going to be fun too. And yeah, it is going to be fun and super-helpful, right? Because we’re all dealing with us in some shape or form or fashion at some point, if not all the time, candidly. Yeah. So, before we dive into what I know is going to be a very helpful topic and really looking forward to you, sharing your expertise, insights and wisdom. Before we do that, take us behind the curtain and tell us a little bit more about you and your path and journey, and then we’ll dive in.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Kris’ Background


Yeah, my path has been a twisting-turning especially before I was able to learn how to overcome self-doubt. One that’s been largely driven by curiosity, interest and fascination with things. I was a software developer about 20 years ago and spent a lot of time in technology in the healthcare industry. Mostly I then started my first business about 14 years ago, which was an it consulting firm. I later co-founded a second company, which was a cloud computing platform built for the healthcare industry. And with that second company, I really made a shift from being technical to being the CEO. And that came out of some of my experience in the consulting firm, where I realize that most technology problems are really people problems, and most people problems our leadership and communication problems.


So, I began to focus my career, passion, and interests on solving business leadership and communication problems. And so I ran a second company for a while, and then after getting that company to profitability and shifting to a more passive role and that business, I did some consulting work with a private equity firm, and transitioned into leadership coaching and for the last four years or so, I’d been working with dozens of entrepreneurs at a time and their leadership teams often helping them to improve their leadership, improved communication, set a clear vision, create the right goals and build a culture of accountability and, and traction and, and progress in their organization.


So, I worked one-on-one as an executive coach. And as you mentioned, you were doing a lot of public speaking and teaching training of just joining the faculty of a coaching school where I’m actually teaching other executive coaches now. So, it’s been a really interesting ride, and again, driven by where my interests and my passions are, just like many entrepreneurs, I see problems. And I say I want to solve that problem. And I’m going to figure out what it takes and what I need, what I lack to be able to go solve that problem. And then I go get it.


I love it. This is awesome. We’re going to have so much to talk about, and I would be remiss if I didn’t. I just quickly say thank you to our mutual friend, Nicole Mahoney for introducing us to the two of us. So Nicole, thank you very much if you happened to be listening. My dear friend, thank you for making the intro. So Kris, before we dive into too deeply with I’m solving and tools and all of that, which we will absolutely get to as I mentioned in the introduction. We’d love to get advice, because you are an expert in this would love to get your definition. When you think of impostor syndrome, you are an inner critic, so give us some foundational context. How do you define imposter syndrome?


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: The Imposter Syndrome


Imposter syndrome is a psychological term that was coined originally in the 1970s before people know how to overcome self-doubt. And it refers to the tendency of many people. It turns out to overvalue the accomplishments of others and to undervalue or even doubt the reality of their own accomplishments. And so what happens is, you know, I look at Stephen, and I say, man, Stephen is successful because he’s smart, educated, and savvy. And he makes all the right moves. And he just really knows how to build and grow a business. My entrepreneurial journey has included a lot of luck, timing, and getting to know the right people.


And boy, I sure do know a million mistakes that I made and a thousand ways that it could have gone horribly wrong or that. I, you know, failed miserably, but just managed to kind of figure my way through it. The danger and risk of impostor syndrome are that you assume that everyone else has it all together, and you are just really faking it and really getting on by luck or chance. But the way that your success is real and the underlying fear behind imposter syndrome is sooner or later, someone is gonna figure that out. But, you know, someone is going to realize, Oh my goodness, Kris doesn’t know what he’s doing.


Kris has just been making it up as he goes all this time. And, and that, if that happens, it’s all gonna come crumbling down. And, you know, my career was just going to be a big crumbling heap of a mess because I’m going to be found out, I’m going to be exposed. The truth is that we all feel that way at times. So many of us, especially entrepreneurs, were learning on the fly, and we’re figuring it out as we go. And we certainly don’t have it all together. And we were not as great on the inside as it appears on the outside.


Yeah, this is so on-point. And so totally true. This literally happened to me just the other day is going back and forth with somebody on Instagram the other day. And she said, gosh, it really looks like things are rocking over there in Predictive. And at first, I thought it was really nice. And then, almost immediately, I said, really, because then I can think of all of the problems, like all the things that were coming to all of the stuff that doesn’t work, totally doubting the compliment. Isn’t that crazy? Cause we all do that to ourselves. Don’t we? We do.


How do we absolutely do. The problem is that we are, when we compare ourselves to other people, we are judging the reality of our own lives against a highly polished and filtered version of someone else’s life or career.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Comparison Is the Thief of Joy


So, what do you mean by that? Well, what I mean is that you don’t know someone else’s full story, right? Again, if I compare myself to Stephen, I don’t know your whole story. I don’t know what happens in your business day to day. I don’t know all the background. I don’t know the struggles that you face on how to overcome self-doubt. I don’t know all the times that you wrestle with a decision for months and months and months and then make the wrong one and regret it. Right. All I see on the outside, especially on social media, you mentioned Instagram, and you know, what we see on the outside is a celebration of wins, all the great things that are happening, all the way. We see success built on stacks of mistakes, learning, and failure along the way.


But we see all of that in our own lives. I know all the mess in my career. I know the mess in my business. I know the ugliness and the struggle and the challenges. I know the failures that I’ve had to endure and it’s unfair comparison to compare all of that reality with a simplified, boiled-down polished sales presentation of someone else’s business at his that’s the trap that imposter syndrome wants to force you into that comparison trap. It is,


It is a huge trap. And gosh, I’m probably gonna mess up the attribution to this quote, but I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said, gosh, I hope I’m getting this right. That comparison is the thief of all joy.


That is correct because they’re a thief of joy, and you can feel great about yourself until you compare yourself to someone else and realize I don’t have what they have. I have accomplished what they’ve accomplished. But again, what you don’t think about is I haven’t been through the struggles that he’s been through or I haven’t made the sacrifices that she’s made. I haven’t had to go through X, Y, and Z. Cause you don’t, you don’t necessarily see those things. And so that’s why comparison is almost always a trap. When you measure yourself against someone else is never an accurate measurement.


Oh, okay. So, in thinking about your book and Onward Nation again, Kris’s book title is Overcoming The Impostor. So, is that why you wrote in your book that business owners and high achievers are more susceptible or that because they are always trying to get to the next level, they can never get away from the comparison?


Well, it is. So, studies have shown that imposter syndrome is more prevalent among high achievers. And that is counter-intuitive at first; people think that you know, that very successful people were very confident. People wouldn’t struggle on how to overcome self-doubt with a feeling of inadequacy or security, or maybe I’m not what everyone thinks I am. And the opposite is true. The more successful you are, the more of a high, driven, high-achieving person. You are the more likely you are to encounter that feeling. There are three reasons why I believe that entrepreneurs are especially susceptible to imposter syndrome, and I’ll give them to you really quickly.


The first is that they’re there taking risks. They’re forging new territory. They are doing that have never been done before. Entrepreneurs by nature, are risk-takers, and they try things and, they put themselves into situations where they have to learn and figure it out. Especially those entrepreneurs who are creating something that didn’t exist before. Where we, we become very comfortable. I may be comfortable is not the word. We developed a relationship with uncertainty and risk, right? We have to encounter it a lot. The second reason is that entrepreneurs are put on a pedestal by others. They’re often looked at as the people who have all the answers to have it figured out. A CEO named Toby Thomas used an illustration that has become my go-to description of entrepreneurship.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Entrepreneurs are Susceptible


He said that an entrepreneur is like a man riding on a lion. Everyone around the man is saying, wow, that’s amazing. He has learned how to overcome self-doubt. That guy is so brave. I wish I had the guts to do what he’s doing. That’s fantastic. And all the while, the man on the lion is thinking, how in the world did I get on a lion? And how do I keep from being eaten by it?


And you all can’t see Stephen right now, but he’s doubled over with laughter because he knows exactly what that feels like. And almost any entrepreneur does. And I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been given accolades and awards and verbal high-fives for the risks that I have taken in the things I’ve accomplished as an entrepreneur and all the while I’m not always celebrating. In fact, sometimes I’m freaking out just a little bit because what it looks to others like boldness and resolve and strength feels to me like a series of near catastrophes. And so entrepreneurs have this false. They were put on this pedestal and everyone is telling them things that they know are not totally true about themselves.


And that feeds that feeling. The third reason that entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible is that they’re almost always in sales mode, right? If you’re not selling your product or service, you may be selling potential employees to come to work for you. You’re selling your vision of the future to people who want to partner with your company. And some are a small number of investors or entrepreneurs who will go pitch investors, which is, you know, selling their company for cash and selling it. They’re really selling the future. So not only are you selling, but you are often selling something that doesn’t quite really exist yet. And, so you’re having to present something that, you know, is not fully baked so that, you know, is not a hundred percent there.


You know, there’s a lot of kinks and a lot of challenges to work out, but man, you’ve got to go sell it like it’s awesome. And so that combination of being in sales mode all the time, being put on a pedestal by other people and taking risks, just naturally being a position to try new things and have to fail often on the way to success, man, it just creates a breeding ground for the Imposter, that voice on your head to say, look at all of these reasons that you are not legit, that you are not who people think you are, that you really don’t have it together. And the last piece, I think that exacerbates the problem is when we get into entrepreneurial communities, right?


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Become Vulnerable and Get More Real


We go to conferences and events and we listen to podcasts even like this one. And I know that you don’t mean to do this, but a show where you’re talking about how great businesses can cause someone to feel like, man, these people just really have it all together. And I don’t, because again, we’re highlighting the great things that are going on, and we don’t talk enough about the struggles and the failures and the wrestling that has to happen to make those successes possible. So that’s a big part of what I encourage my readers in the book to do is to become more vulnerable and to get more real with one another about not only the great things that were happening but the struggles and the challenges too. So that we can get a realistic perspective on other people as well as on ourselves and give that to others.


It’s a gift to someone when you tell them the truth about your story and allow them to share not only your great wins but also the struggles and challenges that you endured on the way to achieve them.


Well, so let’s talk about that a little bit here too, about how you use the word gift in a totally agree about being realistic, opening yourself up to be vulnerable because when, when somebody does that and let’s use your community’s example, when somebody does that, it really humanizes them. We can still appreciate the amazing, awesome, wonderful, incredible things that they have done. But then it also adds to the human condition, the context of how they actually are like me. They’ve actually done the things or worried about the same fears that I’ve had. Oh, you mean early on in their business, they were worried about making payroll too. Yes. Everybody has their own. Right,


Right. Yes. Those were the stories that extend the lifeline to people who are struggling with their own challenges but don’t feel like they can tell anyone because they don’t want to be the only one. Who’s not got it all together. But the truth is the only one. And the truth is they are not. Yeah. I remember I met a young entrepreneur some years ago, and this was really one of the impactful moments that led to me writing this book through a series of events. I met this young entrepreneur who had founded his company right out of college. He had landed some money, some investment money from a big-name investor who, if I said his name, you would know exactly who he is. And, and he was telling his story. But I can tell that behind the sales pitch, there was a lot of stress and anxiety that, you know, he was trying to present that everything was awesome.


And so what I did was I just led with vulnerability myself and then I knew how to overcome self-doubt. I started to tell him my story. I told him about the man in writing the lion. I told him about my own fears and insecurities. I told them about some of my challenges as an entrepreneur. The times that I thought I had just completely blew or blown it and that I had screwed up that it wasn’t going to work. And he literally, he started to tear up and he said, this is the first real conversation I’ve had with anyone about how hard this is. Holy bananas and my goodness, Stephen, it’s just in that moment, I realized that I had offered him a lifeline that he, he was drowning.


He was drowning in imposter syndrome. He was drowning in the comparison trap because he was trying so hard to measure up to all the other entrepreneurs he saw around him who seemed to have it all together, including me, apparently. And when I opened up and told him that I wasn’t Superman, that I wasn’t impervious to struggle and insecurity, and that I had failed and had to get back up again, the weight just lifted off, and he was, he was so grateful. And so since that moment, I mean, I walked away. I think I was as transformed as he was. Because since that moment, I have tried to be very intentional about being vulnerable and being real with people because I’ve seen how much I’ll go back to the word gift.


I’ve seen what a gift it is when you let someone know that you’re not the perfect image that you may appear to be on social media or on the outside or that they may have even just built you up to be. Maybe you didn’t do it on purpose. You know, it wasn’t intentionally disruptive to people, but I realized by withholding, I was unintentionally presenting an image of me that it wasn’t real and that was hurting people in a certain way.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Vulnerability Is the Antidote to Imposter Syndrome


Okay. Great story. Thank you for sharing that. Let’s go back to it for a second because there’s a part where you are telling that story. Why do you? You started to get pretty emotional. I did. And, and so, a great litmus test writes as far as the truth and believability of a story. So thank you for that, but why was that? Or why is that story so emotional for you to tell me? First of all, great question. And I don’t know that anybody’s asked me that specifically. So I’m going to have to think out loud in real-time here. 


Okay. I got emotional after I knew how to overcome self-doubt. I think it’s still emotional because I remember the look on his face that said, Oh my goodness, this is what I’ve been looking for. I remember that he was in that trap, and he was so stressed out and so anxious. You know, it turns out he wasn’t sleeping. Well, he was just dealing with all kinds of challenges and it was hurting him. It was actually holding him back. The attempt to look like he was doing well was causing him to fail.


And by releasing him from that by saying, Hey, man, you don’t have to pretend like you have it all together. It’s okay. We survive and succeed despite the struggle and the failure. Not because we figured out how not to have any struggle or failure. Two years later, I had a conversation with him, and it was like night and day. And he told me, Kris, that was such a pivotal conversation. I have told that story. We both have told that story a thousand times because it had an impact on both of us. And, so the emotion, I think comes from the memory of how potent that was. And what a difference that made for both of us.


The reality is that you know, that young entrepreneurs that are trying to impress the big-time investor being right out of college and, and all of that, wanting to make a good impression, but also that, you know, big-time and investor has been around the block that big time an investor has felt the impostor syndrome in a big-time investor knows me well enough to know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. And so if somebody is telling you it’s all sunshine and rainbows that they’re making something up. Right? Yeah. So my guess is that having that moment with him probably improved his relationship with his investor and hopefully strengthened the business as a result.


Yeah, it did. And helping someone to see that vulnerability will enhance trust. We will build trust rather than erode it. People think if I’m vulnerable if I’m authentic, if I’m real, people will respect me less and be like me less. They’re going to trust me less. And that is absolutely not true. They’re gonna trust you more. They’re gonna trust you. They’re gonna like you more. They’re gonna appreciate you more. They’re gonna lean in. And so that’s just one of those counter-intuitive imposter syndrome that will make you fear vulnerability. It’s the fear of being exposed for what you really are. But what I’ve discovered is the antidote to imposter syndrome is a vulnerability, right?


Because once you expose who and what you really are, there is nothing left to fear. You no longer have to worry about, Oh, they’re gonna figure me out. So you know that because you’ve just let them know that you’ve told them the truth and there’s nothing else left to expose. So, it has both the fear and the cure. And that is awesome.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Be Part of a Community Where You’re Accepted


So, this potentially helps us maybe round out a topic because we’ve sort of addressed it, I think in kind of a roundabout way, but I’m going to ask you directly to see if there’s anything else to add to it. Because then your book, you talk about, you know, how to get out of this trap, this trap of imposter syndrome, you’ve talked about things like the gift and being realistic and then being vulnerable and so forth. Is there any other key, tools and insights expertise that you can share with us about getting out of this trap?


Yeah. You know, I mentioned community earlier and how a community can work against you.I definitely don’t wanna come across since the communities are bad or the community is harmful. And what I’ve discovered is that the powerful combination of community and vulnerability is what makes the difference. And so here’s a pivotal key community. Without vulnerability will feed the Imposter community, which will cause you to have imposter syndrome, and it will make it worse. It will exacerbate it. It’ll build your fears, but a community with vulnerability will start the Impostor.


It will kill that imposter syndrome especially if you mastered the way how to overcome self-doubt. It will crush your insecurities. It will erode your fears because when you’re in a community of people who are willing to open up and trust and be honest and talk to one another openly about the struggles and the challenges, it actually builds your courage. It builds your strength, and it helps you to get over those interferences because you start to see them for what they really are, which is just, you know, mind games in your head. And, you see that most of your fears are the worry about something that has never happened in it is unlikely to happen. But when you’re in a community with no vulnerability, where everyone is in sales mode, where they’re all showing the very best version of themselves, that’s just gonna make it worse.


And so I would say a key to all of this is finding communities that you can be a part of where vulnerability is not only acceptable. It is expected. And it is the norm. Conversely, you know, you should be really careful about becoming part of communities, organizations, and groups where vulnerability is shamed, punished, and looked down upon. And sometimes you can avoid it. Sometimes there are groups you just have to be a part of because there’s valuable content. There are, there is something to learn, but if you are getting involved in an organization or a group and you see that there’s no room for vulnerability here, I would just put some really strong limits on how much you’re willing to give of yourself and how much we’re going to invest in being a part of that community.


Because it’s just going to exacerbate and feed your imposter syndrome rather than helping you in that way.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Our Time and Money Is Finite


That’s such great advice. I really love that it’s helpful on how to overcome self-doubt, too. It’s super helpful because what you gave us was the litmus test. So do you evaluate whether we step into community and give all of ourselves, or if we’re stepping into community and even have to second-guess whether we should or shouldn’t be vulnerable, then that’s a powerful litmus test, isn’t it? Yeah. 


I’ll tell you. I have learned to use vulnerability as a tool in that exact way. If I’m in a group and I’m trying to feel it out and figure out, can I trust these people what’s going on or what’s going to be the culture here? Yeah. I’ll just open up. I’ll just talk about a fear or an insecurity that I have. I’ll just immediately say guys here, something that I’m struggling with. What do you think of this? And the response I get tells me really quickly, whether I want to lean into this organization or start planning my exit, whether I want to be reserved and careful, or whether I want to really invest in this group of people. Because again, if the response is, Oh, yes, I’ve struggled with that too.


I’ve seen it. Oh, here’s my version of that. Let me encourage you with a story about that. If they jump right in and open it up as well. I know with the right kinds of people that I want to be a way that I want to be with, but if they don’t, if I see people start to recoil or, you know, make faces or are they, they shut down to start to close up, okay. Vulnerability is not going to work here. So, that tells me what I need to know about this community. Yeah.


Thank you. But no, like that really quickly. Yeah. So I use it as a test. Just like you said, a litmus test and I don’t wait for it to happen. I create it. I jump right in and start with vulnerability and see what happens. It saves me a lot of time in the long run.


Like one of your keynotes was, were where you were on stage or you were talking about a time and money and the balance of that. Okay. Well, we have a finite amount of both unless you’re Uber-wealthy. Okay. You can make the argument that money is not an issue but, most business owners, at least certainly in our Onward Nation audience, have a finite amount of time and money. Right. And so we can’t afford to invest both time and money into communities that are going to make us feel yucky. I mean, yeah. It doesn’t make any sense at all.


All right. Especially if that feeling of imposter syndrome is going to start to negatively impact other areas of our life. It’s not just that we won’t get our investment out of that community. It’s actually going to breed the fear, the worry, and the insecurity that keeps us from taking the next risk we need to take or making a decision with confidence, or stepping into an opportunity when we’re uncertain about what the outcome’s going to be. And so, yeah, it’s not just that it’s a waste of that investment in that community. It actually holds us back in other areas. It creates a culture and a character of fear in us that will negatively impact us throughout the rest of our lives in all of those other areas. So it’s a dangerous thing. So allow that to affect you that way.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: The Baseball Analogy


So let’s maybe segue into the next topic, although I don’t think it’s a segway. We’re just, I think you’re doing such an awesome job on needing all of this together, which is just becoming this wonderful tapestry, which I love you. So when I was preparing for our conversation and I saw you talk about killing your fear of failure, I’m like, Ooh, that’s, that sounds profound. That sounds interesting. And, and maybe we have talked about some of those things that are leading up into that. But if I say, Kris, how could our audience of rock and Austin business owners, typically agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants doing, let’s say a million dollars to $5 million a year in sales.


So they’re obviously doing a lot, right? How would they do that if they wanted to kill the fear of failure?


Yeah, so it takes a mindset shift that has a very simple, but simple is not the same as easy as pie, right? So I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s very simple. And the shift is that failure is not the opposite of success or failure is part of success. It’s an important step in the process. Now there are dozens of examples in my book. There are some that I’m sure you’ve heard of, like, you know, Thomas Edison famously said, I didn’t fail. You know, if that 10,000 times I figured out 999 ways to not make a light bulb, right? He had that viewpoint, but you know, another example is Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth was known as the Salton of SWAT because he held the home run record, the RBI record.


He held all of these great major Baseball records, four years, even years after his death. Many of them still stand today. There’s one record though, that not as many people talk about I know about, and that is he’s the King of strikeouts. That was his other nickname. His major league record of 1,330 strikeouts was the major league record for 30 years until it was beaten by Mickey Mantle. So Babe Ruth and then Mickey Mantle had the highest number of strikeouts in major league baseball. And, they failed because they took big risks, but those big risks, those big swings, were what led to their successes.


And so they had to see those strikeouts as one more step towards the next home run. ’cause if they feared the strikeout, they wouldn’t swing at those if the balls at those risky balls and they wouldn’t have had any of the other records. So if you fear failure, I want to make sure that I have no failure on my track record, I want to make sure they don’t do anything that I’m not sure I’m going to succeed at. And let me tell you, Stephen, I struggled with that for much of my life. I had an attitude, I didn’t want to do anything unless I was absolutely sure I could succeed at it and be great because I didn’t want to tarnish my reputation with a failure. And I had to learn that you live in that way. If you think in that way, you’re gonna avoid all kinds of opportunities.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Don’t Allow the Fear of Failure


You’re gonna avoid all of the risks that lead to success now that you know how to overcome self-doubt. And, and you’re going to put a really hard artificial boundaries and limits on yourself in what’s possible. So seeing failure as learning, I’ve come to a place where when I attempt something, I decide ahead of time, I’m either gonna succeed or I’m gonna learn. Those were my two options. And we learn more from failure than we do from success most of the time. And so every time I fail, I always try to soak up every bit of learning that I can from that situation and walk away saying I didn’t fail. I learned it was an education and how sometimes it’s an expensive education and I’ve had some expensive educations in my entrepreneurial career, but it’s only really failure if you don’t learn anything.


Yeah. Failure is only truly failure if you learn nothing because that’s the only time you walk away with nothing. So changing that mindset, that failure is part of success. And that failure is my best way to learn will help you to not fear failure still doesn’t mean that you love it. It doesn’t mean you, you know, very few people fail and then say, wow, that was awesome. Where can I get some more, you know, that failure is still painful and difficult, but it will help you to not fear failure so much that you recoil and back away from any opportunity where the outcome is uncertain and that you let that fear of failure.


Trying to keep that off your track record will hold you back from all the amazing opportunities and great learning that there is to do.


I love the Baseball story in this entire lesson. I love how you brought up Babe Ruth’s assault, and a SWOT. That’s really cool. And then illustrated that buy, you know, the one to the next big, Bronx bombers, Mickey mantle. Yeah. You know, surpassed that even further. Some of our listeners may recall. I love the fact that you brought up Baseball and because Derek Jeter a five-time world series champion batting average, over 300 and his career, he also owns 1,862 strikeouts a is. And he is now 11th all the time, because there are only 10 people. You mentioned Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle.


There are only 10 people that stuck out more than Derek Jeter. And he’s arguably gonna be a first-round hall of Famer first ballot hall of Famer. Right. Because, you know, he didn’t go to the plate using your quote here. You know, when you said they didn’t want to tarnish my reputation with a failure. He didn’t go to the plate with that mindset.


It was kind of a swing. Yes. Yeah. If you go to the plate with that mindset, you’re gonna get a lot of Wachs or are going to strike out for not swinging, right? No, I mean, you’re going to be paralyzed from that fear, trying to make the right decision. And you know, you can’t allow that fear of failure.


Oh, that would be a really interesting statistic. And I want, I’m sure there is a stat on this. How many times did Derek Jeter go down or a strike out swinging versus looking? And I bet there’s a huge. It is like the number of times going out swinging was waiting for more than looking,


I guess. And you know, as much as Baseball is covered up in statistics, I’m sure somebody somewhere has analyzed that to death about different players and how many go down swinging versus go down and looking. But that is a fascinating one. That would be interesting to see what the correlation is between that stat and ultimate success through other things like on-base percentage home runs and RBIs.


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How to Overcome Self-Doubt: Last Bit of Advice from Kris


It was so great, and it was only a super helpful episode and conversation with you. But we got to talk about some Baseball, too. We got to work Baseball into it. Yes, I love Baseball. So I’m here for you, man. I’m going to help you however I can.


Thank you for that. So I knew that our time was coming to a close, this has been extremely helpful, but before we go, I shouldn’t say bud. And before we go, I know we covered a lot, but in any, ah, there I did. I just sent it again, any additional insights, ah, advice or recommendations, maybe things that we missed that you’d like to share? And then please do tell Onward Nation of business owners the best way to connect with you at Kris. Yeah.


Yeah. Well, I’ll give you one more little nugget for people who are struggling with imposter syndrome. One of the symptoms, one of the primary symptoms of imposter syndrome is the inability to accept a compliment at face value, right? Someone will say, Hey, you did a great job on that. And you, well, you know, it wasn’t that big of a deal, or the bar was really low, or you deflect it with some sarcastic comment. And, I just wanna encourage you and, your listeners to think about the fact that when you do that, you are actually insulting the person that gave you the compliment. 


Oh wow. You’re, you’re telling them that their opinion is invalid, that they know that they have poor judgment, that they, you know, you’re, you’re discrediting this gift that they gave you and, and it will feed your imposter syndrome as well because Your, what your mind is doing is deflecting that, that their outward perception of you doesn’t line up with reality and you know, the reality on the inside and, and that’s that disconnect that you feel.


And so what I want to encourage you to do is when someone pays you a compliment, number one, except for the gift that it is just, thank you so much. And I will often say, thank you. I worked really hard on that. And it’s great to know that work as appreciated and recognized. I’ll affirm to myself that whatever they’re complimenting me on that took effort. And I put that effort in and I earned it. So, except that compliment, both for the giver. So you don’t insult them as well as for yourself, ache it, receive it, internalize it, and don’t feel guilty about relishing a great compliment that someone pays you. It’s a gift that they gave you, open it up and use it in it.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech


How to Overcome Self-Doubt: How To Connect with Kris


Enjoy it. That is so awesome. And, in full of vulnerability and transparency to you, I do that all the time. Like, what you just said, smack me right. Between the eyes, because I’m like, Oh my gosh, like I’m insulting people when they give me Holy bananas, Kris. So thank you for the accountability there. Great lesson. You are welcome. You are low in cost. Okay. So the best way for Onward Nation business owners to think, to connect with you. Yeah. It’s easy to find me if you can remember that my name’s starts with a K it’s Kris Kelso with a K at And you can also visit


And that’s the name of the book. There’s plenty of information there about the book, about my keynote talks and other programs and some things that I’m doing. So I’m also active on a lot of social media channels. And again, as long as you remember Kris with a K and it’s not hard to find me, okay, Onward Nation, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and relisten to Chris’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do the key is to take this battle plan against the imposter syndrome, take it and apply it, put it into yourself and your business immediately and accelerate your results.


And Kris, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. I am super grateful that Nicole Mahoney or a mutual friend said, Hey, you guys ought to connect. And because this will be a great conversation for Onward. Thank you for being so generous in coming onto the show, being our mentor and guide to help us move our businesses onward to that next level thank you so much, Kris. Stephen, you’re so welcome. And I really enjoyed it. This was a great time. 


This episode is complete. So head over to for show notes and more food to fuel your ambition. Continue to find your recipe for success here at Onward Nation.


Learn how to overcome self-doubt by attending Kris’s keynote speech

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