Episode #11

Why do I feel like a fraud every time I speak English? | The Impostor Syndrome

00:38:36 minutes long
audio file size: 54.7 mb
  • 11. Why do I feel like a fraud every time I speak English? | The Impostor Syndrome 00:00

How does the Impostor Syndrome affect us when speaking English as a second language? And why do we feel that even when we do a good job in English – we, in fact, failed and we can’t seem to understand how others haven’t noticed just how bad our English is.
Thinking that our English is a lot worse than what other people perceive it to be makes us feel like impostors.

The Impostor Syndrome is a universal psychological pattern where you may doubt your accomplishments and have this fear of being discovered as a fraud. So even when people think highly of you, your mind basically tells you they’re missing out on something and that sooner or later the “real You” will be revealed and they’ll be disappointed. Do you feel that too sometimes?

About 70% of us suffer from impostor syndrome: you can find it across genders, occupations and races. However, you’d probably find it more in underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, such as immigrants, minorities, people from the lgbtq community, women, people of color, and of course – non-native speakers.

From my experience, as an accent teacher as well as an English learner, it has to do with the way we learned or learn English and how we consume it. We always compare ourselves to native speakers, and it makes us feel we’re not enough when it comes to communicating in English. And on top of that, we constantly hear this saying, “Speak like a native”, which only accentuates the gap between us and them – between how we are expected to perform, and how we really are. Even though we ALL make mistakes. Even native speakers make mistakes!

Also, since our schools usually use conventional methods, you get a strong message that there’s RIGHT and WRONG, and when you’re wrong, you’re criticized for your mistakes (and sometimes even not encouraged to persist), and then you get used to that feeling of being judged.

But you can overcome this self-doubt. Realize that you’re not alone in this and share your experience with others. If you want to find out more, this episode is a must for you. You’ll get to hear about the experience of some of my students and how the Impostor Syndrome held them back in life. And not just my students’ experiences, but mine as well. In this episode, you’ll understand how this syndrome manifests itself when communicating in English, why it happens, and how to deal with it. After listening to my episode, let me know in the comments on my website how the impostor syndrome has affected your life and what you’re going to do about it ? : hadarshemesh.com/influency-podcast/

Download 30 affirmations: theaccentsway.com/freebie-30-affirmations/

Join our In.fluency community on FB: theaccentsway.com/fluency-challenge/

Listen to the podcast where I talk about the 13 lessons I’ve learned as a teacher: hadarshemesh.com/podcast/07/

How To Get Over The Fear Of Being Judged By Native English Speakers: https://youtu.be/lEG4jn4Zfj4

Find out more about the Impostor Syndrome:
The Impostor Syndrome, by The School of Life: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqhUHyVpAwE
What is impostor syndrome and how can you combat it?, by Elizabeth Cox: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQUxL4Jm1Lo
How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome and Stop Feeling Like a Fraud, by Marie Forleo: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVfG7Q9Twqk

If you want to improve your accent and understand spoken English better, download my free American Accent audio crash course.

You can also download an interactive list of  50 of the most mispronounced words in English and master the pronunciation of those tricky words.

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15 Responses

  1. Hello Hadar

    I just listened to this awesome podcast, and here I am taking action. You just hit the point in the way you addressed the problem. I totally identified. I am a Brazilian English teacher, I study hard, I love pronunciation, I had already taken two accent courses before buying yours, Accent Makeover, which I’m doing for the second round. Even though, despite all the hard work and all the positive feedback I get from my students, whenever I feel like moving on to something bigger, doing more, going beyond………there comes the feeling you described so accurately. “No, no, no. I know I’m good, but not that much, not for promoting that course I devised and bla, bla, bla.”

    Thank you so much, from the deep of my heart, for sharing your fears and speaking up. I’ll definetely do the same. I know I have a lot of good stuff to share and it can make a difference, exactly like this podcast make to me.

    I love your channel, your course and everything you do. You are my role model. ❤️

  2. Hi, I have a couple of questions:1. I am unclear on who you are referring to is the imposter: you as an English teacher, or the students as English Language Learners? 2. You talk about “fixing” accents What constitutes a good English accent? Is the American accent superior to the British or vice versa? If you were to “correct” an English Language Learner’s accent, in what ways (if at all) does it strip away their cultural identity?

  3. I just discovered your
    podcast and it is very interesting. A different approach from other English teaching

    I live in Mexico City and
    I am a member of a Toastmasters club in which you develop communication skills
    by speaking in public, we have sessions in Spanish but recently we opened the English
    version sessions. We are improving our English communication skills.

    After listening to this
    podcast, I understood that a lot of people who come to the sessions wanting to
    improve their communication in English, it happens that some just never show up
    again and others continue appearing but with a feeling of disappointment for
    not having enough fluency in English.

    This episode is the
    brightest explanation for what I’ve seen.

    We, not native English
    speakers struggle to protect our self-esteem.

    I will share this
    podcast and encourage everyone to work on fighting the impostor syndrome.

  4. Thanks a lot for helping me to improve my speaking skill .I love your accent I don’t have continuation in my speak

  5. HiHadarThanks for your tech?I am so excited next lessons and more understandHow to speak english ?your my angel? Love

  6. Hi Hadar, Thank you again so much for the superb podcast ! I feel it is as warm, heartfelt and understanding as if you personally knew from inside everyone whom you addressed to. You are capable transferring something personal to each of those who are listening well to your voice. That is, I believe, one of the most genuine attribute of an excellent teacher like you. I have survived of course, the impostor syndrome several times – first, as a young physician. (By the way, it’s known that the best educated students or young experts are prone to develop fraud syndrome in any branch of professional world. And there get convinced they are fraud)

    1. Dear Laszlo, thank you for those kind words. Here’s to many more years of learning and teaching!

  7. Hi Hadar! You make my day sweetie! We are all the time punishing ourselves right, let’s stop doing it! Let’s trust more in our skills and be more positive! Thank you very much to help us. You are amazing! Ana – Brazil

  8. Thank you for this episode n.11. It helped me to feel strong and powerful when speaking in English. But I wonna know if there is any difference between this impostor syndrome and what is called in French “complexe d’inferiorité”

    1. The two terms have some similarities but I think there is a difference and there’s Inferiority complex in English as well. But the important thing is you are strong and powerful when speaking in English.

  9. You’re a legit teacher. I have learned a lot regarding phonetics and American English pronunciation than I learnt in school and college. I’m more confident speaking English thanks to your videos. Thank you so much,

  10. Hadar, you’re brave!!!! Apart from everything else! Love you even more for your honesty 🙂 you’re an inspiration to me and YOU KNOW how you’ve changed my life. You mentioned the cake and the video!!!!! ❤️ Can’t believe you felt that way. Thank you for sharing. It was as moving for as to prepare it all. You’ve touched our hearts and we’ll always be connected somehow. ??

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