Psychologist, executive coach, and author Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin has focused her career on helping women (and men) overcome Impostor Syndrome and make meaningfully productive lives.
Impostor syndrome and a life that matters
Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin is a licensed psychologist, an executive coach, and an author. Lisa and her husband Richard have a joint psychology practice that focuses on career advancement, leadership development, and job transitions. They live in New York City with their two children.
A typical day
Lisa's days are pretty varied and can change drastically from one day to the next. Her husband spends three days a week at their psychology practice while she is there two days a week. The couple also home schools their two children, ages 10 and 8. Each day is unique and requires a strong focus on organization to keep things running smoothly. The family uses a shared Google calendar with color-coded responsibilities for both home and office. Seeing all the responsibilities on the calendar each day helps the family stay organized.
They also regularly discuses changes in their schedules and routines. Lisa's goal is for everyone to remain in sync with each other. Currently, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Lisa and her husband are running their psychology practice from home using HIPAA-compliant software and phone calls. They're grateful to be able to serve their clients from home, but it has been challenging to work from home at times. The whole family is working on being adaptable and managing their expectations.
Lisa's morning routine
Each day is a bit different but exercise is a big part of Lisa's morning, as is meditation. Lisa's primary goal is to remain organized and on schedule throughout the morning but also flexible because each day can vary so much.
Lisa and her family enjoy sleeping in since they don't need to get up early to get the children off to school. Once everyone is up and going, Lisa reviews the schedule for the day with the children, which they enjoy.
Biggest productivity challenges
Lisa's biggest challenge is staying on top of her do-to list, which she uses to help manage her many tasks. She uses Apple's Reminders app and also utilizes the Pomodoro Technique, using a timer to break down tasks into timed intervals. Lisa also sets intentions for each day but understands that she may not get everything done on her list. Coping with that reality is a work in progress and she tries to forgive herself. She finds that the more she has on her list, the more overwhelmed and unproductive she becomes. Lisa will take whatever tasks she has left over that day and move them to the next day's list.
Women who are high-achieving and highly productive often struggle with perfectionism. Being "good enough" is still something to be proud of.
What is Impostor Syndrome and why did you decide to focus on it?
After encountering so many women in her practice who were experiencing Impostor Syndrome, Lisa decided to make it a focus of her practice, as well as write a book about it. Lisa explains that Impostor Syndrome is beyond feeling incompetent. It's feeling like whatever success you have is just an accident and soon you will be found out. You may attribute your success to luck or a relationship. You never internalize your success and it plagues you and creates a habit of overworking to cover up perceived inadequacies. This is very dysfunctional and unproductive.
What would Lisa say to a woman who recognizes herself as having Impostor Syndrome?
There is a way out!