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! You’re never not going to have these thoughts again (because they are ingrained in you), they’re just not going to control you in the future and dictate what you do. You need to really confront the automatic negative thoughts. Allow yourself to internalize your accomplishments. Tell others that you struggle with Impostor Syndrome. Be open and honest. Do things that counter the narrative that you are not good enough. Enjoy your success!
Tools Lisa recommends
Lisa uses Basecamp project management software. She can work on projects when she is able to and like having all her notes, files, and images in one place.
She uses Google Calendar to keep herself and her family organized.
Lisa also uses the Pomodoro Technique to manage her daily to-do list and prioritize tasks
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
Lisa states that some days she just has to “let it go.” Other days, she looks over everything that needs to be done and prioritizes based on what is most urgent.
What’s on the horizon for Lisa?
Lisa is most looking forward to getting out of the house again! She is also looking forward to her book release (which is available for purchase by the time you read this). Lisa is also excited about developing a companion course to go along with her new book.
Lisa’s last words for the listener
Be compassionate to yourself! Get to the “good enough” place, not the perfect place.
What do you think?
Do you have questions for Lisa or me? Please share them in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or send me an email.
More about Lisa
Dr. Lisa Orbé-Austin is a licensed psychologist and executive coach, with a focus on career advancement, leadership development and job transitions. She is a co-founder and partner of Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting, a career and executive coaching consultancy, where she works mostly with high potential managers and executives. She earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. Her views about career advancement, job transitions, leadership, and diversity & inclusion are regularly sought by the media and she has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, NBC News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Refinery29, Business Insider, and Insight Into Diversity. She has also been honored as a Top Voice on Linked in Job Search and Careers. Dr. Orbé-Austin has been an invited speaker at various national conferences. She recently gave a TEDx talk entitled “The Impostor Syndrome Paradox.”
She regularly consults with organizations in the private sector, non-profits, and educational institutions in supporting their employees and senior leadership teams to address gender bias, diversity, equity, & inclusion concerns, leadership development, effective communication, team cohesion, and managing conflict management. Her practice also consults to universities on the reorganization & evaluation of their career centers to enhance their efficacy and metrics in order to improve service delivery, data analysis, and student career outcomes.
Her book, Own Your Greatness: Overcome Impostor Syndrome, Beat Self-Doubt, and Succeed in Life (Ulysses Press, 2020) co-authored with her partner, Dr. Richard Orbé-Austin, was released in April 2020.
Connect with Lisa
- On the Dynamic Transitions website
- Listen to Lisa’s Tedx talk
- On Facebook
- On LinkedIn
- Purchase Lisa’s book
Resources and Links
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