Helen Peterson On How To Thrive Despite Experiencing Impostor Syndrome

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
6 min readOct 24, 2022

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Honesty: If a client asks for you to do something, be honest and confident that you are learning the program or platform but you are confident you can figure it out. Honesty is powerful in letting that go but still being able to build.

As a part of our series about how very accomplished leaders were able to succeed despite experiencing Imposter Syndrome, I had the pleasure of interviewing Helen Peterson.

Helen Peterson is a work-from-home mom in Bend, Oregon who has established herself in the online business industry as a Virtual Assistant & Launch Strategy Specialist. Along with helping her clients with launch strategy & successfully creating & selling their online courses, she also coaches other women in starting their own Virtual Assistant business (regardless of their current career path).

Her passion stems from guiding women into living the life they’ve always dreamt of with no financial boundaries & the flexibility to live & travel the way they want to.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I started out as a virtual assistant when I was a mom to my newborn daughter. I knew I did not want to go back to an office job, so I began to learn more about starting my own business. This is where my time as a virtual assistant began. I started to serve multiple clients and even now I have branched into launch strategy as well. I then realized that so many business owners wanted support in starting their launches, more than I could serve, so I placed my knowledge into my course and I began helping others in this way as well!

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

One of the most interesting stories is when I started out, even though sometimes I felt like an imposter, I reached out to a client with a large following that I really wanted to work with. I gave her ideas on how I could serve her and she actually hired me on and I worked with her for a long time!

I learned that even though I sometimes felt like I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be, others saw the value in my work.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I love to think that I bridge the gap between motherhood and entrepreneurship. There doesn’t have to be one or the other — but we get to have both. I have a mentee who took my Virtual Assistant Bootcamp when she was strictly a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). She started making enough of an income to pay off their family’s debt and take a vacation with no credit cards. I remember when she emailed me and told me how proud of it she was — I was so proud of her too!

These life-changing scenarios are what I believe make my company stand out. I support entrepreneurs and I also support aspiring entrepreneurs and it’s something I really enjoy doing!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My husband is so supportive of my business. He helps me when I need extra time without the kids. He’s my biggest cheerleader and brings me a glass of wine or a snack if I’m in a busy season. He has always been there telling me to try a new branch of my business or take on the new client.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

Imposter syndrome is when people ask themselves questions like, “Who am I to think I can do this?” This is when we feel like we aren’t capable of doing something that others in the industry are doing. But it could also simply mean we are learning and building as we go.

If you struggle with imposter syndrome, you may feel scared to move forward or think you aren’t good enough.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

The downsides of imposter syndrome are that people are constantly in a place of scarcity. They feel like at any moment everything that they have can disappear. People make decisions from this mental space instead of focusing on their vision and goals.

How can the experience of Impostor Syndrome impact how one treats others?

When operating in imposter syndrome, you may start to feel inferior to others instead of feeling confident in your abilities.

You may also start to put on a false front and be stuck in this thought that you won’t reach the potential you were hoping to and push off opportunity from others.

We would love to hear your story about your experience with Impostor Syndrome. Would you be able to share that with us?

In the beginning, I felt so insecure that I didn’t have years of experience. I would be afraid to reach out to larger clients, or wonder if I could complete a job. Finally, I faced this by pursuing a client with a large following and she responded with a yes! This taught me that I had no reason to feel like an imposter. We’re all learning, always. There’s no reason to feel less than because you are learning!

Did you ever shake the feeling off? If yes, what have you done to mitigate it or eliminate it?

You will always have seasons of it! You get better at shaking it off by looking at the evidence of what you have done and anchoring yourself to truth. I think in every season there is a new feeling of imposter, but the level is just raised.

Find what is true and use that to rewrite your mental script of what you actually are capable of.

In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Honesty: If a client asks for you to do something, be honest and confident that you are learning the program or platform but you are confident you can figure it out. Honesty is powerful in letting that go but still being able to build.
  2. Evidence check in: The check in is so you can anchor in the evidence of what you do know and what you are good at. This shows our brains the truth in a logical way.
  3. Challenge: Challenge yourself in a way that combats imposter. Try for something you think is out of your league!
  4. Inspire: Chat with others about this and inspire them in the journey to help it be bigger than you.
  5. Track: keep a journal to track your business. In tough times, look back on what you’ve experienced and this journal can be evidence!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

The power of one referral can transform a business. If everyone shared their friends’ business with one person, this would turn into a snowball effect that allowed more small businesses and service providers to be visible. Think and referral within your network first — reach for the small biz owner and support those who you love most! This could bring so much good to the women who are just getting started or trying to put themselves out there :)

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)

I have really looked up to Jenna Kutcher as I’ve been building my business! She’s a mom of two as well — and that makes her even more inspiring to me! I would love to have breakfast or lunch with her! ;)

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me on social media on Instagram @petersonvirtualassistant

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.