How I Kicked My Imposter Syndrome
Girls rule the world.
We possess resilience, strength, and an innate ability to overcome some of life’s hardest physical and mental challenges. We also produce life, which is the most amazing gift, above all. So, why unlike men, do many of us struggle with owning up to our greatness?
Besides physical makeup, men are no different from women. Specifically, both are completely capable of achieving the same professional accomplishments, however, men seemingly always have the upper hand. Yes, the inequality of pay, favoritism and good ol fashioned sexism plays a role in women having a hard time breaking the glass ceiling. But, there is also a major nuance that sets men apart from women. Put simply, men believe they deserve success, which shows in their actions and forces others to believe it, as well. And even if they aren’t qualified, smart enough, or deserving enough. They act as-if.
Many women suffer from imposter syndrome and fail at accepting that what they’ve worked for is not by chance, luck or coincidence, but instead, a result of hard work, dedication and tenacity. For most of my professional career, I too fell into the pits of feeling like an imposter. I lacked the confidence to sell potential employers on my worth, feared negotiating compensation, and shied away from highlighting my achievements. Unfortunately, my actions, or lack thereof, served my career in no way. Fortunately, I became aware of my harmful way of thinking and sought out ways to overcome my fear. In the spirit of extending my TRIBE wisdom to you, check out a few tips on how to kick imposter syndrome.
Examine What’s Real, Not What’s Imagined
I’m really good at creating stories in my mind to fill in the blanks in life. For example, if I apply for a job and don’t hear back, I assume it was all about me - I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or qualified enough. In reality, the position could’ve been put on hold, or the direction of the position may have changed. Basically, I don’t know what happened and it’s a waste of time to worry about or make up stories about what I think did happen.
In the workplace, we do this often. “If I speak up in a team meeting about one of my recent win’s others will hate me or become jealous.” “If I tell everyone about an idea I have, they’ll hate it.” All stories. When we can look at what’s real and ignore the lies we sometimes tell ourselves, we gain the confidence to be brave and learn to take the next right action.
Face Your Fears
Fear can be crippling. Many of us women fear that if we speak up for ourselves or acknowledge our hard work and accolades, that we’ll be perceived as pompous or too boastful. Because most fears usually stem from a lack of faith, this may be caused by us not having faith in what we bring to the table professionally. We may also fear what others will think or say about us if we were more direct and open about our worth. These fears are understandable and rooted in deep issues such as low self-esteem and insecurities, but they can be worked through. Face your fears head on. Ask yourself why you’re scared to ask apply for the job you don’t think you’re qualified for, or ask for the promotion you want. Once you get clarity around what your internal struggle is, you’ll have more awareness and hopefully more willingness to overcome it.
If your boss, employer, colleague or anyone tells you you’ve done a great job, accept it. There’s nothing more unfortunate than a woman who cannot accept a compliment. I’ve heard many friends say they’re uncomfortable with praise, or having the spotlight on them. But, guess what. The man who you work with isn’t. It’s OK to be uncomfortable during these moments, but don’t let it cripple your ability to accept the acknowledgement. A simple ‘thank you’ will always suffice, and allows you to show your appreciation while letting others know that you too see your worth.
Weigh The Pro’s And Cons
Consider how not embracing your worth is much more detrimental than doing so. You can miss out on amazing opportunities, stunt your professional growth and risk not being compensated well enough for what you deserve. There really is no upside to this. Unless you the pro is your spared pride or ego.
Be bold and be brave. Know and truly accept what you have to offer in life.