Anxious Woman with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome: How to How to Beat it and Shine

imposter syndrome in women

Have you ever feared you might be exposed as a fraud at work or amongst friends? You would be surprised how many women deal with this nagging feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy in their lives. It’s this anxiety that someone is going to find out we are not good enough or qualified enough at what we are doing, even if we are performing amazingly in external, objective ways. This is where the term imposter syndrome comes from. We may feel like a fraud or a phony.

Did you know that a study found 75% of women executives experienced feelings of imposter syndrome in their careers? It even more prevalent among those who are under-represented, such as BIPOC working in predominantly White environments (Overcome Impostor phenomenon, APA). Even though they were educated, certified, and trained in their industry, they still experience these feelings of anxiety and stress which led many of them to work longer hours to “prove” themselves. Imposter syndrome may also inhibit you from completing tasks that you know you can do. Learning how to “talk” to ourselves positively is important for our mental wellbeing and will significantly impact the rest of our health.

So, how do we defeat this pesky imposter syndrome?

How can we grow our confidence?

Acknowledge it

A big part of being a success in this modern day of rapid development, is the ability to pivot and adapt to change. We are always going to be faced with new experiences and situations that we aren’t necessarily an automatic expert in. Understanding that imposter syndrome is likely to rear its head semi-frequently and understanding that you don’t have to afraid of it, is key to moving through those feelings of self-doubt. When you feel that tightening in your gut, take a moment to feel it. Step back and ask yourself why you are feeling this. What triggered it? Taking a step-by-step approach of breaking down this feeling, rather than pushing it away, can help you understand your own mind and fears a little better, and give you the opportunity to fake it until you make it.

Reach Out

call a friend instead of feeling like an imposter

Say it out loud! Enlist the power of other women in your life. Friends. Sisters. Your mother. They have likely experienced this feeling, too. Venting to trusted women can help provide validation, empathy, and decrease any loneliness that might accompany the imposter syndrome. These relationships, in which you don’t feel like a fraud, can help lift you up, empower you, and remind you how capable you are.

A career, life coach, or therapist can also help you assess your skills and feelings realistically and give you a reality check. Don’t overlook mentoring groups, women’s circles, and inclusive communities as potential safe spaces to share our doubt, mistakes, and insecurities, feeling human together.

celebrate success to battle imposter syndrome

Celebrate Success

Don’t sweep your success under the rug! Even the small successes like an email with positive feedback counts. Keep hold of those small moments of success and positivity. You could even print them out, and stick them around your desk, or workspace as a reminder. Reward yourself, even if it means just popping down your local café and ordering your favorite coffee. One time I purchased myself a “You Did it!” congratulations card and wrote myself a note to celebrate a promotion. Keeping it on my desk reminded me to be grateful for what I have achieved.

Perfection Isn’t A Realistic Goal

Sometimes, you might have to let go of that inner perfectionist. Remind her that you’ve done just amazing. You’ve put your best foot forward. It might not be as perfect as you would like, but it doesn’t mean you have failed. Give yourself grace!

The perfectionist in us contributes to those imposter feelings, and can lead to burnout down the road. Lack of confidence can cause us to overwork and over-prepare, working late evenings to make sure we impress others.

New Opportunities can Boost Confidence

While you never have to say “yes” to everything, new opportunities and challenges are an amazing way to grow your skills and learn something new. New opportunities can open doors. Wield these new challenges like a sword and let them empower you. Succeeding at something challenging will get those endorphins flowing and help combat that creeping self-doubt!

Pretend to Be Your Hero(ine)

One way to lean into and practice confidence is to portray the qualities that you admire in a mentor or even an actor or character on TV. My leadership heroes include Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Veronica Palmer from Better off Ted, and Rebecca Welton from Ted Lasso. But I have also gotten inspiration from a substitute teacher’s vibe, when I need to channel a take-no-bull attitude for a meeting I am anticipating will be difficult.

Veronica shows off her mentorship skills in Better Off Ted

Want more inspiration from powerfully divine women? Check out my post about Kick-Ass Goddesses that debunks the idea that Goddesses are all Earth Mothers or weaklings. Learn more about “What is the Divine Feminine” to channel your inner divine self.

Trust Yourself!

Remember, you are capable! While imposter syndrome is common, and you are not alone, it doesn’t have to hold you back. Trust yourself. You are brave and you can do this.

“Every day, courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less novel because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Blog Posts and Related Resources:

author avatar
Mandy Career Coach
Mandy Steinhardt, a Raleigh career and life coach, empowers women to break free from "good girl" syndrome and reclaim their power. Through one-on-one coaching and supportive women's circles, she helps them heal from past hurts, rediscover their strength and beauty, and create a life filled with purpose and balance. Whether you're feeling lost or uninspired, she's here to guide you to the career, pay and lifestyle that is perfect for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *