A Guide For Women: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

You may be familiar with the term Imposter Syndrome, but what does it mean? 

It is a term that was coined to describe the feeling people get when they are convinced they don’t know what they are doing or they’re not qualified for their position. It is an expression of self-doubt. 

It’s securing a promotion you’ve been chasing and then feeling like you’re over your head because how did this happen? Or you don’t feel good enough in your position because you couldn’t possibly fill the previous position holder’s shoes. 

That is Imposter Syndrome. 

The concept was developed by Pauline Clance (https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2018/09/imposter-syndrome). Clance was overcome by constant worry while in graduate school. She didn’t think her exam performance was good enough. 

She focused on what she hadn’t learned rather than what she had. And she stopped talking about it to her friends when it was clear they were exhausted by the conversation. Even though she secured good grades, these concerns persisted. She was constantly worried that she couldn’t measure up against everybody else.

She didn’t know it then, but she would later coin the term Imposter Syndrome and develop the concept. 

You may feel out of your depth when a conversation goes over your head in a meeting. You quickly convince yourself you’re in the wrong position at the bad company and will get fired as soon as they figure it out. It undermines your confidence, and it’s something that can impact even the most successful women. You can get over it. 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome 
  • Focus on Fact 

It doesn’t matter how misaligned you feel in your position; you are there for a reason. If you focus on the facts, you can build your confidence. You have data, you have statistics, and you have the objectivity to help you do your job. If you can bring that to your role, you have no reason to let imposter syndrome creep in. The same is true with any role – you studied it and have been given the role, so why can’t you believe in yourself the same way the person who hired you did? You deserve a place at the table if you rely on facts. 

  • A Supportive Mentor

You can’t find confidence without a cheerleader. It’s hard work to be your cheerleader. So a mentor who can motivate and challenge you is essential to overcoming imposter syndrome. Your mentor should know when to boost you and when to push you. Whoever you choose as your mentor should be someone who truly believes in you; that can be everything. 

  • Chase Your Purpose 

One of the biggest realisations you can have is that you aren’t an imposter when you’re forging your path. Whether you are in an industry with few women or doing things differently, you’re in your position because of who you are and deserve it. 

Whatever the situation, generations of women before ours, didn’t have the opportunity to be in these positions. If you don’t take the chances you have, you won’t make it easier for future generations of women. 

And you won’t be fulfilling your purpose. Pursuing your ambition shows young girls and women joining the workforce how important it is to silence the doubts and keep pushing. 

Women have made great strides in the last few decades, but the fight isn’t over. And you can progress the cause by empowering yourself to overcome Imposter Syndrome. You’ve earned your position – now, believe it.