Unleashing Your Power: 5 Transformative Ways to Crush Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome, a persistent feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy, accompanies many women throughout their professional lives. But here’s the thing: imposter syndrome tends to strike those who have already achieved success. After all, think about when imposter syndrome tends to strike; it’s probably when you’re in a room of accomplished individuals or getting recognition for your achievements. You wouldn’t be in those situations if you hadn’t already demonstrated your talents and skills!
For women, imposter syndrome is a challenge intensified by a long history of discrimination. Women have historically been discouraged from asserting themselves, owning their successes, and striving for positions of power and leadership (thanks, misogyny!). That means that today, women are vastly underrepresented at the top, which in turn makes us more susceptible to feeling like we don’t belong there.
But trust us when we say: you do belong! Self-limiting beliefs may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential, so let’s explore five effective strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome.
1. Embrace Your Inherent Worth and Validity
Overcoming impostor syndrome requires a strong sense of self-worth. Women commonly experience feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, and a great way to overcome them is by constantly reminding yourself that you are competent and worthy and that your experiences, ideas, and stories make your contributions valuable.
When women are in predominantly male spaces, they are often made to feel as if they do not belong. When you own your successes and recognize your own worth, you can help assure that other women have the same opportunities and can be part of a more encouraging system.
2. Forge a Network of Support and Ask for Help
You can do it alone–but you don’t have to! A support network of like-minded people who can provide you with guidance and encouragement along your journey goes a long way. Reach out to women who have overcome great obstacles and ask current and former mentors for guidance. Meet new people who share some of your life experiences. Even though imposter syndrome can make you feel alone, you will soon realize that you are surrounded by a community of people who want to see you succeed.
Keep in mind that asking for support is not an act of weakness; it is evidence of your dedication to growing and inspiring yourself. As activist and writer Audre Lorde said, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Embrace the collective wisdom within your communities and trust them to push you to become a greater version of yourself. Community will help you solidify your feeling of belonging and remind you of your why.
3. Stand Tall and Reject Shame
Imposter syndrome can make you question whether you have the right to be heard, but it’s crucial to recognize that each woman’s unique voice and perspective holds value.
Stand tall and pursue the goals you have set for yourself. Be sure to give yourself some grace, because mistakes along the way are inevitable–and not a sign that you are on the wrong path. If anyone tries to make you feel ashamed, you have the power to push back. In standing by who you are and what you bring to the table, you are showing the world that you cannot be pushed out of spaces where you belong. First, you must reclaim your power and assert your right to be seen and heard. Then, own your successes and celebrate them unapologetically.
4. Communicate Effectively and Persistently
Being understood and making your voice heard is crucial–not just in politics, but in any walk of life. However, it’s not always easy to do, particularly when you might be faced with resistance or indifference. Nonetheless, persist in your efforts to communicate your ideas, values, and vision, and make it clear that you won’t be intimidated into backing down. Communication is your silver bullet for making change, your way.
Standing by the truth and what you believe in, despite feeling like an imposter, is resistance at its best. The impact you can make is significant, so do not let feeling like an imposter get in the way. Stand tall, embrace your authenticity, and let yourself be heard. The world needs your thoughts and truth. Let this be a catalyst for growth, pushing you to rise above self-doubt and make a difference.
5. Claim Your Space and Demand What You Deserve
You deserve to be here, and you have the right to make demands from the institutions you are a part of. Say it to yourself: you deserve to be here. Don’t make yourself small for anyone. Unapologetically take up space, and fight for what you believe in. Do not be complicit in any efforts to silence you, because you’re paving the way for the women who will come after you.
Imposter syndrome is real, but you can overcome it! Check out our Overcoming Imposter Syndrome worksheet to take your first steps towards realizing your leadership potential.
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