Have you ever been guilty of:
Re-reading that email a million times before sending it?
Deferring to everyone else in a meeting?
Offering to take notes or do other tasks that take you out of the limelight?
Getting to work early and staying late, so that others see how hard you’re working?
Apologizing when you are learning something new?
Denying yourself of things you feel you haven’t earned, like the wardrobe of a successful person or those workout classes you’re craving?
Discounting your accomplishments and brushing over them when speaking with others?
I could go on until all ten of your fingers are down in this not-so-fun game of Never Have I Ever, but you get my point 😉
If even one of these habits rings true for you – you, my gorgeous friend, are experiencing impostor syndrome.
What is impostor syndrome?
Impostor syndrome tells us two things: 1) We’re not ready (without specifying what ready means) and, 2) that we are bad for not being ready.
This can leave you feeling frustrated, uncertain of how to move forward, like decisions are impossible obstacles to overcome. You may be doubting your own skills, your value in the workplace, and how you can most effectively impact the world.
Or, you may be in a position you’ve only ever dreamed of in your career. And still, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’re anxiously peeking over your corner, certain that you’re just minutes away from being discovered as incapable and ill prepared for this role. You thought that getting the title and promotion you were chasing would solve your problem of feeling less-than-lit-up at work and at home — but it didn’t.
It doesn’t matter your title, how much money you make or when your latest promotion happened. When you are disconnected from your personal power, you will spend day after day building up evidence in your mind that what you’re doing is not enough or correct – and then you’ll overcorrect and burn yourself out.
Why is it a feminist issue?
Impostor syndrome convinces you to replace self-trust with self-doubt, and all of a sudden your whole train goes off the tracks. But overcoming your impostor syndrome is about more than you – it’s about building up women everywhere.
Impostor syndrome is a feminist issue because:
It most severely impacts women in professional roles
It’s dismissed rather than resolved in many companies, keeping it a silent issue that employees struggle with
It preys on the idea of humility and self deprecation that are often considered ‘desirable’ and ‘appropriate’ traits in women, but not men
It reinforces patriarchal ideas that women are struggling to live up to the ‘standard’ set by men
Most importantly – impostor syndrome is a feminist issue for women leaders because it turns the battle inward. If you fall victim to impostor syndrome, you become your own biggest obstacle to success which keeps you small, hampers your growth and makes you much less likely to rock the boat at work.
For allllll those reasons and more, combatting impostor syndrome in yourself is an act of rebellion against the patriarchy. It’s also key to unlocking more ease and success in your career, to longlasting confidence, and to building a life you feel deserving of and joyful in. When women step away from impostor syndrome and into their power – the world will start to change for the better.
How do we combat it?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update on my favorite morning practice to beat impostor syndrome.