A girl’s guide to dealing with imposter syndrome

Dealing with imposter syndrome | Cocktails and Ambition

Imposter syndrome is a topic we always hear about and have most likely experienced as women.

It is defined as “a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Imposter Syndrome, unfortunately, tends to affect women a lot more than men. I see this in grad school all the time where the intelligent women around me continuously question their ideas and place in the program (and the men never seem to feel the same).

Women are more prone to imposter syndrome because we’ve been socialized not to take up space, not be too much or too loud and certainly not to be outside of the home. So when we find ourselves in the areas we’ve worked so hard to be at, we question if we belong there, if people will see that maybe we don’t know 100% of what we are doing. Even when we have proof that we are on the right track, we attribute it to luck and not hard work or skill.

So how to deal with it? These are some of the tips that I frequently use to work through my imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome Tips

Tip # 1: stop thinking everyone is smarter than you are

Imposter syndrome is so prevalent that even someone as smart as Michelle Obama has dealt with imposter syndrome! It is mind-blowing when you put in context what she has accomplished outside of being the first lady. however, she recently said something that has stuck with me. in a recent interview she stated “I have probably been at every powerful table you can think of, I have worked at not profits, I have neem at foundations, I have worked in corporations and served on corporate boards, I have been at G summits, I have sat in at the U.N: They are not that smart”

Honestly, part of imposter syndrome is thinking that everyone else is more intelligent than we are, that everyone else knows something that we are only pretending to know. And one day they’ll find out that we are fakers. This is really not the case. Everyone is struggling to figure things out just as much as we are, and we are human, so of course, we can’t know everything, but we need to trust that we know what we know (does that make sense?)

Tips # 2: Make a list of all the things that you have accomplished (big and small)

 I found in my personal experience that it helps to write down a list of accomplishments. Sometimes when I feel like I’m not doing enough or I’m not doing anything well enough or that I am not smart enough. I list the things I have accomplished because it is proof that even if I am not smartest in any room, I have the competence and drive to achieve the things I have put my mind to (as evidenced by my previous achievements) and that often brings a level of comfort.

Tip #3: Stop Being Afraid of Failure

A significant aspect of imposter syndrome feels as if we make a mistake, then people will find out that we are not “that smart.” So we try to make everything perfect, and sometimes this paralyzes us from acting at all. A way to deal with imposter syndrome is recognizing that failure is a part of life and we are always evolving and learning. Sometimes it is essential for growth and is just a part of human nature. No one is perfect all the time, and failure is inevitable.

What has been your biggest challenge when dealing with imposter syndrome?