How to fight impostor syndrome as a woman in the workplace
August 01, 2016 at 2:00 am
Picture this: You’re at your desk. Your manager stops by asking to speak with you. You tense up. You get to their office and your manager informs you that you’re being awarded with Performer of the Year, and a dinner will be held in your honor. You hesitantly accept and express gratitude, but continue wondering if it’s all some joke. You’re out to lunch and get an email from HR saying that they need to schedule an immediate appointment with you. You tense up. They’re just finishing the paperwork for your raise because your salary will increase significantly per your promotion. You thought you were getting the axe. You are more than competent, yet somehow you struggle to internalize your greatness at work.
If you identify with any of these scenarios, you aren’t alone. Impostor syndrome is a widespread issue for many women in the workplace — but you can beat it. Here are a few tips for getting over the hump.
If your job has a Women’s ERG, join it
Employee Resource Groups can be incredibly helpful for finding like-minded individuals and receiving valuable feedback. If your job has an ERG specifically for women, you should join it! This will provide opportunities to network outside of your department and to see that you’re on par with the other women in your company. It should also be a safe space to discuss issues such as impostor syndrome and how other women have dealt with and overcome it.
Keep a list of achievements from before this job
Sometimes, the impostor energy isn’t even coming from you. It’s energy being imposed upon you by your surroundings. You’ve gotta look back and see how everything that you’ve done leading up to this point in your life has prepared you for accomplishing greater things and having high level accolades bestowed upon you. Did you get your Bachelor’s in 3 years, graduate Summa Cum Laude and then finish your master’s while working your first job in your industry (in which you were promoted three times in four years)? Write that stuff down. You’ve always been a boss, you’ve always achieved great things, now is not the time to doubt yourself.
Get your Wonder Woman pose on every day
Lots of articles have come out around how posing like Wonder Woman for a few minutes can actually help you improve your career. This is certainly about improved performance, but it’s also very much about attitude. The Wonder Woman pose is about shifting the trajectory of your perceived worth upward. It’s about seeing yourself as you are (great) and accepting everything wonderful that comes with the territory you’re in. You are not an impostor. Your abilities are real. Your achievements are authentic. You deserve nice things.
Keep your endorphins poppin’
Laugh while eating chocolate and doing jumping jacks. Okay, you really don’t need to do all of that at the same time, but there are natural ways to make sure that your endorphin levels stay up. Endorphins are a mood booster, and the more positive you feel, the more you can combat this feeling that you don’t belong. When you’re moving to greater things in your job, sometimes that can feel stressful and you might question how and why you got there. But just remember, you worked hard, but you didn’t promote yourself. Someone else saw how hard you were working, they took note and they advocated on your behalf. Other people think you’re worth it. You should, too.
How do you combat impostor syndrome? Let us know in the comments below!