Works for Women is excited to share our next challenge with you, as we continue to spark dialogue, build awareness, and inspire action to make Alberta a better place for women to lead. We are reminded that change does not happen overnight, but by uniting our community we can take direct action to impact change!
For this challenge, we want you to break down the barriers when it comes to your own Impostor Syndrome. High achievers may have it, never believing they’ve done enough. Perfectionists, who never think their work is good enough. The list of “impostors” goes on and on. Impostor Syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts her or his own accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
Our Next Challenge
Have you ever attributed your success to timing or luck? Thought, “If I can do it, anybody can”? Have you ever agonized over the smallest flaws in your work? Did you answer yes to one or more of these questions? You are not alone! 70% of people at some point in their lives experience Impostor Syndrome and there are actually several different types of people with Impostor Syndrome. Expert on the subject, Dr. Valerie Young has categorized it into subgroups: the Perfectionist, the Superwoman/man, the Natural Genius, the Rugged Individualist, and the Expert. Here is how she defines them:
How can you overcome Impostor Syndrome? We turn to Ashely Stahl, and her article: Feel Like A Fraud? Here’s How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome to give us some more perspective on how to build out our confidence and overcome Imposter Syndrome.
Start by acknowledging it.
Recognize and call out these disruptive thoughts and feelings when they emerge. Once you know what it feels like and can recognize the “impostor” within you, you’ll have an easier time overcoming it. Make a mental note or better yet, write your thoughts down as they occur. It can be anything from “I’m not good enough to give this presentation” or “I don’t deserve this project” or “I got lucky with this award”. Not. True. While having a bit of humility about your work is OK, experiencing paralyzing fear over it is not.
Change your mental programming.
Reframe your thoughts and realize that what you’re feeling isn’t founded on anything real. Feelings of inadequacy and fear are all in your head, so imagine how you’d feel if you could turn these thoughts into something positive. Instead of thinking something like “I don’t know anything” why not try reframing it to “I don’t know everything...yet. I’m still learning”? See how it feels when you don’t put the pressure on yourself to know it all. After all, no one is perfect.
Realize you aren’t perfect.
In fact, no one is. Perfectionism and Impostor Syndrome tend to go hand-in-hand, so cut yourself some slack. Try finishing a project before you “think” it’s ready for completion. Start that business plan, and ask for help if you need it. It’s more than OK to do so. (Don’t let your ego overthink it!) You may never bring that great idea to fruition if you wait for it to be “perfect” in your mind. And wouldn’t that be a shame?
Take note of your achievements.
While you may not be perfect, you certainly are great at many things. Make a list of your strengths, and take note of everything you’re good at. Then, make a list of your weaknesses or areas you’d like to improve on, and focus on developing those areas. Personal development is healthy. Just don’t forget to also take note of your achievements.
Remember, you aren’t alone.
You aren’t the only one who struggles with feelings of inadequacy. Find someone you can talk to, whether it be a coach, friend, or colleague. You don’t need to tackle this alone. (You probably think you do since that’s another trait of Impostor Syndrome, but luckily you don’t.) There’s a whole community of people out there who are also struggling to feel good enough. Offer to be “that person” that your colleague can turn to for validation. Connect with each other when you notice a misrepresentation of experience or accomplishment. Encourage your colleagues and friends to accept opportunities and challenges for which they are qualified.
For this challenge, we want you to break down the barriers when it comes to your own Impostor Syndrome.
To join the challenge:
With effort and mental reprogramming, you can learn to overcome your self-doubt and celebrate your accomplishments. It’s no easy task, but imagine how liberated you’ll feel once your feelings of anxiety and fears of “getting found out” subside. We can have open conversations about our challenges. With increasing awareness of how common these experiences are, perhaps we can feel freer to be frank about our feelings and build confidence in some simple truths: you have talent, you are capable, and you belong.
Here are some additional tips, because we know Impostor Syndrome is not easy to overcome:
We can’t say this enough: Believe you can do it, believe you deserve it, and believe you will get it. No really, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Consider a new mantra: “I deserve my success. I am qualified for this. I belong in this role.” Here are some additional resources to help you in your journey.
Our next challenge will once again focus on mental health as we wrap up the year. Lastly, save the date - we will be hosting our first event, the Works for Women Human Library on February 7, 2019 (3:30-5:30). If you are located in Edmonton, mark your calendar. More details to follow later this year.