Even life’s most empowered moments can be undermined by the toxic voice of self-doubt. If you’ve ever stood at the cusp of a great achievement or grand endeavor only to catch yourself casting furtive, unsure glances over your shoulder as if you’ve made it this far by chance and it’s only a matter of time before you’re exposed, you’re not alone. Women of all calibers of success struggle with feeling like frauds every now and then. Even the woman who runs her own company can find herself wrestling with that annoying voice accusing her of being an imposter. The caustic whispers that try to reduce a woman’s achievements to mere flukes love preying on any and everyone willing to lend an ear.
The root of this unfortunate, yet widespread phenomenon has been researched by both men and women, and while the large scope of causes is multi-faceted and dense, there is one overarching theme that surfaces when it comes to explaining this imposter syndrome: confidence.
In Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s book, “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance,” confidence is defined by one expert as “the purity of action produced by a mind free of doubt.” The authors cite, on more than one occasion, research illustrating that the undermining of one’s confidence was not only highly prevalent in women, but downright rampant.
As vinas, it is difficult to authentically support and encourage fellow women in all the ways that we should when we can’t find that source of confidence in ourselves. To combat the prevalent, yet totally vanquishable imposter syndrome we need to remind ourselves of a few things.
1. We are enough. Even without the decorations, degrees, and fancy titles, we are enough as we are.
2. It is an unfortunate, yet common tendency to compare our own achievements to that of our male counterparts and end up feeling insufficient. We have the power to take command of our own narrative. We can author our own story, and script an anecdote of success, failure, or self-pity. Choose to be kind to yourself. Choose to see all the ways in which you have achieved and overcome, then write your narrative from that beautiful, bountiful space.
3. Take a pen to paper and brag about yourself for a moment. Something powerful happens when thoughts are put into writing. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself and get #LadyBragging. Remind yourself of all the magical things that make you uniquely you.
4. Get to the heart of the matter. If you feel imposter syndrome setting in, ask yourself why. Ask yourself what about the task at hand is causing you to feel like an imposter. Maybe you’ve just taken a new management position and you’re feeling like a complete fraud who managed to land the job by some kind of trickery. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Underqualified? Get to the root of the issue and then reframe it from there: I recognize that this new opportunity comes with more responsibility and foreign territory, but I was hired because people believe in my skill-set and qualifications. I am excited to embark on this new challenge.
5. Nothing beats talking to your closest vinas 👯. When you hear that malicious voice getting louder, threatening to expose you, find comfort and strength in your fellow vinas. Let them tell you all the ways in which you rock and then carry on, emboldened and empowered.
Do you have any other advice for fellow vinas suffering from imposter syndrome?
(Featured image via kinarino.jp)