Imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head in many ways…maybe you feel you didn’t speak up enough in a meeting, or maybe you spent an hour on a task that you think should have only taken you 20 minutes. Unfortunately, the possibilities for self-doubt can feel a bit endless.
Very few people are strangers to these kinds of anxious feelings around performance at work, particularly women. To recognise what causes Imposter Syndrome, it’s important to acknowledge certain power dynamics within businesses that affect women.
Historically, workspaces have been (still are) predominantly dominated by men – what does this mean? That this is a system that is fundamentally wired to recognise male attributes and celebrate them, whereas characteristics typically associated with women tend to be dismissed or go unrecognised.
Now, that is not to say those male characteristics shouldn’t be recognised or celebrated, but it is important to remember that as women, we are still fighting to be in this space and to be treated equally. I think because of this, it is sometimes difficult to trust in yourself and your judgments and ultimately find your confidence.
So, what can we do about it?
It’s a bit of a cliché (and I promise not to reel off inspirational quotes like a 99p self-help book from Amazon), but ultimately, to fix the dilemma of low self-worth, we must first practice self-love. Forms of self-love come in many shapes and sizes, running a bath for yourself, a skincare routine, or even my favourite – buying presents for yourself (you DO deserve it). As great as these are, they, unfortunately, don’t help to change my mindset if I start feeling work anxiety looming.
When dealing with imposter syndrome, we need to recognise what we like in ourselves, what sets us apart, what makes us special, and ultimately what it is that means we will succeed. If you can’t recognise your strengths and talents yourself, then you can’t utilise them. There are so many things that women have inherently that make them amazing leaders, providers, and caregivers.
Society has long told women what they can’t do; it is about time we started thinking about what we can do. And continue to do in the workplace and more. Women are incredible, and you are incredible; it is time to start believing it.
Today I am asking you to think about the things you have achieved, how far you have come, and what you have gone through and overcome. Tell it to the little voice in your head when you start to feel smaller or less capable. Tell it to yourself in the mirror if you can keep a straight face, or even if you can’t (cringe, I know). Tell your best friend on your way to work, or even write them down.
Let’s stop thinking about what we aren’t and start thinking about all the things we are.