Originally appeared on techbizgurl.com
That feeling that you are not enough. The recurring dream that in the future, someone will come and knock on your door and say, “You’re a fraud.” The fear that someone will discover that you are not who you claim to be. All of these thoughts are some version of impostor syndrome.
Impostor Syndrome is a concept “describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”
High-achieving women deal with it the most but it also affects men. I personally deal with it all the time, and it’s great for me to know that and be aware of it, so I don’t miss out or opt out of opportunities because of this feeling. I recently did a talk on this for an event focused on Women in Tech where I share six strategies for feeling more confident while feeling like an impostor.
“Sometimes you have to get out of the way of yourself so you can be yourself.” ~Amy Cuddy
I’m still learning this myself as it’s not just a one-time thing. I deal with impostor syndrome almost every day. My friends can tell you! It’s important to talk about it so that we can begin to have conversations around how to conquer it. Here are some things that help me:
It takes being more mindful but it is VERY important to be aware of the times when the negative self-talk is present. See if you can identify those instances where you may be saying to yourself, “All those women are awesome, why am I even being considered for this opportunity.”, “I don’t have enough experience for that job.”, or “This is not going to go well.” By being aware of these instances, you can start talking back and talking yourself through these situations.
Take baby steps.
I am a big fan of tiny actions because sometimes big actions are too big especially for those of us who are not used to it. In my story, by putting my name in the hat, even though I had no idea it would work, I saw that as a tiny step, a tiny risk. Other things like putting myself out there to do speaking engagements even though speaking scares the bejesus out of me, is another baby step. The key here is that every little time you put yourself out there and you stretch, you’ll get a little bit better, and a little bit more confident.
Remember your track record.
I am sure there have been difficulties and challenging situations in your past that you probably didn’t think you could get through. But you did. Think back on those and remember how you were able to figure it out, most likely through hard work and persistence. You’ve already proven yourself. You figured it out before. You can absolutely do it again. You got this.
Build your community.
Surround yourself with other women or other people who are going through similar challenges. Being able to share and know that you are not alone is one of the most powerful things you can have. It’s validation that it’s not just you. And it’s also an outlet for you to get support and resources (and hugs if need be).
Be true to yourself.
Women are natural leaders and relationship builders. Lean into that. Use the things that come to you naturally to succeed like female intuition. Use your strengths and if you don’t know what they are, take the StrengthsFinder assessment. It’s been game-changing for me so that now I can operate from a place of strength and not weakness. For example, I know that I am really good at building relationships so I create opportunities to do more one on one conversations. Just because it might be different from everyone else, doesn’t mean its wrong.
Channel your inner Wonder Woman.
Amy Cuddy wrote a book that spends a lot of time talking about this. Before you go into any challenging situation, head to a bathroom stall and stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands on your hips (superhero pose) and take a few deep breaths. This helps relax you and helps you feel more confident. Try it. It really works. That and find other Wonder Women to surround yourself with. Try it. It really works.
Those are some of the things that have worked for me and my go-to strategies when dealing with impostor syndrome and negative mindset in general. My talk really resonated with a lot of women and I truly believe that the more we share these experiences and ways to conquer negative mindsets, the more successful we can all be.