Empowering Women and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

International Women’s Day was an opportunity for us to reflect on the qualities, contributions, and challenges of women and one such challenge is Imposter Syndrome. So let’s take a look at empowering women and overcoming imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome was first studied by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes back in 1978, when they researched high-achieving women. Essentially, Imposter Syndrome is when someone persistently believes that their success is undeserved or not attributable to their own work. It’s a feeling of being a fraud or a phony, and it can make women feel like they don’t belong in the positions they hold. What’s worse, this feeling can spread to their personal lives, affecting friendships, relationships, and ultimately their overall sense of self.

In a professional capacity, as well as across many other domains like sports and financial freedom, women have only been given opportunities for success in recent decades. This means that there is already a heightened sense of feeling out of place or inadequate. Research also shows us that Imposter syndrome can be particularly strong for women in male-dominated industries.

Did you know that Imposter Syndrome is more common in women than in men?

Imposter syndrome amongst women leads to anxiety and makes them doubt their abilities, causing them to feel like they’re not good enough. Negative self-talk is a big symptom of this syndrome, which can result in constant nervousness and the feeling that they must do more to prove themselves.

So, how do we tackle Imposter Syndrome and allow ourselves to soar?

The first tip to gaining confidence and self-acknowledgment is to take time to Identify what your strengths are and what evidence you have for your success. We tend to focus on what we struggle with or what we perceive we are not doing well and ignore all the things we are nailing. Sometimes it can be helpful to ask other people what they perceive as your strengths/successes. Map the success you have achieved!

The second tip is to change your negative self-talk. Begin by noticing the language you are using to speak about yourself. You may find it quite negative and self-deprecating. Consider how you might speak to a friend and try and change your self-talk in that direction.

Furthermore, sometimes it can be helpful for us to ask ourselves ‘What evidence do have against this belief being true?’ Our brains are often looking for things to confirm our fallacious stories or maladaptive beliefs and so finding evidence against this can be helpful.

Another thing that we can all do to support each other and minimize the impact of Imposter Syndrome is to talk about it. Any time we have conversations about mental health and the challenges that so many of us experience, we minimize its power and allow for the space to feel less alone and support each other find a positive way forward.

Remember that this work can take time and your feelings will not change overnight

It can take time for an intellectual belief to become an internalized belief, where we feel we really believe it, not just understand it. If you continue to practice reminding yourself of your achievements and strengths and believing you deserve to be where you are, you will begin to believe it.

Finally, sometimes we need a helping hand and if you’re finding it too challenging to conquer Imposter Syndrome on your own, please reach out to us! We can match you with one of our psychologists who can walk you through the journey.

For more information contact us today. Please send us an email, give us a call at (02) 9929 8515, check out our LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook or find more Psych Up! resources here.