People share a common nature, but are trained in gender roles.
-Lillie Devereaux Blake
The stymying effects of Imposter Syndrome on our careers and business successes is not a new topic. What is new is looking at how our societal and cultural environment impacts women’s mindsets. How we women think of ourselves, our talents and our skills based on the cultural stereotypes instilled in our minds as to who we are or are not.
Let’s take a deep dive into a few different ways I’ve noticed Imposter Syndrome manifesting in my life and design career. I’ve found a unique set of techniques to combat this enigma that can sometimes creep in and debilitate us.
#1 Combating Imposter Syndrome Through Self-Observation:
Even if only internally, we women may feel pressure to conform to traditional expectations of femininity, which can lead to self-doubt and a heightened sense of not belonging. This can happen so quickly that we aren’t even aware of it. Take note of any recurring situations that hinder YOUR confidence and exacerbate your creepster IMPOSTER THOUGHTS.
The traditional feminine stereotype of grace and poise is one that has felt just out of reach from my grasp. My brother is a year and four days older than me, I was the sister who could physically keep up with him. We climbed trees, caught crawdads, played tackle football on the asphalt in our cul de sac. I once hid entertwined in the axle of our family truck during a game of hide and go seek covered head to toe in grease for the win.
Grace, poise and modesty were not high on my list until about third grade when I realized that beating all the boys at tetherball wasn’t getting me invited to any girl’s birthday parties. Despite my attempt at taking every dance class opportunity in an attempt to refine my grace and poise and eventually ending up in El Cajon Valley’s prized Dance Company, growing up I saw myself as strong and capable. But never poised and definitely not graceful.
Now when walking in heels, or presenting in front of a crowd that sneaky grease monkey little girl starts creeping into my thoughts. I have to give myself grace and more than anything take note of what is going on inside of me.
-Become an expert on YOU and what makes those butterflies begin to churn in your belly.
-Watch diligently for those greasy childhood memories clouding up our realities.
Not all traditional feminine expected qualities are bad, but they may have unconscious triggers within you that lead to you feeling inadequate. Did your grandpa correct your posture regularly or tell you to sit “more Lady Like?” or maybe patience was emphasized in your family of origin. Or humility? Being aware is the first technique that will help you overcome the Imposter Syndrome brewing within.
#2 Use Self-Affirmation to Fight Off Negative Thoughts:
Positive Self-Talk is a crucial step in changing your mindset around your insecurities. Replacing self-doubting thoughts with positive affirmations can have long lasting effects on your psyche.
-Regularly remind yourself of your strengths and achievements.
– Challenge your negative beliefs and reframe them in a more empowering way.
-Practice positive self-talk and self-affirmation. Counter negative thoughts with evidence of your accomplishments and capabilities.
-Keep a journal of your achievements, skills, and compliments from others can help in these moments.
#3 Build a Support System of Encouragers
Building and maintaining a strong support network is vital. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who believe in your abilities.
– Seek out mentors and role models who can offer guidance and inspiration.
– Build a support network of peers, and friends who can provide encouragement and constructive feedback.
– Share your imposter syndrome feelings with trusted individuals. Often, they’ve experienced similar doubts and can offer valuable insights.
#4 Visualize Success to Build Confidence
Stand tall, maintain good posture, and make eye contact when interacting with others. Use open and expansive gestures to convey confidence. Speak clearly and assertively, avoiding qualifiers like “I’m not sure, but…” or “I think, maybe…” My biggest is the qualifier just. “I just tried.”
Practice public speaking or pitching your ideas to boost your confidence in verbal communication. Practice Speaking Up for yourself Assertively.
– Use visualization techniques to imagine yourself succeeding in challenging situations.
– Mentally rehearse how you would handle difficult conversations or presentations with confidence.
#5 Prepare What You Can & Then Brave The Uncomfortable
Step out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Each small success will build your confidence.
– Don’t be afraid of failure; it’s a stepping stone to growth and learning.
– Invest in continuous learning and skill development. The more confident you feel in your abilities, the less imposter syndrome will affect you.
– Break your goals into smaller, achievable steps, and celebrate each milestone. This can boost your confidence over time.
Remember that imposter syndrome is a common experience, and it doesn’t reflect your true abilities. By implementing these strategies and practicing self-compassion, you can overcome its root effects and thrive as an entrepreneur.