Have you recently been promoted or received accolades from your boss or colleagues, and thought, “This must be a mistake?” If that’s the first thing that comes to your mind, you might be experiencing imposter syndrome. The term impostor phenomenon was coined by Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Dr. Suzanne A. Imes in 1978. Simply put, imposter syndrome is nothing but a fear of being labeled as a “fraud” when you have worked toward an accomplishment. Thoughts bombard you like, “Who do you think you are?” “You can’t do this,” “You don’t belong here,” or “Just wait, your proposal will be a flop.” They are often associated with feelings of incompetence in one’s work.

I have gone through this experience in my past work assignments: The constant watch to see if there is one slip, and down I fall.

When doing the research for this topic, I met some wonderful women who have encountered this syndrome and have emerged as winners. From those discussions, I came up with these points which we can incorporate to be successful in overcoming imposter syndrome:

  • Be positive in everything that you do. Be proud of the work that you are doing and fill yourself with gratitude.
  • Lean into your network. If you have a confidante in the place, talk to them. Sharing what you are feeling will calm your mind and help you be able to concentrate.
  • Reach out and talk with people. Imposter syndrome is absurdly common. Hearing from others about their experiences will assure you that you are not alone in your self-doubt. 
  • Aim for small wins. Sometimes we overlook the small achievements for the big wins. Keeping track of those small wins gives you a boost of confidence.
  • Be more organized. Do your own preparations before a meeting. If there is something you don’t understand, express that and get information about it.
  • Get a mentor. Everyone needs a mentor in the workplace. Find someone who you trust and can share with who can guide you to a path of success.
  • Find allies. You should have someone to talk to who knows your work.
  • Talk about your compliments and accomplishments to boost your confidence.
  • Take a break when the pressure is high. There will be high days and low days. Take some deep breaths and go for a walk in nature. If exercise is your thing, do it. The blood pumping in your body will change your mood.

Please allow me to encourage you with this: “Don’t let the work control you; you should control the work.” You deserve every bit of your success!

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The Future of Connection for Women

Garima Chandra

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