How have I not yet released a newsletter on imposter syndrome?

Well today's the day. I'm going to break down:

  1. What imposter syndrome is
  2. What leads to it
  3. What you can do about it

Part of what inspired this topic was my recent masterclass where I talked about the 3 things that hold women back from a seat at the table. They are: skill gap, mindset block, and perception problem.

When I shared reflection questions that may indicate your mindset is holding you back, I was stunned by the response.

Women sharing that every single one of these questions applied to them!

Women bringing up imposter syndrome even though I wasn't really getting into this topic in the masterclass.

The truth is this: most of the women I've worked with have experienced imposter syndrome, or are experiencing it right now.

And you know what else? Of all of the most successful entrepreneurs, executives, and badass individuals I've met (men and women) almost all of them have told me the same!

So if you're struggling with imposter syndrome, you're in great company!

Let's take a moment to unpack what this is:

What IS imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is self-doubt of intellect, skills, or accomplishments experienced by high-achieving individuals. Meaning, you feel all of this doubt, even though the evidence suggests otherwise.

Some of the things you may tell yourself are:

  • I just got lucky to get here. I'm sure my luck will run out.
  • Everyone else knows what they're doing except me.
  • People are going to find out I don't belong in this position.
  • It's just a matter of time before they see I'm a fraud.

Any of these sound familiar?

Like I said, if you answered yes, you're not alone. 70% of people will experience it in their lives, and a recent study showed that 75% of female executives experience imposter syndrome.

Where does it come from?

It's worth noting that women do tend to experience imposter syndrome more often than men, which may be a result of our upbringing or the messages we've received growing up that suggest we don't belong in positions of power.

If you grew up in a household that put a lot of emphasis on achievement, this may be another factor in feeling imposter syndrome.

Now, there's not a lot you can do about the way you grew up, but acknowledging some of the factors that may have contributed to your imposter syndrome can help bring awareness. When you take a step back from the feelings and try to understand where they came from, they can lose some power.

Because even if you feel imposter syndrome today, it doesn't have to hold you back!

So what can you do about it?

Here are a few things you can do: reframe, challenge, and get support.

The first is all about reframing your feelings towards imposter syndrome. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Easier said than done right?

Let me offer you a perspective – when have you experienced imposter syndrome?

Was it at a dead end job you knew you could do in your sleep, or after a big promotion?

Was it while you were doing boring work you'd done a million times, or after landing that new role?

You may be noticing a theme…

We tend to feel imposter syndrome when we:

  • Have been promoted
  • Are advancing faster than our peers
  • Have grown a lot in a short period of time
  • Are working with super smart people who we can't believe we get to be in the room with

The truth is – imposter syndrome is actually a sign you're KILLING IT! If you weren't growing or stretching yourself, you wouldn't feel it. Period.

In fact, the definition of imposter syndrome that I provided above specifies ‘high achievers'. So… think about that for a minute.

Instead of letting imposter syndrome hold you back, consider accepting some of those uncomfortable feelings that sneak in. And then saying, ‘Actually brain, imposter syndrome just means I'm successful AF'.

Another practice I love, is keeping a ‘brag sheet'. This is a list of all of your accomplishments and the great things you've achieved. In fact, I often suggest to my clients that they keep a running list and update it monthly.

How does this relate to imposter syndrome? Well, this is where you challenge your thoughts and feelings.

When you start to feel those nasty feelings creep in, you can pull up your brag sheet and remind yourself what a badass you are! Read off the list and acknowledge that this was ALL YOU.

The last strategy is getting support. Find some peers or a mentor you can open up to about how you're feeling. Having a safe space to share how you feel can do wonders.

In fact, you may learn that some of your super-successful friends or colleagues have been feeling the SAME WAY!

Imagine that?

Surrounding yourself with the right people who will lift you up instead of mirroring those fears is one of the smartest things you'll ever do. And that may mean not sharing everything with everyone. Be aware of how certain people lift you up or bring you down.

So to recap, the 3 strategies for dealing with imposter syndrome are:

  • Reframing for feelings and thoughts
  • Challenging them
  • Reaching out for support

You've got this.

Until next time friends… ✌️💜

Katy