Have you ever been in a meeting, or at an event, where you felt like you didn’t belong? Like you weren’t good enough to be there? Or maybe that nobody would care what you had to say so you just kind of blended into the background and kept quiet? Dealing with any of these, feeling like you were a fraud or an impostor, and downplaying all of your achievements is classic Impostor Syndrome. This effects more women than men, and the hardest part is realizing that you’re suffering from it in the first place.
If you have Impostor Syndrome, just think of how many missed opportunities and possible “defining moments” may have slipped by because of it. These could be anything small and seemingly insignificant to larger opportunities you might have sat out because you were worried that you wouldn’t be good enough, or worse that you would be considered a fraud!
I, like so many women, struggled with (and continue to struggle) with Impostor Syndrome. This past year I had a lot of public speaking opportunities and experiences, all leading up to a dream of mine and becoming a TEDx Speaker at a local TEDxWomen event. A dream that I thought was so far fetched that I didn’t even think to turn it into an actual goal. And I almost completely missed it, all because of Impostor Syndrome. So how did I do it? How did I manage to push through my Impostor Syndrome and make it happen? And better yet, how can you overcome this obstacle and still be able to achieve your goals?
Recognize the Signs of Impostor Syndrome
I know it sounds easy, but when you’re struggling with self-doubt you don’t always see it for what it is: Impostor Syndrome. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of having Impostor Syndrome:
- Feeling like your ideas aren’t worth sharing, and better kept to yourself.
- You tend to hide in the background and not speak up in meetings or social situations.
- You feel like a fraud, that at any moment someone is going to recognize it and call you out and say you don’t belong.
- You doubt and downplay your accomplishments
- When you are successful, you say “Oh it’s just luck” and not acknowledge that it’s your hard work.
Adjust Your Mindset
This sounds easier than it actually is. But once you realize you’re downplaying your own achievements, it becomes a bit easier to stop yourself. Basically, living with Impostor Syndrome is constantly devaluing yourself and not knowing your own worth. So here are just a few examples of how you can adjust your mindset:
Instead of saying “I’m not smart enough to be here”, replace it with “I deserve to be here, even if just to learn.” Another example is when you start thinking “Nobody cares what I have to say” immediately change it to “What I have to say is important.”
Make it a habit. You have to actively remind yourself that you are capable and worthy, and that no matter how “small” or “insignificant” you think an achievement is, it’s still an achievement. Say this to yourself, on repeat:
“I am worthy.”
You got this! Even when you’re ready to give up, just keep pushing through! You’ll get there eventually, whatever your goals are or you want to achieve. But you have to be consistent, don’t give up, and keep hustling until you accomplish your goals. Then, create new goals and push through those!
This isn’t a “Fake it till you make it” deal. It’s more than that, because you aren’t faking anything! You are smart, you are worth everything, and you belong. There are enough obstacles facing women hindering their growth. The last thing we need is hindering ourselves and standing in our own ways. So believe in yourself before anyone else, and always fight for your worth. Don’t let impostor syndrome steal any of your defining moments because you thought you weren’t good enough. Because you are.