The imposter syndrome is a feeling that is disproportionately common among women and minorities in the workplace. It is a nagging doubt that you are not good enough, do not belong or are “faking it until you make it.” It can impact your ability to do your job, negotiate a raise, take that seat at the table or go for that promotion.
Why does it happen?
This is a familiar feeling among creative types, high achievers and students. It can persist through college, graduate school and into the workplace. The signs are there because women generally are their own harshest judge while men typically judge themselves better or find excuses in the actions of others.
Build yourself up
The solution for combating these feelings or roadblocks is for workers to change the way they see themselves. These exercises from the New York Times are specifically designed to instill change:
- Make a list: Pick ten things that prove you are just as qualified as everyone else, and maybe even make a list of why you are more qualified for the job, raise, project or role.
- Say your name out loud: Research has found that saying your name out loud is a positive affirmation.
- Own your accomplishments: Women tend to credit success as “lucky,” “help from others on the team” or “hard work.” This may be true, but you made it all happen. Be proud of that.
- Visualize success: A performance technique borrowed for the military and athletes; this exercise prompts you to go through different potential scenarios and how to effectively address or solve them.
There are more challenges ahead, but these offer some necessary tools for addressing issues in the workplace and getting positive results. It is important to remember that failure does not make a worker a fraud – everyone loses all the time, whether it is a professional athlete, student striving for an award or a worker who did not close the big deal. The trick is not to let it define you, learn from the mistake and move forward.
This hard-won attitude will serve you well, but it may not mesh with the attitudes or agenda of a boss, coworker or business. If a women worker recognizes issues regarding unfair treatment, illegal business practices or problematic behavior by a coworker, an experienced employment law attorney can intervene on your behalf to protect your rights.