Is Imposter Syndrome Keeping You From The Boardroom?
Have you secretly thought to yourself, “Are they going to find out I am a fraud?” If so, you are not alone. Not only do I encounter this myself, but I am constantly combatting it with the women I work with at Women in the Boardroom.
Imposter Syndrome Can Be Crippling
You are not a fraud. By definition, imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’re a fraud; in your field, in life, in your professional career, and that your achievements have been based solely on luck, not your hard work, knowledge, skills, experience, or intelligence. Many women, especially high-achieving women, don’t feel as if they deserve their success and, oftentimes, compare themselves to their peers. They also think they are the only woman to experience these feelings.
Many of the women I speak to, on a weekly basis, have a hard time articulating their achievements and this usually transmutes into some form of imposter syndrome. Keep in mind, that these women are senior-level executives at Fortune 500 companies, Ph.D.’s, have MBAs, are lawyers, doctors, and more. They are life’s overachievers and perfectionists, and they absolutely belong in the boardroom and so do you.
Imposter Syndrome Can Impact Anyone
But women typically struggle with it more than their male counterparts, and it can manifest in many different shapes and forms. For instance, women may feel that everyone around them is an expert, but they aren’t, or that someone may “find out” that they aren’t really qualified for their position. And for many women, this can stifle their professional careers because they feel less inclined to lead initiatives, speak up, take on challenging tasks, or apply for positions like a corporate board seat.
Self-criticism is not abnormal, in fact, a little can be a good thing and it’s probably what’s helped to propel you in your career, but we need to address this criticism through a clear lens to clear any falsehoods from our thinking. I want you to know that if you’ve ever experienced this feeling, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in good company.
So what can you do to push those feelings of imposter syndrome away? Talk to someone like a trusted peer, or a mentor, or even me. Much of my time spent with my amazing members is utilized by coaching them on their value-add to a board, reinforcing to them just how esteemed their lives’ achievements and experiences are for a board seat, helping them brand themselves for corporate board service, and introducing them to the right connections.
This time helps these women to separate their feelings from the facts, break their silence and shame about their imposter syndrome, highlight the positive, and help them to develop a new script about themselves, conditioning them to be more confident and focused on their goals.
Stop Chasing Perfection
Striving for perfectionism can lead to the feelings associated with imposter syndrome, but it’s important to keep in mind that as you gain more experience and grow, so does your credibility and knowledge.
Just remember that others around you may have or are currently struggling with imposter syndrome, but it is crucial to your success that you don’t let these feelings get in the way of taking your next step toward a leadership position, speaking up in your next leadership meeting, or even applying to be on a corporate board seat. Putting yourself out there, having grit, and your own unique experiences have propelled you to the position you’re in now.
Envision your ambitions and take that next step toward them. What are you waiting for?
If you’re interested in continuing the conversation, Reach out to me directly!
Sheila Ronning, Founder, Women in the Boardroom.
Reposted from 6.1.20 | © 2022, Women in the Boardroom. All rights reserved.