Beating Impostor Syndrome: Tips for Mental Health Awareness Month

May 13, 2021

The post-pandemic era will require leaders to be a lot of things, and women are ready to lead with a collaborative and democratic style.

When I deliver our Leadership for Women program, I get so excited by the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from amazing women figuring out what they want to be known for. And, if I can share evidence-based strategies, coach and mentor them towards this goal I am delighted.  

And, here’s one way to fast-track yourself to the success you deserve:

Move the thing that holds you back

Stepping into your authentic leadership style means you need to grab a hold and wrestle to the ground the things that hold you back. Oh, like that Imposter Syndrome.  

While not just unique to women, it somehow is more prevalent in female leadership.  

I remember leaving so many presentations thinking “I had blown it” when everyone in the room would tell me how fantastic it was! 

It didn’t stop there: I found myself replaying the situation over and over again. I struggled with sleepless nights. And I found myself thinking that I needed to work harder to be better. 

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor syndrome (IS) refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. While this definition is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, it has links to perfectionism and the social context.”

Imposter Syndrome is very real, but you can learn to move past it, or in my case live with it. 

Now, I simply say: “Hello, my old friend….you’re back! I guess I have more internal work to do!”  

In some ways, I guess I’ve learned how to harness it to make myself a better leader, and our business successful by not overthinking things and taking action.

Action is The Best Antidote To Imposter Syndrome

Putting action ahead of thinking can change ingrained thought patterns and behaviours. 

It shifts the way our brains operate and makes them more confidence-prone.

Here are some tips:

1. Give yourself a reality check. The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to pay attention to your negative thoughts.

2: Keep track of your strengths and accomplishments. Keep a journal, notebook, or use an app like EverNote on your phone to record positive and empowering experiences to reflect on later.

3. Create a support network. Connect with other women in your life by joining peer networking groups like the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, or industry-specific groups like the Immigrant & International Women in Science Network or Bioscience Association of Manitoba.

4. Build your knowledge bank. Invest in personal and professional development, read books that challenge and inspire you to think differently, 

So, what’s holding you back from taking what you deserve?

Janice Gair is co-founder and president of EI Advantage. Join us for our Leadership for Women program starting June 1st. Register or contact us today!