What's happening?


EmPOWERment Hub April Entry: How to Cope with Impostor Syndrome

Article linked here.

As a person who has been a long time imposter…er… person with impostor syndrome, I am always on the hunt for useful tips to normalize and neutralize my feeling that, soon enough, people will discover THE SECRET TRUTH about me, the ultimate faker/Chair of the Women+Power board. 

This particular article has useful and very practical tips for coping with impostor syndrome, but also very helpfully highlighted why women and underrepresented folks in traditional industries are more prone to impostor syndrome. According to the article, studies have shown that “there is one factor that can reliably trigger impostor syndrome, and that is belonging to an under-represented minority group.” The article goes on to discuss women in science, but this would apply to any of us folks in technical fields:

Consider the experience of women in science, working amidst overwhelming numbers of men. Without the built-in comfort of looking and sounding like the typical person in the field, these women may feel as though they do not belong, as if they must work twice as hard to prove that they deserve the job they already have. Essentially, when you feel different from your peers—whether because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other trait—you may feel like an impostor who will soon be found out.

So, it’s normal, right? But it is hard to shake!

Besides working to create diverse representation in the power industry, which is the ultimate solution, the article provides a number of tips. One that I have found recently the most professionally useful is his suggestion that, when taking on a new project, not to expect instant success. As the author puts it, “most first drafts aren’t very good; why should yours be?” Now when I am working on something in a new area that I do not have experience in, I say to myself there is absolutely no reason why I would be perfect or good at this at this juncture. I am allowed to learn, and not be proficient until I have learned. Shifting my expectations of overperformance – no matter how new the task is to me – to a learning mindset has been (a teeny tiny bit) helpful in coping with impostor syndrome.

By: Katrina Edgerton-McGhan, Women+Power Board Chair