Overcome Imposter Syndrome

5 Ways Women can Overcome Imposter Syndrome at Work

Being a woman in the working world comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles to overcome. 

Yes, even in 2021 women are faced with a lot of added pressure their male counterparts are not. This is especially true for younger women working their way up in male-dominated industries such as the corporate world. For women between the ages of 22-40, this can ring true. 

C’mon ladies, admit it, there have been times where you almost feel embarrassed about your success right? Like maybe you just got lucky, so you downplay that new job, promotion, or raise. It even happens in our relationships, we can be doing really well with a partner and wonder, “why me? I know I’m a catch BUT I also love to eat pizza in my sweats, does that still make me a catch?”

Yes. Yes, it does. Remember the Drake lyric:

Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on

That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong

If it’s good enough for Drake, you know it must be true. 

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, female or male. Here are some signs you may be experiencing it, and what you can do to tap into the confident powerhouse you are. 

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological condition where people are unable to accept their own accomplishments. It is more than a passing thought. The syndrome is a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as incompetent. For women, this can be a large contributing factor to feeling a lack of confidence. 

In 1978, psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes wrote a research paper on how the syndrome is more often affiliated with women. Their study included 150 college-educated women, and their findings reported an astonishing amount who felt they were in one way or another inadequate. 

The paper cites that women who experience imposter syndrome hold a strong belief that they are not intelligent and that if someone thinks otherwise, it’s only because they fooled them into thinking so. We can all be actresses from time to time, and there’s no harm in that, but let’s not downplay our true genius ladies.

    Signs of imposter syndrome

    While it’s common to experience doubt every now and then, the qualifying feelings of imposter syndrome are stark thought and behavioral patterns. Do any of the following sound familiar?

    • Perfectionism

      if you have ever been labeled a perfectionist, set extremely high standards for yourself, or feel like unless you complete 100% of your goals without error you are not doing well, this may be a sign of imposter syndrome.

    • Expert

      have you ever stopped yourself from asking a question or applying to a job because you didn’t already know the answer or meet all the criteria? Those who hold themselves back for fear of not being qualified without even trying fall into imposter syndrome territory.

    • Lone Wolf

      if you are the type who does not like to be a part of a team or ask for help for fear of feeling like a failure or fraud, you may be experiencing imposter syndrome.

    There are other psychological difficulties associated with IS such as feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, stress, fear, low-self esteem, and even depression. Feeling IS can also keep people from taking chances and moving forward in their careers and lives.

    IS can stem from a lot of different areas of life. Perhaps the person had parents who held them to incredibly high standards of extracurricular activities and perfect grades. 

    According to the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, one factor stands out above the rest for contributing to IS – discrimination. Discrimination comes in many forms and is bred from judgment. This can be a judgment against race, gender, or any other qualifier that a person “is” or “is not” capable of something.

    overcome imposter syndrome

    How to cope with imposter syndrome

    If you are dealing with IS, the first way to overcome it is to recognize and acknowledge you are having doubts about yourself and your abilities. There are people out there with half your talent earning twice the money and their secret? Isn’t a secret at all, it’s the ability to reframe problems in less negative terms, removing the tendency towards black and white thinking.

    It’s all about mindset and reframing your thought patterns, which in turn will reframe your behaviors. Practice humility, embrace failure as a part of success and not the antonym of it, and most of all, stop striving for perfection. It’s a losing game and not a worthy one. 

    Overcoming thought patterns of imposter syndrome start with awareness. It will take a combination of therapy and a commitment to change. With a little intent, you will feel like the confident, capable, intelligent, qualified badass you are in no time. 

    You got this.

    If you struggle with anxious, self-critical, racing thoughts and consider yourself an overthinker then don’t worry..I’ve got you…Check out The Overthinking Toolkit.

    Share this post with a friend, let’s spread some easy therapy.


    Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

    Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.

    man in black leather jacket beside woman in black and white stripe shirt

    Take the quiz!

    Is Your Overthinking Sabotaging Your Success?

    Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success you know you deserve.


    woman leaning on door looking outside

    Take this quick quiz to find out whether your overthinking habit is holding you back from getting the success (you know) you deserve.