Photo credits: Gail Gazelle MD, https://www.gailgazelle.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/The-Imposter-Syndrome.png
At our June 2021 NEST Insight Session, Advita Patel (she/her) poignantly integrates her own experiences as a woman of colour and discusses strategies to overcome our inner critic, more commonly known as ‘imposter syndrome’.
Imposter syndrome is when a person does not believe that they deserve what they have earned, or that somehow their achievements are not real. The effects may be amplified in environments where there is little to no diverse representation or sense of belonging.
Imposter syndrome can manifest itself in different ways. These include:
Perfectionist: Must get every detail correct
Superhero: Tries to do everything without any help
Natural genius: Told all their lives that they are amazing, placed on a pedestal
Soloist: Refuses to ask for help
Expert: Must know everything about everything
There has been a lot of talk recently about whether Imposter Syndrome is real. When this session was shared in the Nest Community, members immediately saw themselves and were relieved to clearly identify what they were feeling and why. For that reason, it is important to not diminish a person’s feelings about themselves. It is okay for someone to self-identify with imposter syndrome, but not to judge or accuse others of having imposter syndrome.
A Leader Like Me is an empowered community that supports underrepresented people to build courage and confidence in their work so they can continue to thrive. Our Nest Community is a safe and supportive environment for women* of colour. It includes monthly Insight Sessions to provide information and inspiration while our monthly Group Coaching creates a needed space for members to share their challenges and opportunities, failures and success authentically with leaders like them who share their workplace experience.
Join our A Leader Like Me Community and The Nest at https://a-leader-like-me.mn.co/feed
*We welcome non-binary and transgender people of colour who can relate to and benefit from the women-of-colour experience.
Additional tools, techniques and resources
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2008/05/overcoming-imposter-syndrome
Six Steps to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/07/27/six-steps-to-overcoming-imposter-syndrome/
The confidence test: make a list of all the hats you wear in your life: (starts at 11:20, https://vimeo.com/561023201/88549d596b)
Creating a hype/happiness folder of things that bring you joy (starts at 24:28, https://vimeo.com/561023201/88549d596b)
York University Rosenberg self-esteem scale: https://www.yorku.ca/rokada/psyctest/rosenbrg.pdf
Dr. Brené Brown, Dare to Lead and The Power of Vulnerability: https://brenebrown.com/hubs/dare-to-lead/
Amy Cuddy, Presence: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/presence-bringing-your-boldest-self/9780316256582-item.html