Superstar Women & The Imposter Syndrome

Waiting Woman

By guest columnist Marisa R. Santoro

Are you an Imposter ?

Have you ever thought...?:

• The last major accomplishment you slam dunked in the office was good old-fashioned luck. You're not the hot shot others assume. So the sooner you get busy keeping up appearances, the better!

• There’s no chance in hell that you're repeating that last big win again. 

• You're a clever little one that has scraped by with skills that (whew!) fortunately fit the bill when duty called. 

• Damn! Am I really worth the salary they’re paying me ? I’d better start cleaning up my act so I can continue this charade.

I’m afraid there’s a name for this bizarre babble that seeps into women’s minds (yes, research shows these feelings are more likely to surface with successful women). Psychologists have pinned it down to being: 'The Imposter Syndrome. If you’re coined the woman superstar at work then you’ve most likely been stung by self-doubt at least once.

Despite the well-deserved success that highly successful women realize in their professional careers, this common condition rears its head many-a-time, spawning a persistent 'story' in their minds that the cat’s out of the bag and it’s only a matter of time before their lucky streak has run out.

Now that we've cleared the air, here are some great tactics to shoo away the counterfeit thoughts that plague fabulous you.

• Women overachievers often fall into the trap of working too hard. Over-analyzing, wearing the workaholic shoes, refusing to trust others with the details is a ticket to self-destruction. Recognize that you're pushing yourself too hard and begin to let go with quiet confidence. Relax, you know what you're doing and can repeat those successes again.

• Forget why they chose you as the best person for the job. No waiting for permission. Take your respectful seat at the table. You've earned it, it's yours. There's always someone in the room that wants to see you succeed. Have fun and run with it.

• You're no longer a one 'man' army. No one said you must have all of the answers in your hip pocket. Find someone who does and begin with 'I need your advice.' instead of 'Can you help me with ?' The former engages others to being your best customers. Exhale, the proverbial bar you've held yourself to, has officially been dropped.

• Women tend to internalize things more than men. It's just how we're programmed. Don't succumb to the 'It's not you, it's me' shtick. Forget perfect. It's only a matter of when not if you will make mistakes on a project. Accept criticism for what it is and let it roll.

• Start collecting women! You may be thrown into a boys club at work, but that doesn't mean you're breaking bread with them once you're out the door. Find your female village of women leaders and mentors in external organizations. Their positive vibe is empowering and very addictive.

About the writer

Marisa Santoro is a single working mother, IT executive and professional speaker in corporate America. Her geeky childhood love for computer programming led her to a successful career at a Wall Street brokerage. She has a natural instinct for ‘picking up’ brilliant women who juggle it ALL.

She writes her own blog In Our Shoes

image: © mrhayata

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