3 Tips to Faking It

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Posted June 9, 2014 by Belinda Chiu in Women's Issues

Impostor Syndrome

Ever feel a wee bit envious of that woman in your yoga class. You know, the one who can do the scorpion, eyes closed, who happens to be a mother of two under two, and is managing director at her consulting firm?

Guess what? There are undoubtedly times when even Superwoman feels like a fake. That one day, you will discover that sometimes, she has no clue what she’s doing.

All of us Career Girls have felt like a fraud at one point or another. If you have never, 1) you’re rare, or 2) you’re lying. The Imposter Syndrome is a syndrome that seems to beleaguer many of us, regardless of race or class. Men are susceptible, too. It’s the feeling of “oh my gosh, someone is going to find out that I have no idea what I’m doing.” 

Increasingly, this syndrome is no longer being hidden as something to feel shame about or that we are the only ones in the world to feel that way. Dr. Maria Klawe’s, Harvey Mudd College’s president, recently spoke about her battle with the beast.

  1. Keep perspective Remembering that we are the only ones who feel this way can help us feel less alone. Rather than walking around in fear that someone will discover that we are “not who they think we are,” we can relieve ourselves of that pressure. The fact is that most people are likely so concerned about their own feelings of inadequacy, they really don’t have time to pay attention to your perceived one. If Tina Fey and Maya Angelou can feel like fakes sometimes, we’re in pretty good company.
  2.  Build others It is exhausting trying to hide or put up a facade. Instead of wasting energy trying to avoid being “found out” (which only leads to a rather glum outlook), use your energy to build others. By supporting other’s strengths and helping them get over their feelings of inadequacy, we can build allies and our inner lives as well.
  3. Have real friends Research has shown that many of us overestimate our abilities in some areas, while underestimating in others. If we surround ourselves with naysayers, we’re going to always be told we’re not good enough. If we surround ourselves with yes-men, we’re going to always be told we’re the Best Thing Ever. Career Girls should have a few real friends who are not afraid to tell you the truth – whether good or bad – because they have your true self interest at heart. Having honest sounding boards keeps us honest about our abilities, stretches our potential, and grounds our sensibilitiesI


About the Author

Belinda Chiu

Dr. Belinda Chiu is a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator. Like you, she believes that everyone has the transformational ability to reach her potential and beyond. Dr. Chiu incorporates a practice of mindfulness to help individuals harness their natural strengths, achieve results, and carve their own paths towards professional fulfillment. For more tips, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, Why Not? on www.hummingbirdrcc.com or follow on @hummingbirdrcc.

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