Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s a psychological phenomenon which makes those who experience it feel like frauds, incompetents, and as if they are not enough no matter how accomplished and experienced they are. Imposter syndrome may be more prevalent in women than in men. In the United Kingdom, for instance, men were found to be 18% less likely to suffer from the syndrome.
For a very long time, women were constantly told to “know their place” and for decades have had no choice but to stay “in their place.” Perhaps for this reason, many careers and roles are only just beginning to see their “ firsts” in terms of women’s representation. People tend to feel more self-assured when they walk into a room and see others who look like them. But in many cases, the chances of a woman walking into a significant amount of organizations and finding representation, especially in leadership positions, is quite slim. This lack of representation could explain why women, more than men, may feel like imposters the moment they walk through the door.
Dear woman, here are seven affirmations you can use as constant reminders that you are not an imposter and that you are enough.
I am human, and I am not alone
If you are experiencing imposter syndrome, you are not alone. In the United States, it is estimated that 70% of the population has experienced this phenomenon at one point in time or another. Take a moment to remind yourself that you are human, and that the person sitting right next to you might just be experiencing the same thing.
I was selected because I am part of the journey towards achieving success
You were brought in to contribute to organizational success. People invest millions in time and money to set up their businesses. Then they seek out qualified talent to help the company succeed. The people who gave you the job or project are looking for the competitiveness and success of their organization. They probably held meetings and spent hours deliberating on the right person for that mission. If they chose you, then they saw something in you that they envisioned could help them achieve their goals.
I do not question my competence, because I do not doubt the competence of those who chose me
Every time you walk into a room thinking, “they’ll soon find out I’m not good enough, I’m a waste of salary,” you are also saying, “these people are either all asleep or slow, because they are yet to find out I’m not good enough and that I’m just taking their money for nothing.”
I am here because I demonstrated that I am qualified to be here
You passed the screening and the interview. This means you beat out all of the competition. If you were able to find the right answers to get the job in the first place, then you are very capable of figuring out how to get the job done.
I am unique and special, and there is no one like me
One of the most beautiful things about being a part of the billions of people in the world is that no two of us are ever entirely alike. Sometimes we can even tell identical twins apart from their different personalities. So please know that you bring a unique spin, approach, and skills set to every situation. We are all special in that way.
My position, my career choices, and natural gifts are just as valuable as anyone else’s
We are all a part of one big picture, and we are all important: the astronaut, the physician, the farmer, the street sweeper, and the hydrologist, to name a few. Take away one piece, and the world loses balance. What you do matters, how you do it matters also, and the fact that it keeps our world in balance makes you more than enough.
I act confident, I believe I am confident, and I am excited about my abilities
This is where the saying, “fake it till you make it” comes into play. Most times, imposter syndrome is triggered by the fear of failure, and possibly the shame that comes with it. This fear can be quite debilitating, but there’s hope because the mind is unable to differentiate between fear and excitement. The next time those nerves kick in, tell yourself over and over again that it’s because you’re really excited and confident in yourself, and what you have to offer. You might just turn those fear induced presentation jitters into excitement and joy.
I do what I know, seek to be better at what I require and accept there are things others know better
No one knows or can do all things. Otherwise, your doctor would also be a florist, ballerina, chef, grocer, dentist and bus driver. Accept that there are things you are good at, and if there are things you need to improve on, take a course or get on the good old internet to learn from others. Finally, after you’ve given your best, make peace with the things you don’t know, celebrate, congratulate and give gratitude for those who excel at those things, and ask them for support when you need it.