When pursuing your passion, you may have feelings of hesitation. You may also feel that you don’t belong in that path, or that you’re not worthy of your passion. This is what is known as imposter syndrome. According to Harvard Business Review, the imposter syndrome is loosely defined as “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.” Imposter syndrome affects significantly more women than men. Surprisingly, it often affects high-achieving people. This is because they tend to have a hard time accepting that they can and deserve to receive their achievements. It can affect people of any age.
Imposter syndrome moves beyond being nervous or anxious (“Will I fit in here?”) to something more serious (“Am I even qualified to be on this team? Do I deserve this award?”). If it goes unrecognized, imposter syndrome can seriously impact a woman’s ability to be successful and reach her goals. As a nongirly girl, you may at some point in your life face imposter syndrome; therefore, it is crucial to know how to deal with it when pursuing your passion.
Recognize the Feeling Is Temporary
Many women face imposter syndrome when they first pursue their passion. This can happen when joining a new sports team in high school, starting college, or starting a new job. Realize that once you become more comfortable in your setting and new routine, you will likely lose some of the feelings of imposter syndrome. For example, if you make the Varsity team in your school, you will become more confident in your abilities after spending time practicing and playing in games.
Find a Role Model
If you research “famous women who have dealt with imposter syndrome” you will find a long list of successful women: Sheryl Sandberg, Lupita Nyong’o, Amy Schumer, Mindy Kalig, Tracee Ellis Ross, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and countless more. You can turn to our own blog, “Stories of a Girl” to read about other successful nontraditional women and their journeys. Research what steps these women took toward overcoming imposter syndrome. Who did they turn to for support? What kind of conversations did they have? How did they work to uplift themselves and change their mindsets? Find someone you resonate with (maybe someone whose work aligns with your passion) and try to emulate their actions when you are doubting your path to success.
Consume Inspiring/Motivational Media
If you are in a place where you are doubting yourself and your abilities, it may be tempting to turn to social media to get your mind off things. However, study after study shows that most social media apps, particularly Instagram, are extremely detrimental to women’s mental health. Social media makes you compare yourself to other seemingly “successful” people, potentially causing you to doubt yourself even further. Instead, turn to positive and uplifting forms of media, such as the podcast The Imposter Syndrome Files, to find inspiration and guidance on how to navigate this. You can find books, audiobooks, podcasts, and online articles about how to overcome imposter syndrome. Turn to our blog of uplifting articles to read helpful advice for nontraditional girls.
Remember Your “Why”
When imposter syndrome threatens to impact your ability to move forward, pause and remember why you are pursuing this passion in the first place. Why do you want to do this? What inspired you to have this passion in the first place? Write some ideas down about how you could overcome barriers that may prevent you from moving forward. It is always helpful to have another person–a family member, a close friend–to talk to. Connect with another nongirly friend who understands your unique or nontraditional passions. Loved ones will be able to help keep you on track, remind you of why you chose your passion, and help you see a brighter future.
Our wide variety of femininst gifts for girls may also help pick you up and keep you feeling positive about your goals. While it may seem overwhelming at first, taking the right actions and relying on your support group will help you overcome the negative feelings of imposter syndrome, and keep you on the path to pursuing your passion!