Imposter Syndrome Doesn't Only Happen in Women

enough imposter syndrome men women Feb 29, 2024

I was asked recently to do a Keynote presentation on Imposter Syndrome for a woman’s conference. I can talk on that all day, and yet I decided to do a little research about what is being said in the market place today so I can include any new information. I learned some  things that I thought I would pass along.


First, 75% of women in the workplace experience imposter syndrome. That might not shock you, but I was astounded. I expected that number to be much higher for women. I didn’t find any credible hard data on how many men experience it. I believe that is because most of the studies are self reported data and men are less likely to self report, though they may feel the intensity of it much stronger than women. 


Second, At the root of imposter syndrome is the feeling of not being enough. Something or someone in our lives told us or indicated that we are are lacking in some area. That gets encoded into our subconscious mind and rear’s its ugly head at the worst moments. There is a lot of data to support that - just google it if you are curious to learn more.


Here are a couple of tips to help you overcome it in the moment. 

  1. Know how it shows up in you. Take some time (I suggest a week) to note when the feeling of imposter syndrome or not being enough happens. Is it when you give a speech? What about managing other team members? Presenting to a board? Maybe it is just speaking up in a meeting. No matter where you notice it, note it.
  2. Ask yourself if the feeling is true? Without judgement, ask yourself if not feeling like enough is even true. Most of the time you will realize it isn’t. Many times, that simple realization is enough to overcome the feeling in the moment.
  3. Create a mantra for yourself to recite when you feel like an imposter. It could be as simple as “I am enough” or “this feeling is not who I am”. Identify what that is for you - or if you need a little inspiration head on over to Pinterest or use ChatGPT to create a few for you.


The best part about these tips is that you can do them privately. No one has to know that you feel like an imposter and they certainly don’t have to know your secret to overcoming it if you don’t want them to. 


I want to leave you with this. If there is something that you feel like you are bad at and are worried people will find out. Practice it. The only way you can truly get good at something is to actually do it. There are no quick fixes to learning new things. You have to do the work. If you do, I promise you will eventually master it. 

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