Impostor Syndrome: 4 Habits of Highly Confident Women

Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

It’s incredible still how many women I speak to, who feel like absolute failures despite their astronomical accomplishments. We do it to ourselves, we do it to each other, we get in our heads, and it has to stop. It serves no one.

Sipping on warm milk and honey last night, I remembered this article and I just had to share it with you. Public speaking is something I  still f.e.a.r.  with a vengeance. As I have matured and grown into my role as the co-founder of ETTWomen, speaking in front of a group of women is a bi-weekly occurrence. So, instead of fear, I’ve channeled joy and excitement for the women who come and what they’ll experience from our meetings. My fear is left were it belongs, out the door!

Still, finding that confidence hasn’t come without a lot of self-love. Impostor syndrome is real and I believe that when women give themselves a way out of the self-deprecation, the discomfort of self-promoting—they not only are more effective in their roles—they dramatically improve their confidence and performance. They also unconsciously help set up other women up for success. When you can see yourself in someone else, it can motivate us to strive to uncover our true potentials.

Do you sometimes struggle with  your self-confidence?

Confident Women power pose in the ladies’ bathroom. They’ve got that positive visualization thing down. But they also keep in mind these subtle strategies when they really need to shine:

1. They Actually Don’t Keep Calm and Carry On.

When people are already experiencing pre-performance jitters, it’s much easier to shift into a state of excitement than calm. Think about it: It’s easier to trick ourselves into thinking we’re psyched about something that scares us because the physiological symptoms are so similar: sweaty palms, thumping heart, the release of the stress hormone cortisol. 

2. They Understand the Power of a Pair of Dirty Socks.

Well, sort of. Serena Williams has said she’ll wear the same exact pair of socks when competing in tournaments. Beyoncé has an hours-long pre-stage ritual that involves prayer, stretching and listening to her favorite music. And motivational speaker Tony Robbins says 10 minutes of high-energy movement and repetition of incantations helps him take the stage with the confidence he’s known for.

Some of the greatest artists, athletes, novelists and thinkers of our time have relied upon their own quirky pre-performance rituals to help them get in the zone—and produce their best work.

3. They Don’t Feel Sorry About Saying ‘I’m Sorry’.

Chronically over-apologizing can be a dead giveaway that our confidence is flagging. Apologizing for circumstances that are obviously beyond our control (“Sorry you ran into traffic”) actually demonstrates empathy and increases people’s trust in us. 

4. They Distract Themselves in This Key Way.

You know the feeling: It’s that prickle of heat up your neck, the knot in your stomach when you’re asked to talk about your successes? We all know that flush of discomfort strikes most women (social norms, unconscious bias, etc.). But there’s a way to outsmart the anxiety that keeps us from bragging. Before you’ll need to brag, get your heart rate up by running up the stairs or playing a pumping song. You’ll be able to blame your racing heart and jangled nerves on those activities instead of what you need to say and you’ll perform at the top of your game.

We are all destined for greatness. What will you do today to shine?

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