International Women's Day 2023 Embrace Equity

#EmbraceEquity In 2023 To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

What does it mean to truly embrace equity in 2023? Well, to get us all to a level playing field, it means advocating not just for yourself, but for those who sometimes get left behind. Those may be people like me, perhaps people like you? Essentially, it’s almost anyone who sometimes feels like an outsider – an imposter at work. This is key if you want to overcome imposter syndrome sustainably.

But why exactly is imposter syndrome so common? It happens even amongst some frankly fantastic professionals. I work with them in sectors from STEM and finance to the legal sector and beyond. 

In addition to ensuring everyone gets the support they most need, embracing equity is also about unpicking ‘imposter syndrome’. The sneaky part is recognising who exactly benefits from your self-doubt. Check out my take on #EmbraceEquity in 2023.

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Where did Imposter Syndrome come from?

Did you know Imposter Syndrome only came into usage in the 1970s. That’s when two Psychologists noted how their female clients couldn’t take credit for their own achievements at work. These women would credit their successes, not to themselves, but to a whole host of external factors. Problem was that external factors aren’t those you can easily copy. These women named ‘luck, serendipity, good contacts, timing, ability to ‘fake confidence’. 

Maybe you’re like me, and have been to talks given by a hugely impressive woman? It can be maddening to see them credit their wins to ‘serendipity’, rather than claim all the hard work they must have put in.  

But what’s interesting is that the 1970’s was exactly when many people, those whom I call in my book The Con Job the ‘non-status quo’ were entering the professions in droves. Their numbers increased because they were finally getting access to higher education through better civil rights for all of us. However, when they arrived they were now competing with people who didn’t welcome them at best or were downright hostile at worst.

Who gets blamed: Why it’s not her fault. 

And that leads us to the second part of embracing equity – realising exactly who your imposter syndrome serves. 

Rather than address the dubious ‘welcome’ the non-status quo were getting, it was far easier for the head honchos to reassure themselves it’s all equal here and if you show ‘merit’ you’ll succeed! Something we still hear today. 

Making ‘Imposter Syndrome’ the fault of the under-represented means the status quo doesn’t have to look at how they are operating in systems made by them, for them. They can just expect everyone else to adapt. Not exactly a recipe for equity.  

But we all feel like imposters in places where we aren’t welcome. Places where we stand out and where no adjustments are made for any differences from the status quo – what we value, what we need, what we want – ultimately who we are.  Who wouldn’t feel like an imposter in these situations? 

The truth is we can only embrace equity by looking at imposter syndrome as part of a much bigger systemic issue. Cracking that is what will pay dividends for all of us.

If you’d like to explore all the practical ways in an online event that we can #EmbraceEquity in 2023 and beyond, get in touch.

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