2 Unexpected Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome

In our recent “Empowering Women in STEM” event, panelists Noelle Silver, Talia Fayaz and Erika Tapia shared their methods for overcoming imposter syndrome. Learn about a few key elements that can help anyone going through this very common experience of feeling like a fraud. 

Access the full Empowering Women in STEM event.

How Common is Imposter Syndrome?

Over the last few years, specifically on LinkedIn, you may have noticed a rise in conversations around imposter syndrome. With dozens of articles and posts on the topic and even a class on overcoming imposter syndrome, it’s clear that this is not a fleeting trend but a phenomenon that requires our attention. In fact, around 70% of people have experienced these feelings at some point.

Surprisingly, this number can include executives, high-ranking members of an organization and even your manager. While both men and women can experience imposter syndrome, studies have found it exceptionally high among ethnic minority groups. 

Think about how being underrepresented can cause these feelings. Suppose a particular group of people isn’t usually present in a certain space (i.e., women of color in tech or women in C-suite positions). In that case, you don’t feel like you have someone you can go to when things get difficult or someone you can relate to outside of inherent stereotypes or bias. 

Underrepresentation alone can enhance feelings of imposter syndrome, but there are two things you can do to break the cycle.

1. Build a Community of Support

Whether you have a mentor cheering you on or a network of colleagues and friends helping you get by, building a community is essential to helping you overcome imposter syndrome. 

With the right people around you, you’ll be able to view yourself and your success in a more objective light. On the other hand, if you’re falling short of your potential, having people around you who can lift you up instead of reinforcing those shortcomings can be a game-changer. The need for community is especially true for newcomers and young employees who don’t have much experience. 

Another part of overcoming imposter syndrome is breaking the cycle for those who come after you. Make it a point to be a role model for someone who may not have someone to guide them and help them navigate their new environment or role.

2. Create Space for Yourself

“I’m in a group of all-male engineers, and I try to create space for myself by speaking up in meetings.”Talia Fayaz, event panelist.

You don’t have to experience imposter syndrome to reap the benefits of creating space for yourself at work (or anywhere else, for that matter). If you feel like your success is a result of luck instead of hard work and talent, take time to reflect on how you can set boundaries and make your voice heard. Why? Because that can lead to you discovering what you value, where your strengths lie, and just how far from an imposter you are. 

Noelle Silver, one of our panelists, said it best, “In every position I got, I got better at not just creating a space mentally for myself but also creating boundaries. So what I would say is that you start creating space for yourself by making personal boundaries, but also making space for yourself in the world by telling your story—because the world really needs it.” 

What’s Next?

Now that you have some tips to beat imposter syndrome, we invite you to watch our free Empowering Women in STEM event. Join our panelists as they touch on this topic, how to use social media as a networking tool, career outlooks and opportunities within the data science field, emerging data science and analytics trends, and more!

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