Imposter Syndrome and How to Combat It

Small Business Magazine Canada

Over the years, as I’ve changed companies and grown my businesses, I’ve learned a few tricks to combat imposter syndrome. As a female entrepreneur, let me share three tips for combating imposter syndrome.

1. Seek out a supportive environment

As more women reach C-suite level positions in the business world, more attention is being paid to how to support women in their career and professional journey. There are many companies that have made a conscious effort to hire for diversity and promote inclusion. These are the same companies where it’s easier to be heard, easing imposter syndrome.

For your next role, seek out a company that promotes a positive culture, where employees are encouraged to ask questions, explore ideas, and learn. Look for companies who celebrate and acknowledge individual success as part of their mandate. This can help propel your career and confidence. Websites like Glassdoor are a great place to start researching company culture, but also check out lists and awards that the company has won. You can also connect with someone at the company to learn firsthand how they are working to curb imposter syndrome at their organization.

2. Find peers, mentors, and mentees

Whenever you feel unqualified or underqualified for a role, it’s helpful to discuss it with a trusted advisor. Find peers or mentors who are in a similar industry or who have been in your positions before, and take time to learn from them about how they grew their career, honed their talents, and ultimately succeeded.

It’s also important to remember that you also have experiences and expertise to share with others. Find someone who is looking for a mentor in your industry and spend time talking to and coaching them. There’s no greater reminder that you have knowledge and skills than to share it with someone else.

3. Constantly strive to learn

Learn something new. Whether it’s a skill needed for your current career, your future job, or just something you’re interested in, set aside time in your week to hone your expertise. That way, next time you feel like you don’t know an answer, you can focus on what you do know.

Learning doesn’t even have to be something formal.. You can adopt an always-learning mentality in your everyday life. If there’s a position at your company that you want to know more about or a new product launching that you’re intrigued by, step up and ask if you can be involved in the project.. Have a conversation with the experts, or job shadow a profession. Learning doesn’t have to be structured to be successful — there are people in your everyday life you can learn from.

Imposter syndrome won’t go away overnight, and there’s no single tip or trick that works for everyone. It’s a lifelong practice of believing in yourself and your abilities and finding ways to remind yourself of that every day. So next time you’re about to step into a room full of experts or present something to an audience, and you’re doubting your abilities, remember — you are not alone. We all have imposter syndrome sometimes; the key is to actively combat it in your everyday life.

Dorothy Spence, Founder, Imaginal Ventures

Dorothy Spence is an engineer, serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and the founder of Imaginal Ventures and The Purpose Led Business School. Dorothy’s 20-year experience as a skilled business and leadership advisor has helped countless companies catalyze profitability and asset growth. Her work with scaling purpose-led businesses through building supporting structures and systems has gained notoriety in the entrepreneurial community, including being named the Canadian coach for SheEO and receiving the Top CEO Award, Innovation Award, and the Professional Engineers Service Award.

Dorothy was one of four women (out of a class of 80) in her graduating class from Dalhousie University’s engineering school, and was a pioneer in building technology-focused companies, including a nationally deployed healthcare platform. Throughout her career, she has focused on creating environments where non-traditional entrepreneurs can thrive and become successful business leaders.

Imaginal Ventures is the culmination of her decades of experience, fusing her background in technology with her passion for entrepreneurship and leadership.

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