Imposter syndrome is a real thing, especially for women.

Even when we earn a role (be it at work, at home, in the community – I’m talking manager, mother, organization board member..) we feel like we don’t actually live up to the vision of the role, or we aren’t good enough for it. No matter our education, experience, or accomplishments, we still are filled with doubt about our own abilities and competence! Now, there are many posts about how we can overcome this syndrome ourselves, but in the spirit of the collective, this one is about overcoming it for others.

Everyone needs at least one friend to be their own personal “imposter assassin”… and everyone needs to be that for their friends!

My Personal Imposter Assassin

I recently spent the weekend with a good friend who is consistently my imposter assassin.  She will send me jobs, “this is perfect for you! Apply!”, or pitch me to other companies she is talking to, “This role isn’t right for me, but you should connect with my friend! She is much more experienced in…”

And every time I tell her, “but they want experience at a startup” or “someone who has gone through an IPO? I don’t know how to do that..” She says, “That’s only desired, and you did (insert all my other fabulously applicable accomplishments here)… so you can CERTAINLY do that!”

I know she’s right, and the only thing that has ever really gone wrong for me in a job is me being bored. I know I am very capable.  I know I am smart, and incredibly driven.  I know I am always a top performer. So why am I so worried that if I make some wrong turn someone will find out I’m not? Especially, if I really am?

Sometimes it takes our community believing it to make it real. And for us to really understand that our community believes it, they have to vocalize, repetitively.  Key word is repetitively.

She’s not my only friend who is an imposter assassin… When I became PTO president and embarrassedly prefaced it every time with, “…even though I haven’t really ever been to a PTO meeting” or “…even though I have no idea what I’m doing,” many of my friends were like, “ummm of course you are PTO president! You would be amazing at that!” I was like, “Really?”

You’re, like… really pretty. (Thank you) …So you agree?

As the famous Mean Girls quote suggests, we have been conditioned to protest to compliments, and some of us are trying to change that knee-jerk reaction to be more like Cady’s. Say thank you! And then believe it!

Because on the flip side, from our pop culture and personal pasts, we also know (as negative as this may be.. let’s take the positive pathway here): if everyone thinks so… it must be true. If everyone thinks someone is pretty, she must be. If everyone thinks she is smart, she is! So start reminding your sisters and colleagues and friends what they are.

They are smart!

They are capable!

Do they even remember the time they pulled off the impossible?

Did they forget they used to do the job of multiple people with one hand tied behind their back (or maybe making school lunches or pumping or something!)?  How quickly forget what we “used” to be, and still are! And as we find our way in new roles, we need to remind each other, “You’re like, a really great mom!” And, “You’re like, really amazing for ____ (making this incredible meal, keeping up on your exercise routine so steadily, choosing the perfect gifts every time, getting the job, or getting out of the job as the case may be).

Our negative self-talk needs to be overpowered by colleagues and friends who remind us that we are smart, we are capable, and on Wednesdays we wear pink! So let’s all be that friend. Imposter assassins forever!

Previous articleJANUARY – Ventura County Family Events
Next articleI Am Powerful
Gia is a native Californian who has lived all over the state from San Diego to Trinity County, plus Washington DC for a short time. She recently relocated to Ventura County with her family to build a compound property together with her sister’s family so that they could always share wardrobes and parenting responsibilities for their 5 combined children at home. Gia graduated from UCSB with a degree in Linguistics (which she thinks entitles her to make up words). It took her just three years, as she was eager to graduate early to go live with her long distance boyfriend and his toddler daughter at the time. That seemed to work out, as the boyfriend got promoted to husband years ago and her step-daughter promoted her to grandmother recently! Gia’s husband is from East Africa and runs their Bed and Breakfast in Tanzania from near and far. Gia is a Human Resources Director who has a major obsession with watermelon and eggnog lattes, depending on the season.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here