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Welcome to Shahd H. Rashed's Tea Party Blog

Women Empowerment 102

Today I’d like to share with you one of the first topics that we have discussed in the WTL with DEDI. To my surprise we have starting being practical & work from the very first day right after the introduction we have opened up & started sharing our vulnerabilities. One of the most common vulnerabilities among women (I am sure this is common among women out side of the circle as well), was the “Imposter Syndrome”.

Imposter Syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite the evident success. Imposters suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feeling of success or external proof of competence. So, you are not only doubting your abilities, but also you do feel that you are a fraud. This affects high-achieving people (mostly women in cultures similar to ours here in Egypt). And as a result it is hard to accept the accomplishments & in the workplace might lead to questioning whether you deserve the promotion or salary increase or not.

I believe this highly results from the doubts we always face in our capabilities to succeed in anything we do. We can neglect the fact that we (as women) were raised in a male-dominated community that led to a differentiation in what is acceptable for a man to do & what is acceptable for a woman to do. Even if what is right & what is wrong is well-defined, and should never be imposed by the community or be different for males than females.

And that’s why we are always questioning if we are enough in the first place. And even if we are over-qualified to the task in hand we might feel that urge to get a validation because we always feel that we are a fraud that will be revealed sooner or later.

What are the main reasons of the Imposter Syndrome? Based on “The Muse” website:

  1. Being perfectionist supports the imposter syndrome through setting excessively high goals for & if failed to reach it they experience self-doubt. Moreover, being a perfectionist leads to being a control-freak doing everything themselves if they wants everything to be right. As a result, success is rarely satisfying as always they feel that they could have done better. And this usually causes burn-outs. So, you need to accept the fact that nothing will every be 100% flawless.

  2. Being a workaholic pushing yourself to work harder all of the time to cover up the insecurities they are experiencing. As a result, overworking will harm their health & their relationship with others eventually. This is not a form of work addiction however it is a form of addiction to the external validation that comes from working. So, you need to learn that power comes from the internal validation & learn to ask for constructive feedback.

  3. Being a natural genius pushing yourself to learn in a shortened time frame & feel ashamed if it took them more than expected to learn something or do something. So, they set the bar unrealistically high judging themselves on getting everything right from the first trial. So, to fix this see yourself as a work in progress because accomplishing great things involves lifelong building.

  4. Being a soloist pushing to do everything alone without asking for help, it is okay to be independent to an extent however never to refuse assistance to prove your worth. To fix this, believe in the concept of experience sharing.

  5. Being the expert measuring your competence on what you know or can do & how much you know or can do. Being afraid to be exposed as inexperienced or unknowledgeable. To fix this you need to believe that there is always something more to learn. And that learning new things can help you succeed professionally & stay competitive in the job market.

Are we really a fraud? I doubt! We should talk with the inner voice that encourages this behavior & ensure ourselves that we are not a fraud. On the other hand, we deserve all the best because we are capable enough to do whatever we want to do. We deserve every promotion & every salary raise. We should believe in ourselves before asking others to believe in us & we should trust our capabilities before asking others to do the same.

More articles to come soon on the women empowerment topic.


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