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6 Strategies for Female Leaders to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Angie Monko July 30, 2023

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6 Strategies for Female Leaders to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Ever feel like someone else is living your life? Like you’ve been hijacked by the negative thoughts in your head?

Last week I spoke about the cause of and 7 signs of Imposter Syndrome, this belief that if others knew the real you, they wouldn’t love or respect you as much.

This week we cover 6 strategies to help you overcome Imposter Syndrome and reclaim your power from this debilitating belief system.

1) Recognize and Reframe Negative Self-Talk


We are so mean to ourselves.  We hate our bodies, our bank accounts, and our very being-ness. We sustain this hatred with the very deep belief that we aren’t good enough.

We believe our thoughts.  Every…one…of them…that tells us we are bad or wrong. That we are failing. That we should be further along in our life.

I’d like to help you normalize just how common this negative self-talk is.  Even enlightened folk still rage when someone cuts them off in traffic. But WHO is this that’s being so cruel to you?

It’s your Imposter Self. It’s your Imposter who doesn’t forgive you when you emotionally eat too many nachos. It’s your Imposter who causes you to escape into Netflix and cookies when you chicken out of making sales calls due to fear of rejection.

It’s your Imposter who has you hiding in shame because of your dwindling bank account and your increasing body weight.

But this Imposter isn’t the real you. The Real You isn’t afraid or ashamed. She/he is OK with all.

TIP: Reframe this negative self-talk and ask yourself when things get tough, “Am I going to battle with myself and life, or will I practice peace by accepting myself?”

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2) Build a Support System


We need each other, especially when the Imposter gets really loud. We need our tribe to remind us that the Imposter is not who we really are.

From the book, Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens reminds us of the importance of female bonding: “My research and many other studies have shown us that social in tightly bonded groups of females.  Males emigrate from their natal group when they reach adolescence to search for other females to mate with. But the females remain in their group for all of their lives, so that the pride, troop, or herd is made of closely related or bonded females.”

These females keep away predators from the tribe, and they help the group get the best food choices too.

Similarly, you need your tribe of female family and friends. When you have a friend who truly has your back, you can relax and receive support, which greatly reduces the stress response and quiets the Imposter.

TIP:  Seek a support system that feels right to your soul. It could be a 12-step program, a paid women’s group, a trusted friend, spouse, counselor, coach, etc.

3) Focus on Accomplishments and Strengths

When something goes wrong, it’s easy to spiral downward and think of all things that are bad in our lives.  The brain has a tendency to be negative 80% of the time for survival reasons, to keep you on high alert.

But you aren’t all good or all bad. Your Imposter will try to convince you that you’re 100% NOT enough. Don’t buy into that lie.

Challenge perfectionistic tendencies that tell you that you must never make a mistake. Somehow there is a belief that making a mistake makes you a mistake. Making mistakes makes you better at what you do, because you’re always refining your approach to things.

TIP:  When you are tempted to believe these lies about yourself, think of 3-5 things that you appreciate about yourself.

4) Cultivate Self-Care and Self-Compassion

We need time to slow down and hear the wisdom of our Higher Self, our intuitive self, the self that is connected to Source Energy. By taking time for self-care, we nourish that part of us who knows who we really are.  By being compassionate to ourselves for having whatever life experiences are served to us, we nurture the part of us who knows the Imposter is an illusion of consciousness.

TIP: Take at least 5 minutes per day to slow down and hear the wisdom of your heart. If you have more time, take it. Meditate, journal, pray or whatever feeds your soul during this time.

5) Set Achievable Goals and Celebrate Progress

Do you have a daunting goal that seems to elude you? Maybe it’s because it’s too large. The Imposter will tell you that you’re not capable of achieving this goal.

The Imposter will also, very slyly, give you hints that you shouldn’t pursue your dream, lifestyle, etc., because it’s “not your thing.” You’d need a whole new identity to achieve that goal, and that would be too much work.

The Imposter tells you that you don’t need to experience something different because it will cost you too much. But what the Imposter is really saying, and doesn’t want you to know, is that it’s afraid of being annihilated. The Imposter doesn’t want ANY change in your life.

TIP: Chunk your goal into doable, bite-sized tasks. Then take action on the small tasks. Nothing is overwhelming unless you look at the whole piece. This will quiet your Imposter.

6) Embrace Vulnerability and Take Risks

Embrace vulnerability and risk-taking as a way of life.

Learning new skills and seeking out new challenges is a scary thing, for all of us.  Successful people aren’t smarter than you. They’ve learned how to manage their anxiety which comes from their Imposter telling them they’re not smart or good enough.

TIP:  When something frightens you to do or say, gently nudge yourself in that direction anyway. This isn’t about forcing yourself, but letting your Higher Self take over the steering wheel more and more each day.


Feeling like an imposter will rob you of your happiness, success and impact as a leader. Therefore, it’s vital to learn how to overcome this paralyzing belief that who you present to the world and who you really are are two different people.

I encourage you to practice one or more of the following strategies (see the tips under each strategy).  Pick one tip per week to get started:  recognize and reframe your negative self-talk, build a support system, focus on your strengths and accomplishments, cultivate self-care and self-compassion, set achievable goals and celebrate your progress, and embrace vulnerability and take risks.

You don’t have to be perfect to be loved. You don’t have to accomplish one more thing to be accepted. Who you are right now is enough.  From this vantage point, you will start to relax into your own body, mind and heart and quiet the Imposter within.

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

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