Sheryl Sandberg. Emma Watson. Maya Angelou. What do these amazing women all have in common? They’ve admitted to feeling like an imposter, a fraud. The term “Imposter Syndrome” was first coined in 1978 by Georgia State to identify the phenomenon where successful women had high levels of self-doubt, and as a woman in a male-dominated field, as a solopreneur, or as a boss, these feelings can intensify. You’re not alone. We’ll talk about how to thrive on that feeling of uncomfortability to turn it into a challenge, the importance of being authentic, and how the word “no” can be the best thing you ever say.

At this event, we were so excited to have Nora Brathol as the guest speaker again where she shared with us that it’s ok to not have it all figured out and we all at some point experience the imposter syndrome.

We learned how to be open and embrace things that we can and can not do. Plus, she reminded us to always look at our achievements or even a thank you note from a client who we’ve helped in the past as a good reminder that we’ve done some great things too.

If you didn’t make it to our event with Nora, here are a few takeaways that we got from her at the event:

  1. Get comfortable with imposter syndrome – because it’s probably never going away
  2. Flex determination like a muscle. The more you overcome things, especially small victories, the more surmountable the big ones will feel
  3. Hire others. Or surround yourself with your competition. You each have different skill sets and those will become obvious, help you build confidence in your niche, and become more comfortable/less fearful of those who supposedly have it all together.
  4. Spoiler alert: no one has it 100% together. Everyone from Meryl Streep to Sonja Sotomayor to Maya Angelou has struggled with imposter syndrome.
  5. Everything is cyclical – it will come and go, which means it will always go.
  6. If you’re struggling and don’t feel like you can prioritize yourself, fight the presumption of incompetence for the rest of women boss ladies.
  7. Keep all the thank you notes, emails, and client/boss/colleague praises and read them over and over in times of self-doubt.
  8. Being really good at something can lead us to discount its value. It’s natural to us, so how could it be that hard/important/worthwhile? However, that’s exactly why it’s a skill. Embrace the hesitancy and remember your power to accept your feelings and change your reaction. Invite the self-doubt in for tea and then…get to work (like the Mara devil in the NYT article)!

After graduating with a BA from UW-Madison, and a MA from Valparaiso University, Nora Brathol spent the first decade of her career working in communications and fundraising for international non-profit organizations. After much success utilizing social media to raise awareness about and advocate for those causes, in 2011, Nora founded Arka Pana Consulting, a digital marketing agency that focuses on using social media for social good. Nora’s clients now range from law firms and political candidates to churches and social service agencies, turning missions into “mission accomplished” in 140 characters or less!

The conversations we had at the event flow consistently with everyone asking questions and giving ideas to one another. At the end of the event, we all got a chance to network with other creative women who came and continuing our conversations online on our Facebook group.

Did you missed our event? Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for our upcoming events and bunch of other fun stuff. Or check out the next events that we’re planning. We hope to meet and hear your story 🙂

Photo credit:
Mysi Anne from Soda Fountain Photography