istockphoto-466622834-612x612.jpgVery often I discuss with women the imposter syndrome when they are in doubt about making a next career step. Research shows, When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, organizations are keeping a slow — and I do mean a very slow— and steady pace.

In  years observing what causes self-doubt, particularly for women in male-dominated fields. they observed that there are numerous factors at play. Chief among them: gender bias that comes in both explicit and subtler forms. The end result? Highly skilled women succumb to stereotype-driven expectations. It begins early when girls as young as six stop believing that girls are the smart ones, while boys continue to . As women get older, these stereotypes discourage them from pursuing careers thought to be typically reserved for men. And, with fewer women in a field, subsequent generations  of women are deterred from pursuing them. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. 6 Tips:


1.Role models
Certainly, employers can take steps to encourage women to overcome anxiety and self-doubt in the workplace. For example, research that when women are exposed to powerful female role models, they are more likely to endorse the notion that women are well suited for leadership roles. So regular meetings — say monthly check-ins or weekly lunches — between less experienced and more senior women give younger women the opportunity to not only develop professionally but also understand that women have what it takes to succeed in an organization’s most prestigious roles. And when mentorship programs are de rigueur, those who face feelings of otherness will not feel deficient for having to proactively seek out career guidance.

Coaching to help themselves feel more confident.

In a new job or position? Worried about whether you can make the cut? Try journaling.  committing been worries and ruminationand and focus

4.Past successes
If you sometimes feel like an — that you aren’t really that talented and have fooled anyone who thinks you are — remember that you can have those thoughts and still perform well. In fact, most women who fall prey to the “imposter syndrome” are actually . Reminding yourself of this fact and focusing on your past successes can help prevent a spiral of self-doubt.

  1. Reboot the brain
    Another strategy to employ when overwhelmed, at an impasse or mentally blocked is to take a step back from the problem. The brain often needs a chance to reboot. This allows you to see more clearly, find new connections, and devise better solutions.
  1. reframe the brain when analyzing the setbacks
    If something bad does happen, like a bad performance review or a project that misses the mark, it’s also possible to reframe how your brain processes the setback and set yourself up for success the next time around. Case in point: when researchers studied  professional swimmers who failed to make the Canadian Olympic team or swam poorly on a world stage, they found that those who’d been encouraged to acknowledge what went wrong and think about how they could do better next time were able to watch replays of their performance with little negative emotion.  For those who hadn’t done the same review, the video instead stirred a “learned helplessness,” a feeling of lost control which causes people to give up on their goals. This same idea can translate into the office: rather than give up, acknowledge what went wrong, how it can be improved, and carry this into the future.

Until women are represented equally across all fields, it’s natural that they’ll feel pangs of anxiety as they settle into their careers (especially in environments like the House or corporate boards, where they are surrounded by men). But that anxiety doesn’t need to be crippling. With employer support, women can thrive by connecting with female mentors, changing how they process negative emotions, and momentarily stepping back from a problem to rethink it. These are the skills and tools we teach our students at Barnard each day. And if we make clear that women can, and should, make their voices heard, we can upend the gender imbalances that exist across numerous fields — and get that “slow and steady” pace up to modern speed.

Sian Beilock