Trounce ‘imposter syndrome’ with servant leadership, speaker says

About 70 percent of professionals confront “imposter syndrome” during their careers, according to Gay Meyer, guest speaker at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Professional Women's Alliance (PWA) meeting.

Meyer, who works as assistant vice president for human resources at USAA in Phoenix, told her audience that individuals can indeed triumph over nagging feelings of not being genuinely sufficient in their professional capacities.

“First, recognize that you aren’t alone,” Meyer said. 

She offered techniques for focusing on progress rather than setbacks, such as recognizing benchmarks for accomplishments no matter how miniscule. Appreciating small victories helps to balance the effects of perceived failures.

“I spent a lot of time worrying about possible failures,” she said, offering reframing as an example of coping effectively. “Then I started to visualize my success, that’s when I saw better results.”

Cultivating a support network, taking risks and striving to take the initiative also can ease the burden of feeling pressured to meet goals.

“Servant leadership makes all the difference when trying to beat impostor syndrome,” stated the Phoenix Chamber Chamber of Commerce said "servant leadership" makes a big difference when trying to overcome imposter syndrome.

Defined as a focus on individuals with lesser emphasis on central organizational structure, servant leadership can help empower professionals to strive for balance within the larger context of business organizations. The term was coined by Robert Greenleaf in a 1970 essay.

The next PWA meeting will feature Athena awards. It is slated for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. June 13 at the Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. Seventh St. Advance registration is required for lunch and costs $30 for Phoenix Chamber members and $50 for non-members. Admission without lunch is free to chamber members.

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