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Dana Bristol-Smith, founder and executive director of Leap to Success

Why Fake it Till You Make it Hurts Women in Business

San Diego CA— What do Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, and Meryl Streep have in common with as many as 70 percent of all working women? They admit to suffering from “Imposter Syndrome,” the feeling their success is based on a facade. People with Imposter Syndrome fear being revealed as frauds. They don’t believe they deserve success or acclaim for what they have achieved.

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To address Imposter Syndrome, some experts advise people to “fake it till they make it,” saying their internal beliefs will eventually align with their external actions.

Carlsbad’s Dana Bristol-Smith, founder and executive director of Leap to Success, a nonprofit women’s empowerment organization, believes differently. She says the “fake it till you make it” mentality denies women the opportunity to develop confidence as their authentic selves. This not only feeds Imposter Syndrome, but can also be a root cause of it. “Imposter Syndrome traps people in an endless cycle of pretending to be someone else, eroding self-confidence day by day,” says Bristol-Smith.

In Leap to Success’s newly released survey of 265 women in business, the low confidence at the heart of Imposter Syndrome was identified as one of the greatest barriers to success for professional women.

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Survey responses from CEOs, solopreneurs, and employees revealed the negative consequences of low confidence, some of which included:

  • Asking for lower salaries or fees than men
  • Avoiding cold calling or seeking new contacts
  • Hesitating to ask for referrals
  • Failing to create and maintain boundaries to support work/life balance

The survey results revealed a common trend among successful women who had developed true confidence. These women are willing to face their fears and insecurities, and ask for the help they need to overcome their obstacles. “Successful women don’t do it alone,” said Bristol-Smith. “They seek out resources. They find mentors or coaches, pursue training through workshops or self-study, and they maintain a support system both in business and at home.” This system of support and community is key to breaking through the Imposter Syndrome cycle.

“Setbacks don’t have to hold us back, but we need to learn from them,” said Bristol-Smith. “After serving nearly 2,000 women through Leap to Success, including those overcoming homelessness, domestic violence and other major challenges, I have witnessed powerful results when women face their fears and learn to take control of their lives.”

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Bristol-Smith said she realized a great need exists for women in business to receive the same type of powerful confidence development training that Leap to Success offers to women who are overcoming major challenges. Bristol-Smith borrowed the principles taught in Leap to Success curriculum, and added the secrets of successful CEOs to create an exclusive new program for women in business called “Power of Confidence.”

Power of Confidence extends the Leap to Success model to professional women who are experiencing Imposter Syndrome. It combats the “fake it till you make it” mindset, so no woman ever has to feel she is not enough. Power of Confidence is about helping women claim their worth, step into their power, and achieve success in business.

The first Power of Confidence seven-week cohort launches on April 9 at Hera Hub Carlsbad. For more information email: dana@leaptosuccess.org

You can view and download the full Every Women in Business Needs Confidence Survey Report here.

About Leap to Success

Leap to Success educates and empowers women to reach their greatest potential and is expanding beyond its primary audience of women overcoming hardships to bring confidence building programs to professional women. Leap to Success is a 501(c) 3 not for profit based in Carlsbad, California. Learn more about Leap to Success www.leaptosuccess.org