Being harsh with self-criticism. Overdoing to prove competence. Difficulty saying no. Fear of taking risks. Apologizing for speaking up. These may be signals that Good Girl Syndrome is jeopardizing your career.
This phenomenon affects women across various fields everywhere, in all professions. It is a way of saying that women are expected to be nice, care for others, and put everyone else's needs before their own. In other words, against all odds, society expects women to be ‘perfect.’ While there is nothing wrong with pursuing self-improvement, aiming at an unachievable goal of perfection can harm our well-being and professional lives.
Good Girl Syndrome and Women in STEAM Careers
Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) face unique challenges when it comes to breaking free from the Syndrome. These historically male-dominated fields frequently uphold gender biases that discourage female professionals from being assertive and promoting themselves.
Women may play down their accomplishments or ideas for fear of appearing aggressive or bossy. Despite their qualifications and accomplishments, they may also struggle with imposter syndrome — feeling like they don't belong or aren't good enough.
Women need to unapologetically embrace who they are if they are to succeed and make a bigger impact on the world through their work.
Whether in STEAM or other fields, here are six ways to help you break free from the Good Girl Syndrome of perfectionism and prioritize your success:
1. Embrace Your Authenticity
Don't be afraid to speak up, share your ideas, and assert yourself in professional settings. Remember that your unique perspective and experiences bring value to the table.
Being authentic means embracing your true self, quirks, imperfections, etc. This helps you understand that perfection is an unattainable goal that only leads to self-doubt and burnout.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them!
2. Set Boundaries (Saying “no” can be liberating!)
We women tend to overextend ourselves and prioritize the needs of those around us rather than our own. It's time to change that narrative. Start setting clear boundaries in both your personal and professional lives. Learn to say “no” when necessary. Get some rest and focus on recharging your energy by delegating some of your responsibilities.
Remember, every time you say ‘no’ to something that doesn't serve you, you're saying yes to something that does. This creates space for opportunities that truly matter.
3. Cultivate a Supportive Network
No woman is an island! A strong support network is crucial to breaking free from The Good Girl Syndrome. Find other strong women to support and encourage you on your path. Seek mentors who have overcome similar challenges and can provide guidance along the way.
If you are in STEAM, connect with other women working as professionals in these areas through online communities or join organizations dedicated to empowering women in these fields.
4. Find Your Voice
It's time to unleash your inner rebel by speaking your truth unapologetically. Whether it's expressing an opinion during a meeting or advocating for yourself in negotiations, remember that your thoughts and feelings are valid. Practice assertiveness techniques, seek opportunities for public speaking, or join supportive communities where you can practice using your voice freely.
5. Celebrate Your Achievements
We often downplay our accomplishments out of fear of seeming boastful. But it's important to recognize and celebrate your achievements, big or small. Acknowledge your hard work and be proud of your accomplishments; you deserve it.
6. Invest in Self-Development
To excel in your career, continuous learning is essential. Take advantage of the training programs, workshops, conferences, webinars, and networking opportunities available to you. Investing in yourself enhances your skills, boosts your confidence, and empowers you to take charge of your professional growth.
A great opportunity to do so is by joining our WEnnovate events. This October, we are having a workshop to provide you with the tools you need to empower yourself and overcome perfectionism.
Let us help you unleash your inner rebel and generate more impact with your work!