How you can Know If You are Affected by Superwoman Syndrome—and What to Do About It
It can be easy for working mothers to fall into the trap of having to prove our self-esteem. We go beyond our limits to look perfect because we know that ultimately this is not a mindset or approach that leads to success. In fact, these are common attributes for those of us who have superwoman syndrome. As much as superwoman syndrome sounds like a bogus disorder, it is a condition that affects millions of women. What exactly is Superwoman Syndrome?
Superwoman syndrome refers to a woman who neglects herself to make “everything” perfect and ends up making herself too thin. (That might sound like you!) Perhaps you are a perfectionist who sets exceptionally high goals so that your expectations cannot be met, leading to mass disappointment and dissatisfaction. Or maybe you are a high achiever but always feel like you could have done a better job. Or maybe you are a single mom who feels under financial pressure and works so hard for your family that you neglect your own well-being.
No matter what category you fall into, life with Superwoman Syndrome is stressful. While we know it’s true, it can be hard to admit: you don’t have to be a superwoman to advance in your career or personal life.
If you make an effort to do everything you will only get to the point of burnout. Whatever success means to you, developing the right habits and living a balanced life are the only way to get where you want to be. So what exactly does it mean to lead a balanced life? Of course, living a balanced life looks different for every family, but here are a few broader “boxes” that we hope will help you succeed:
- Be aware of your career
- Know your worth and be ready to talk about it
- Asking what you want, be brave
- Develop a growth mentality
- Prioritizing self-care, setting aside personal time (“me” time)
- Do a lot of sport and practice mindfulness
- Learn to say no
As a Latina, I grew up in a perfectionist culture that forced me to develop limiting beliefs and intense self-doubt. I always felt that I had to be a workaholic to be successful. I know what it feels like to be under financial pressure as a single mom and how it leads to overwork and neglect. It wasn’t until I spent over two decades in the American corporation that I realized the negative effects of my disposition to Superwoman Syndrome. I worked to the bone in my position, which resulted in a promotion, but that only brought temporary happiness. Now, after years of living a life of self-reliance and independence, I’ve decided to hang up my cloak and learn to be content with myself – without having to be perfect and meet other people’s standards.
Before we go any further, I’d like to dig a little deeper into mindfulness, an important facet of breaking down Superwoman Syndrome. It is a widely effective practice and builds (at least) three qualities that every great leader possesses:
- Emotional intelligence
These help create the foundation that will completely change your career. Taking the time to better understand your field, to network to build new relationships, build your brand, and do your best in your day-to-day activities is the “extra credit” that will only build your momentum faster.
It took a long time to come up with my own definition of success, but when I found it my goals and values became clearer. My dream is to help women in similar situations find their own definition of success. Everyone deserves a full life, but it starts with small actions. Celebrate your accomplishments in your life. As small or big as you are, be proud of yourself just as you are proud of a child or a spouse when they accomplish something. By cheering yourself on, you begin to rewire your brain, change how it sees that overly critical voice in your head, and gradually calm it down.
My mission is to help women live on their own terms and achieve their goals while staying fulfilled with what they do. How can you live on your own terms, take on and fulfill your responsibilities and be a high performer in your area of expertise? The answer is simple: your ability to stand out in your life will lead you to establish effective habits, control your mindset, and maintain a positive attitude. With these, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals and living your dreams on your terms.
Remember, you need to create a strong foundation on which to build. You have to focus on the person in the mirror first!
Patricia Arboleda is a certified executive and leadership coach, moderator, trainer and keynote speaker. She lives in Miami, Florida and has over 25 years of corporate management experience. To book a free strategy meeting with Patricia, visit calendly.com/arboledacoaching/30min.