Hardeep’s Tips on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome & Work-Life Balance
Inside Demandbase 05.10.2024

Hardeep’s Tips on Overcoming Imposter Syndrome & Work-Life Balance

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This episode of the Sunny Side Up podcast discusses overcoming challenges faced by women in their careers, with a focus on imposter syndrome, advocating for career advancement, and maintaining work-life balance. Hardeep Kaur shares her experiences and advice on these topics, emphasizing the importance of authenticity, mentorship, and addressing unconscious biases.

Best Moments

01:12 –  Hardeep talks about the challenges faced in advocating for her career advancement, and how she overcame them.
03:14 –  Hardeep provides advice to those starting or mid-career on being authentic, thorough in their work, and finding a mentor.
05:38 –  Hardeep shares experiencing imposter syndrome and how she overcame it through self-awareness and self-compassion.
13:42 –  Hardeep discusses facing challenges in maintaining work-life balance and navigating feelings of guilt.
16:48 –  Hardeep shares strategies for networking and finding common ground in male-dominated industries.

About the guest

Meet Hardeep Kaur, the Director of People at Demandbase India. With 17+ years in HR, she’s all about making things happen. Whether it’s influencing leaders, spurring teams into action, or crafting tailored solutions, Hardeep’s got it covered. She’s passionate about solving challenges and works hand-in-hand with colleagues to drive meaningful change. In short, Hardeep is the driving force behind people-centric success at Demandbase India.

Connect with Hardeep Kaur

Key takeaways

  • Overcome imposter syndrome through self-awareness, self-compassion, and recognizing accomplishments
  • Advocate for your career through effective communication, finding mentors, and understanding different perspectives 
  • Address unconscious biases through open discussions with senior leaders to create an inclusive environment
  • Maintain work-life balance by prioritizing both equally, setting boundaries, and not feeling guilty about priorities
  • Networking is an ongoing process – find common ground and stay in touch with new connections


“Networking is about being in constant touch, whatever the frequency. It’s not a one-time task.” -Hardeep Kaur

Highlights from this episode

Can you tell us about what challenges you have encountered in advocating for your career advancement? And how did you overcome them?

Some of the key challenges Hardeep mentioned in advocating for her career advancement included facing resistance from a male boss who seemed intimidated by her. She felt he had an unconscious bias against her as a woman. To overcome this, she made an effort to understand the situation objectively by speaking to mentors. She worked on improving her communication style and involving her male manager more so he didn’t feel as intimidated. Having supportive conversations with trusted mentors helped her design strategies to navigate the situation more effectively.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting in their career or has a few years of experience in the industry?

Some of the key advice Hardeep provided for those starting or early in their careers includes:

  • Be authentic to yourself – understand your strengths, weaknesses, and what gives you confidence or makes you insecure. Do what you say and say what you do. 
  • Be thorough in your work from day one. Read, research, and reach out to people to do your job well. This will give you satisfaction and confidence.
  • Find a mentor you can trust to reach out to when you’re stuck or unsure of the right approach. Having someone experienced to provide guidance makes a big difference.

Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome in your career? And how did you overcome that?

Hardeep shared that she often feels imposter syndrome. She recalled a time when receiving a promotion, and instead of feeling proud, she wondered what work she did to deserve it. To overcome this, Hardeep worked on self-awareness by recognizing her harsh self-criticism. She combated this by being kinder to herself and accepting compliments rather than brushing them off. Hardeep also learned that perfectionism exacerbated her feelings of inadequacy, so she adopted a balanced perspective of recognizing when good enough is sufficient. This shift in self-talk helped boost her confidence and reduce imposter syndrome over time.

What can companies implement to retain and support women throughout their careers, especially when there is progression into leadership opportunities?

Some things Hardeep suggested companies can implement to better retain and support women throughout their careers include:

  • Ensure commitment and support from senior leadership on diversity initiatives. 
  • Provide mentoring opportunities for women, both as mentors and mentees.
  • Create awareness around unconscious biases through training programs. 
  • Closely examine pay gaps during compensation cycles and ensure equal pay.
  • Develop inclusive strategies tailored to different regions/cultures. 
  • Encourage women to participate and provide a comfortable space for diverse perspectives.  
  • Invest in targeted leadership programs and continuous learning opportunities.
  • Regularly assess engagement scores and initiatives around diversity and inclusion.

Have you ever faced challenges in maintaining a work-life balance? And how have you navigated through them?

Hardeep shared that maintaining a work-life balance has always been a challenge for her. As someone with a big workload and a tendency to take on too many tasks, she found herself often working on weekends. The blurred lines of hybrid working also made it difficult to separate work and personal time. 

To better navigate this, Hardeep started blocking out dedicated non-work hours on her calendar. She also prioritized either work or personal life at different times to balance both aspects. While she still felt guilt around her priorities at times, Hardeep learned to be kinder to herself and recognize that it’s okay to focus on one domain over the other depending on needs. Setting boundaries and not being too hard on herself for imbalances helped Hardeep better maintain her work-life balance.

What are the strategies you found most effective for networking, especially in male-dominated industries?

Some of the strategies Hardeep found effective for networking, especially in male-dominated industries, include:

  • Finding common ground or shared interests as a way to start meaningful conversations. This helps make initial connections.
  • Attending industry conferences, seminars, and meetups even if just as a participant, to put herself out there and meet new people. 
  • Making an effort to approach strangers and start conversations by looking for common links between them. 
  • Staying in touch with the people she meets consistently through follow-ups, rather than seeing networking as a one-time thing. 
  • Pushing herself outside of her comfort zone to participate in group settings and engage with others, even if networking does not come naturally to her.


Deepti Gelli, Head of Demandbase India.

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