How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
The term impostor syndrome was coined in 1978 and is described as a feeling of being a fraud or inadequate, especially in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite overwhelming evidence of high achievement and excellence. Imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head in many places, including the work place, school, and even at home.
Black women are frequent sufferers because we have one of the toughest positions in the world. We are double minorities, living in times where racism has become more overt and where women are STILL not getting paid as much as their male counterparts. According to a report by Catalyst in 2015, “Women in S&P 500 Companies by Race/Ethnicity and Level,” women of color occupy only 3.9 percent of executive or senior-level officials and managers and only 0.4 percent of CEOs in those companies. When faced with this in the workplace, how can black women feel appreciated and valued when we are not afforded the same opportunities to excel in our careers? I have degrees on top of degrees from prestigious institutions, with skills on top of skills and years of experience. Why is this not enough? Why are my colleagues getting asked about promotions? Why am I not receiving praise for my creativity and contributions to the agency or company?
It’s really easy for self-doubt, internalization of negative thoughts about oneself, and low confidence to seep in when you’ve worked so hard only to be met with mediocracy. But there are things that will bolster that confidence back where it deserves to be: THROUGH. THE. ROOF!
Here are some ways to kick Imposter Syndrome to the curb:
1. Remember who you are and whose you are.
God did not make a mistake when He created you. He took his time and made you special. Remember, whatever you want, have faith and pray about it. He’s listening and is there every step of the way. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s okay to not be No. 1 in every situation. It’s okay to be YOU. That’s how you were created. Walk in it with strides!
2. Do not compare yourself to others.
I think the biggest mistake we make is comparing ourselves to others. We were all given different purposes in life. The blessings that are bestowed upon your neighbor are not for you and vice versa. Instead of comparing your life to others, focus on the blessings you’ve been given. You woke up this morning. You were able to speak with your family again. You have a job, with a salary that helps you pay your bills. The little things matter just as much as the big things. Never forget that life or the good things in life are NOT guaranteed. Give thanks and be thankful.
3. Be your biggest cheerleader.
You are not going to always get the recognition you deserve. Most of the time, you are more than likely doing the most work, are the most creative person on the team, and are truly a gem and asset to the company. Give yourself praise. Pat yourself on the back. Know that YOU fostered something new and innovative. You. Did. That. And make sure you own those accomplishments! “I created….I fostered…I made improvements…etc.” Do not forget about celebrating those accomplishments.
4. You ARE enough!
Know your worth. You have worked so hard to reach your self-determined goals! Your resume is stacked with over qualifications that make you worthy of that promotion, raise, and your dream job. Never allow someone else to dictate what you are worth. You are made of gold. You sparkle. You’re magic. You’re invaluable.
5. Remember: You’re not alone.
You’d be surprised how many black women struggle with Imposter Syndrome. She could be your mom. She could be your sister. She could even be the young lady you sit next to in church. We have to start having conversations about Imposter Syndrome. Black women are so much stronger together! History tells us so, and so does the present. Imposter Syndrome is something we all can overcome. Sometimes, it takes that extra support and talk to remind you that you’re not alone and you are enough. Black sisters unite!
If you feel that Imposter Syndrome or other types of anxiety impact your quality of life, please do not hesitate to contact the Walk of Life Counseling Center: 404-823-6254 or www.thewalkoflife.com