Updated: Sep 12, 2021
By. Jovonni Spinner
We have all been here before at some point in time in our careers. You look around the room and wonder, am I qualified to be here? Should I speak up and let my ideas be heard? Did I really earn that promotion or a new job? The answer is YES, YES, and YES! The reason why we have these thoughts is that we suffer from “imposter syndrome.” This happens when you feel inadequate despite achieving success. It causes you to doubt yourself and feel like you are a fraud when, in fact, the opposite is true.
I don’t need to be perfect to succeed.
Imposter syndrome can manifest and ultimately disrupt your peace and ability to grow in your career in many ways. For example, do you find that you try to be perfect at everything? Many times, you may find yourself setting high goals and when you fall short sometimes, that can lead to a cycle of self-doubt and incessant worrying about your skills and abilities not being able to measure up. However, the real issue is that goal was never a good goal in the first place. So, it really has nothing to do with you and your capabilities but setting the bar way too high for you to reasonably achieve.
I am not your Superwoman. I do not need to work twice as hard to excel in the workplace.
Another way it can manifest is by trying to be Superwoman. As a woman of color, this is often way too easy of a trap to fall into. We feel like we need to be everything to everyone all of the time. Some of us were taught that we needed to work harder and be twice as good to excel in the workplace. If you ever find yourself constantly working late, stressing out when you are not working because you feel like you should be working, or feel pressured to work harder (instead of smarter), you fall into imposter syndrome mode.
Allow yourself space to be content with who you are and what you bring to the table. Own who you are and recognize your greatness.
Here are 3 tips to help you preserve your peace and recognize your greatness.
1. Celebrate: Celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small, but especially the small wins. Avoid burnout at all costs, so taking time to bask in the glory of your achievements is much needed and well deserved. You don’t have to wait until your degree is conferred, or your big project is complete. Celebrate yourself for completing a class, securing a major partner to help with your project, or coming up with a new idea to advance your work. However, these are just examples, but you should celebrate anything you think is worth the accomplishment. You can even celebrate yourself for waking up this morning and still wanting to go to work!
2. Contentment: You are not perfect, and the truth is, no one expects you to be. We often burden ourselves by trying to achieve a level of perfection that does not exist. We are human, we make mistakes (I refer to them as lessons learned), and most importantly, we can use these opportunities to learn valuable lessons that will help us grow and mature in our craft. Give yourself grace and take your growing pains in stride and realize that this is all a part of the journey. Allow yourself space to be content with who you are and what you bring to the table. Own who you are and acknowledge your greatness.
3. Chill Out: Take a break and relax. I know it is easier said than done, but you need to take time out for yourself. During this time, you can recenter, reconnect, and recharge. Once that happens, you will be much sharper and have improved clarity, which can help you work smarter, not harder. Turn off work at home. I know many of us are working from home and feel the need to work longer hours to prove to ourselves that we are working. But you need to set boundaries, so turn off and put away your computer at a reasonable and consistent time each day, put your work phone on do not disturb, and walk away from work for the evening. Take some time to spend with your family or by yourself. Trust me; work will still be there in the morning.
When you begin to have thoughts of doubt, pause, and remember that your presence is enough! You have worked hard for your degrees, gained the experience, and more than proven your ability to excel in the workplace. We are not imposters and we deserve to be here.