How I Overcame Imposter Syndrome
I remember the day I graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. I was surrounded by my peers in one of the biggest days of our lives, but all I could feel was like I didn't belong. I felt like everyone except me had plans, goals, and amazing things to look forward to. How was I even qualified to graduate? To this day, I still have dreams (nightmares) that I didn't really graduate, that there was a whole slew of classes that I forgot to attend and I have to start my college career all over again.
I remember the day I got promoted as a junior assistant at a talent agency to become a full-fledged talent agent with my very own clients and territory. My stomach was in knots, I went home and cried (not of joy) and I was a nervous wreck for months. I thought for sure I would be found out and eventually fired. There was no way I was qualified for such an esteemed job. Why me?
These feelings of inadequacy follow me everywhere. I constantly feel like a fraud in all areas of my life: work, parenting, personal, and friendships. A few years back, I read a New York Times article about "Imposter Syndrome" and I had an Oprah-worthy a-ha moment. It was definitely something I could relate to. According to the article, the term imposter syndrome is described as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” Sound familiar?
I always thought this type of thinking was ingrained in my DNA because I'm female and Latina. (Did I mention short? Being 5 feet tall does NOT make me an authoritative presence.) And don't even get me started on condescending male egos in the workplace (or life in general). Listen, I don't know how it developed or why, but over time I've learned to recognize the signs and deal with it head on.
By simply acknowledging what you're feeling, you have the power to change your mentality around it. By recognizing that these thoughts are not founded on reality, but simply your fears, you have the power to reframe the thought. Instead of "why me" reframe your thinking to "why not me?"
"Perfect" Does Not Exist (Unless You're Beyoncé)
I think perfectionism can be such hinderance to success. I can't tell you how many times I haven't completed something because I've deemed it not perfect enough to share. I mean, look at Beyoncé. She's the epitome of perfection. Everything she does is so precisely planned, even down to the minute details. I need to be on that level before I start that business plan, book proposal, DIY project, website, (insert long awaited project here). But you know what? Done is better than perfect. Stop over analyzing and just get it done.
Display Your Achievements
Whether it's that high school or college diploma, an award you won, an article you were featured in, or if it's the beautiful children you've brought into this world, be proud of your accomplishments and know that no one else can do it like you do. Hang up those beautiful family pictures, frame your diploma(s), and share your achievements on your Linkedin page. Let people know who they're dealing with a boss babe! And don't you ever forget it!