What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are not deserving of the position you are in or it can be the feeling that you do not belong. If you have ever found yourself surrounded by a sea of people and felt as though you did not belong, then you may be experiencing imposter syndrome. I have felt the weight of feeling like I don’t belong several times in my life. Here is my story about how imposter syndrome has impacted me.
My Personal Experience with Imposter Syndrome
I am a dark-skinned Black woman and I graduated from a small prestigious predominately White college. I would sit down in class and peer around the room and question if I deserved to be there. I was subjected to listening to my White roommate rant about how a Black guy from her high school did not deserve to be at our college because he was awarded a full scholarship and she wasn't. I had a similar conversation with a classmate in my art class. Someone who I had attended class with the entire semester told me that he was supposed to go to Brown, but that a Latina girl took his spot.
I would continue to hear different iterations of the same sentiment throughout my 4 years in school. I would even hear this story from other Black people. I felt immense pain when a dear friend of mine accused me of taking her spot because I was accepted into our dream school and she was not.
All of these voices culminated into a collective narrative which told me that I was not good enough and that I didn't achieve success by my own merit.
Imposter syndrome has been something I have dealt with for most of my life and is something that I continue to work through on a daily basis. As a Black female small business owner, I feel imposter syndrome much in the same way as I felt it in undergrad. I question if I have what it takes to compete with others in my industry. I recently wrapped up a crowdfunding campaign and my first go at raising funds for my business. Throughout the process, I would wonder if I was really worth investing in.
How I Confront Imposter Syndrome
In the fall of 2020, I attended an online workshop hosted by Ellevest. At the workshop, I learned about Imposter Syndrome and received useful tips on how to combat it. I learned the importance of calling out doubtful thoughts at the moment it happens. A couple of years ago while in a therapy session my therapist advised, me that at the root of anxiety is purpose. Anxiety does not need to be detrimental or withholding. If we recognize it, address it, and work through it then we can confront the issue that is the underlying cause for our anxiety. This advice has helped me to work through anxiety attacks and stressful situations. When I move past the doubts, fears, and insecurities these feelings transition into excitement for the future. I am motivated to move forward with my goals for my business and the vision I have for the services I provide.
If you believe that you suffer from imposter syndrome or anxiety, I encourage you to know that these feelings can be processed and that you can move through them. I learned several strategies from my time meeting with a therapist. During our sessions, I would pour out my life to this person and they never judged. They just wanted to help me and they did. Therapists are amazing human beings and I encourage you to reach out for help if you need guidance.
I wrote this post as I begin to see my businesses move in new directions and enter unfamiliar territory. It is new, it is unknown, but I deserve to be here. So wish me luck and all the positive vibes as I take the plunge. I wish you the best as you journey through your own uncharted territories and when you do just know that you are capable of reaching the other side. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.