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Confronting Imposter Syndrome

Updated: May 27, 2022

By now, it's no secret that I suffer from imposter syndrome. I hope to address and confront this issue head-on using Forbes' "How To Address And Overcome Imposter Syndrome" as a guide.

Imposter syndrome is when you believe that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be or when you think you do not deserve your success. Gregg Brown, Forbes council member, and writer of our guide article, believes that everyone experiences imposter syndrome during their career at one point or another.

I am at the start of my career, having only graduated college in 2020. I also fit all the common reasons why someone may experience imposter syndrome. I am underrepresented and work in "predominantly Caucasian environments." I also work from home and use my free time to advance my media and writing career, so you could say I don't work in a "mainstream 9-5 environment." In all honesty, I have the feeling described in the article where I am not sure if I was a diversity hire due to affirmative action. No one in my workplace has ever explicitly said or done anything to make me feel that way, but being the youngest and the only person of color instantly made me feel inadequate.

Now that I've identified why I have imposter syndrome, I must address the problem. The article suggests five ways to address this issue.

Creating a "community of understanding" is a little tricky when I work behind a laptop in my home office. However, there are people who I go to solely for support and to use as sounding boards for my ideas, and they help make me feel empowered and knowledgeable.

Being open to new opportunities is described equivalently as learning new skills and educating yourself on your topic of interest. Frankly, I could read more often, but I did start this blog to write more often. Constant media production helps fine-tune my software skills with Photoshop. Maybe there are some things I could work on, but overall I am actively trying to improve.

I don't think I have ever over-promised. Every person I've worked with has been more than satisfied with their product. I've been told I undersold how good my work can be. It may be more prudent to gain confidence and accurately describe my skills rather than undersell, thus potentially losing clients.

As of right now, I am not capable of delegating what I'm not great at to others. However, I try to seek help when I need it. I am not entirely oblivious to my downfalls but following a quick YouTube video instantly makes you feel like an expert.

Allowing yourself to learn from failure is good in theory and very healthy, but I need to work on it. It's difficult not to beat yourself up when you've made mistakes but learning from them is the only way to prevent repeating them.

The article then states ways to rewire your brain to support yourself. In doing so, you can turn limitations into strengths. I want to apply these methods to a recent experience I had.

I was working with a media client. I was contacted to create some print media in a rush and provided a price that included rush time, labor, and average costs for the type of media. I lost the client because the price was too high. I anticipated price-based push-back and prepared to negotiate, but at the moment, I froze and lost the client instead. I had to remind myself that losing the client did not reflect my media capabilities, regardless of having frozen at the negotiation stage. It was the business aspect of it that needed improvement. This was a returning client, so it wasn't a rejection of my quality of work. It was outside of their budget, which will happen occasionally. I know I will experience it again, but I will constantly remind myself that it is not about me but business. Learning business will take practice; after all, the degree on my wall is for communication and media, not business.

Reflecting on why I have imposter syndrome feels almost empowering, and it reminds me I'm not alone when it comes to having these feelings. Going through this article step by step showed me that I was already subconsciously working toward fighting my imposter syndrome. For whatever reason, I felt it would take years to make this feeling go away, but now I know that as long as I keep working at it, my confidence will continue to build, and this feeling will fade.

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