So you’ve graduated from school, you’ve gained a little experience in your field, and you’ve landed a job. You should feel excited and empowered, but all you can feel is a growing sense of dread.
Why did I ever think I could go into this field? Who do I think I am? I’m so not prepared for this.
These are the thoughts running through your head, despite the years you’ve spent discovering your passions, honing your craft and doing the work to manifest the perfect position for yourself.
Does this sound familiar? It’s called Imposter Syndrome: the thought that you’re an imposter trying your hardest to fool yourself and everyone else into thinking you’re a real teacher, businesswoman, journalist, or chef, not just a child masquerading as a professional on bring your kid to work day.
The reason I was so inspired to write this post is because I have really struggled, and still do struggle with this every day, and so many of my friends and family members have, too. Heck, even right now thoughts like “who do you think you are writing this post?” and “you’re not some psychology expert, sit down!” are flying through my head. But I always find that writing about a situation always helps to bring it into focus, and if I can do the same for someone else who’s going through the same thing, then that’s just a bonus.
In fact, I was just speaking about this to one of my brightest and most talented friends the other day. Despite the fact that she’s spent the last five years in school and working towards an amazing career in the field of her choice, she still feels unqualified to do some of the things being assigned to her at a new job.
I told her I often felt the same way about teaching yoga and interviewing people for stories, despite the fact that I have the training, qualifications and experience to do these things for a living.
Funnily enough, when I asked my boyfriend if he ever had this issue, he said no – he just tries his best at everything assigned to him and hopes it works out.
So what gives? Why are women so often afraid to come into their own at work and step forward confidently to offer their skills and expertise without apology?
My theory is that no matter what we do, it’s never enough. Not for our bosses or clients, but for ourselves. You could be the most perfect lawyer or doctor or tennis player and STILL suffer from massive self doubt and criticism because you messed up one thing. Many women are extremely self critical, and we tend to overlook our accomplishments, our wins and our qualifications because deep down, we still feel like we’re faking it.
If we do get praised for something we did well, we either bask in the glory of it for two seconds then move on, or disqualify it as something someone said to make us feel better, or as something they would say to everyone.
It can’t just be me who does this, right? If this sounds like you, then read on. If not, then give me your confidence, please!
I say we give ourselves a little more credit, and stay strong in our belief that we CAN do the things we’ve set out to do. You first embarked on a certain field or career path because somewhere in your soul, you felt like you could excel at it, or you felt called to improve the world in some way, or maybe you just felt deeply interested in it.
Whatever it is, stay strong in your belief that this is meant for you, and you can achieve all the things you want in life. Unless you truly feel like a certain job or career isn’t meant for you, don’t let fear alone stop you from continuing down the path.
If you removed the fear, what would you do? How would someone with zero fear walk into that meeting, or send that email, or teach that class?
Take a deep breath and remember that you are valid, you are a real person, and you are going to succeed. No one else can make you believe this, no matter how many compliments or motivational speeches they give you.
You alone have the power to come into your own and shine in this world, so shine!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below. 💛