The year begins with me leaving my job of 3 years as a public officer to pursue my passion – digital media.
This year, I made a career shift from working as a revenue officer in my capacity as a social scientist (Economist/Demographer) to running a company and a pretty big project in the technology space.
I did have a plan as I left my job. I am not entirely headless (I hope). The first step in pursuing my digital media dreams is through education – because I am aware of the very apparent digital divide which exists in the country where I hail from.
One thing I did not mentally prepare for was the imposter syndrome I would have to deal with in my new field and new role as a manager. So I was reading an article by Valerie Young Ed.D, and she shared some things one can do to overcome imposter syndrome.
Words below are not my own. They were written by Valerie Young Ed.D. Feel free to check out her work.
Break the silence
Shame keeps a lot of people from “fessing up” about their fraudulent feelings. Knowing there’s a name for these feelings and that you are not alone can be tremendously freeing.
Separate feelings from fact
There are times you’ll feel stupid. It happens to everyone from time to time. Realize that just because you may feel stupid, doesn’t mean you are.
Recognize when you should feel fraudulent
A sense of belonging fosters confidence. If you’re the only or one of a few people in a meeting, classroom, field, or workplace who look or sound like you or are much older or younger, then it’s only natural you’d sometimes feel like you don’t totally fit in. Plus if you’re the first woman, people of color, or person with a disability to achieve something in your world, e.g. first VP, astronaut, judge, supervisor, firefighter, honoree, etc. there’s that added pressure to represent your entire group. Instead of taking your self-doubt as a sign of your ineptness, recognize that it might be a normal response to being on the receiving end of social stereotypes about competence and intelligence.
Accentuate the positive
The good news is being a perfectionist means you care deeply about the quality of your work. The key is to continue to strive for excellence when it matters most, but don’t persevere over routine tasks and forgive yourself when the inevitable mistake happens.
Develop a healthy response to failure and mistake making
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Instead of beating yourself up for falling short, do what players on the losing sports team do and glean the learning value from the loss and move on reminding yourself, “I’ll get ’em next time.”
Right the rules. If you’ve been operating under misguided rules like, “I should always know the answer,” or “Never ask for help” start asserting your rights. Recognize that you have just as much right as the next person to be wrong, have an off-day, or ask for assistance.
Develop a new script
Become consciously aware of the conversation going on in your head when you’re in a situation that triggers your Impostor feelings. This is your internal script. Then instead of thinking, “Wait till they find out I have no idea what I’m doing,” tell yourself “Everyone who starts something new feels off-base in the beginning. I may not know all the answers but I’m smart enough to find them out.” Instead of looking around the room and thinking, “Oh my God everyone here is brilliant…. and I’m not” go with “Wow, everyone here is brilliant – I’m really going to learn a lot!”
Do what professional athletes do. Spend time beforehand picturing yourself making a successful presentation or calmly posing your question in class. It sure beats picturing impending disaster and will help with performance-related stress.
Break the cycle of continually seeking °© and then dismissing °© validation outside of yourself by learning to pat yourself on the back.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Now and then we all have to fly by the seat of our pants. Instead of considering “winging it” as proof of your ineptness, learn to do what many high achievers do and view it as a skill. The point of the worn-out phrase, fake it til you make it, still stands: Don’t wait until you feel confident to start putting yourself out there. Courage comes from taking risks. Change your behavior first and allow your confidence to build.
Here are my personal two recommendations:
Get into Affirmations
I am an avid believer in affirmations – I always speak goodness and meaning into my life. It reminds me of all the things and values which are important to me.
Surround yourself with a good team
Most of us crave a sense of belonging, and safety. Having a team that keeps us connected goes a long way. I am grateful to have mine.
If you are considering a career change or have recently made a career switch and want to just chat about it, feel free to drop me an email, and we can have a good chat about it [email protected].
All my love,
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