By Ryan Velez
Many people of all types have had to deal with the feelings of impostor syndrome throughout their careers, that little nagging feeling that you are a fraud and don’t belong in the position you’re in. Even legendary figures like Maya Angelou have fallen victim to this feeling. For people of color, it may be even more difficult, especially if you don’t see a lot of people like you in your field or at your level in a company. Black Enterprise offers some meaningful advice to help you cope with this issue.
The key to handling impostor syndrome isn’t trying to attack it as a concept. Instead, target the thoughts and behaviors that it causes that impede you from meeting your full potential. For example, procrastination may be a sign that you are pushing back goals out of fear that you won’t get support or will end up failing. To counter this, don’t try to ignore your fear, but accept it. This is a natural part of the human mindset, and working with it is a good counter to self-sabotage.
Another example is being afraid to speak up for yourself, especially in moments when it matters like company meetings. Over time, you may end up finding yourself missing out or opportunities or presenting an image of being uninterested if you find yourself with nothing to say. One of the best things you can do is treat your confidence like a muscle, and give it time to be flexed. Try to ask for meeting agendas ahead of time to give you extra time to try and put together questions of your own or relevant points to the discussion.
Another thing you want to get into the habit of doing is sharing your work. Adopt an experimental mindset and look at everything as a test and opportunity to gather feedback which improves your ideas. Remember, even Facebook got started on a Harvard campus. Today, features are often tested with smaller audiences before moving up to a larger one. Don’t be afraid to employ that same mindset with your own concepts in business. If things go wrong, try not to get hung up on blaming outside factors, but try and convert them into learning opportunities.