A Seat at the Table

I think one of my favorite things about the digital age is the ability to find a name for any experience you're facing. I doubt that 10 years ago anyone had given a name to the inability to internalize accomplishments; thankfully, someone came up with "imposter syndrome" and the sentiment has stuck. This is referenced frequently by women working in STEM fields, and I think it's something anyone in the modern workplace can relate to at some point in their career. Feeling like you don't belong in your given profession can be discouraging at best and kill your enthusiasm at worst. Even with all the qualifications and accolades, self-doubt can undermine everything you do. The question is: how do I make this better? No one wants to feel under-qualified, but how do you take that feeling and turn it into a tangible solution?

Two things to consider are that 1.) no one knows what they're doing really, and 2.) people who don't know what they're doing can still manage to be crazy successful. I'm quick to get caught up in feeling like I don't have it all together — but no one does! I think it might be the plight of the human (and especially of the woman) to consistently feel that others are better/more qualified/more responsible/etc...but just because your seat at the table is uncomfortable doesn't mean you should give it up.

The beautiful thing is that speaking freely about struggles opens the door to collaboration and finding the answers. Mentors can be great resources for this, and so can podcasts, blogs, interviews, books with strong leads, or just sharing your thoughts with friends. Surrounding yourself with input that builds confidence and reassures you will do wonders for your career and your self-efficacy.

Don't let yourself fall into a pit of self-doubt, or think of yourself as an imposter in your career. Not everyone knows what they're doing, but if you don't let that stop you wonderful things can happen.

UncategorizedAmanda McDowell