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Help! I’m An Impostor!

It was my first day of work as an intern. I was so excited and looked forward to meeting with my supervisors and co-workers. I was especially excited to meet with clients. I finally had the opportunity to show off all the skills I have learned and soak up as much knowledge as I could.

I set out my clothes the previous night and woke up bright and early, ready to start my next adventure. I parked my car, walked into the office and introduced myself to the receptionist, “Hello, My name is Tiwa and I am the new intern.”.

The director had set up a staff meeting for introductions and the onboarding process. All training staff was present and after a short speech, they introduced themselves. One after the other, they spoke about their years of experience in the field;

Person 1: Hi, I am Dr. *Name withheld* and I have been in the field for 12 years. I worked at *place* for 9 years and have worked with a diverse set of clients.

Person 2: Hello, I am Dr. *Name withheld* and I own a private practice and x amount of businesses. I have also worked in academia and have won grants for my research. It would be nice if we can set up a meeting soon to discuss your research interests.

Person 3: Hi, I am Dr. *Name withheld* and I have written x amount of papers and have x amount of awards.

As the introductions went on and each person talked about their work and accomplishments, I felt a warm flush all over my body, my heart started beating faster and I couldn’t stop the racing thoughts, “What am I doing here?”, “I don’t belong here”, “I can’t do half of what they do” and “I hope I don’t make a fool of myself.” I felt like an imposter, regardless of my success and qualifications. I felt like all the compliments and positive feedback I got was me being patronized. My confidence suddenly vanished and I didn’t know what to do. It’s too late to turn back now.

Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a fraud who doesn’t belong where you are. It is feeling like a fraud who is about to be found out. A person with impostor syndrome believes that they got there by dumb luck and not by their own qualifications. They look at the accomplishments of those around them and minimize their own success. They often feel like they have to play a role for as long as they can, until they “blend in” so no one notices.

If you have ever or currently feel this way, below is a list of 10 things to do to get rid of impostor syndrome.

  1. Talk about it: You are not alone! Talk about your experience with a trusted person. You will be surprised how many people experience this. Even those you look up to.

  2. Appreciate how far you’ve gotten: You are not here by error. Youve worked hard to be where you are and have earned your place at the table with other great people.

  3. Remember it’s a process: Take the time to learn as much as you can along the way. Enjoy the process!

  4. Be open to the lessons you learn along the way: Learn from your mistakes and build from there. Every great business man has loads of failed businesses.

  5. Look back and list all your accomplishments: Write down all the things you have accomplished and give yourself credit.

  6. Don’t be a perfectionist: No one is perfect. Enjoy being human :)

  7. Talk with your mentor: Get a mentor who has been in your shoes. Ask for guidance and be transparent about your journey.

  8. Get out of your comfort zone: Growth is an uncomfortable process. Say yes to opportunities. Try new things. You would never know what your strengths are until you face challenges.

  9. Confront your feelings with facts



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