Against All Personal Odds — You Got This!

For as long as I can remember imposter syndrome and self-doubt had been significant players against me in the game called life. Sometimes, I wonder how I got this far. I’m reminded when I see my reflection in the mirror, and I look down and see the sweat & tears that have soaked my blouse sleeves, from the countless attempts to mop my brow and keep propelling forward in pursuit of my aspirations. It is a reminder that the road taken in the quest of one’s dreams is often a long and arduous one, and as for me and I’m sure for you, the journey isn’t over yet, there are paths still to be trodden!

Demystifying my own myths

What has helped me gain confidence is looking hard at where my feelings come from. For example, I lost a lot of confidence during my PhD, after being told I wasn’t capable of finishing. That person didn’t have my interests at heart, and it was a toxic environment. It’s was not true that I don’t belong, but someone felt that they could tell me so. In all honesty, it’s really, really hard to untangle those feelings, and they can often tend to haunt you. 
Having understood them for what they are, and building from small successes gave me the confidence to build from on from my accomplishments and look to face the future head-on.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

I’ll be honest asked to do things my brain immediately goes… ‘WHAT I am very underqualified to do this surely there has been some mistake I should recommend someone else to do this task!’ ‘I need more time, then I can get this perfect…knowing full well the time frame I’m thinking about is infinite, because think is far too big for me” Or at some point, someone will find out I’m not meant to be here”. This is the voice of my imposter syndrome, not reality or facts.

Luckily, after a quick pep talk and words from the wise (mentors and peers), they convince me otherwise. “In this case, you ARE qualified for X,” and even if I’m not A leading expert or star pupil, it’s okay, there is still something I can bring to the table! At the very least that can be moral support for others.
So It’s feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.

Here are my 3 take-home tips for you:

Tip №1 — Confidence is your amour.
Confidence beats trumps competence every day of the week!
Chin-up mate! Haven’t you heard that confidence is king…take advice from @amyjccuddy strike a power pose!

How I present myself is very closely related to my confidence, or how I find my courage. How I feel about myself is my ‘armour. So taking care of me is a priority. Of course, people assume things from this first impression which are both good and bad — women shouldn’t have to dress a certain way to be perceived as competent. Once dress respectably, how I feel and what I wear is all part of my amour of confidence. 
Put the best you forward, what have you got to lose?

Another tip — Get a support network or gain the necessary skills.
Networking and peer support are powerhouses!

Struggling with imposter syndrome and anxiety left me at odds for so long. “I don’t have experience in X, how on Earth could I do Y!” I felt I fell short by a lot of people’s standards. 
Life is the biggest lesson, through experiences, big or small will always have the opportunity to learn, if not about myself then about others. The networks you establish gives the chance to communicate with others and learn from their mistakes and successes, as well as gain tips on do’s and don’t’s. So finding a supportive network or community that truly understands your experiences is incredibly important!

Upskilling is Queen! or King! In the words of Jolt.io “It not about learning once and learning one thing,” that’s because success in the 21st century is being multi-verse or in other words multi-hyphenated (Emma gannon @emmagannon) in many skills and assets (@CodeFirstGirls& @codebar). It is honestly being ready & prepare for anything!

Find other like-minded people and stick in their corner! This support network looks different for everyone, there are one to two key players, you need to have almost on speed dial whenever you need a little help. Especially if they’re not in physical proximity to you on a weekly\monthly basis (which can be a luxury). If you want to go somewhere, you have to move in the direction that is forward, it always helps to have others that encourage you, but are also aiming and striving for a similar destination and are there for the journey. @ThisIsYSYS, @BYPNetworkApp, nontechtech @ada’s list…etc. These are just some of the few.

Final tip — be kinder, be gentler to yourself.
Life is a learning curve! Things sometimes don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay!

In some case, it’s a matter of harnessing and fostering positive thoughts. You’re not weak! Yes — you did that task correctly! 
Well done. Or yes I failed, but it’s not the end, what can I learn to do better then move on. It’s a matter that failure is not a bad thing, although there is a bad stigma around failing. It’s a matter of your perspective, once you do. Failure is always an opportunity to learn!

Set things in place for next time should you get the chance. Or map out what you learned from the experience. Don’t be discouraged by small hiccups, with effort and time normal get better. 
Celebrate small wins, have go-to motivational quotes, keep a log of past successes. Against odds find ways that suit you to stay positive.

So my faithful readers, here’s to championing today, tomorrow & next week! You got this!

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The start of 2019 has fuelled my ambition to help others. I am women on a mission to change how we approach and deal with mental health & wellbeing in the workplace (and our communities). Removing the stigma & finding practial solutions to deal with it. www.artful.me.uk
I’d love to hear for you, if you in general, more so if are a founder, CEO, HR person or team lead, I would love to hear from you at mysupport@artful.me.uk — I have just joined Twitter, follow me or DM me there @julz_jay, I’d like to continue a conversation with you.

Thanks for reading — Dr Julia Jones.x