Be Kind To Yourself

What does being kind to yourself have to do with mentorship and growing in biz skills?

Pretty much everything, pretty babies. Why? Because of impostor syndrome.

Forgive the bad grammar in that stock pic but you get the idea…

Do you regularly feel like you aren’t good enough? Do you read about a new job that sounds great — then read the qualifications and think, “Well, I could never apply for that job.” Do you see another gal in your field who has the bomb IG following going, the perfect style, all of the “things” and the impressive job and think… “Well, I could never be like her… and also, screw her.”

Welcome to Impostor Syndrome and identifying as a woman in the world of work. It’s even harder for those of us who are minorities. That whole “less than” thing has been historically baked in.

Check this article excerpt:

In Pacific Standard, Ann Friedman looks at impostor syndrome, the phenomenon by which high-achieving careerists feel unqualified for their jobs, regardless of the positive feedback they earn. Impostorism is “a nervous undercurrent that runs through your day-to-day experience, unacknowledged, only to crop up in salary negotiations or in small phrases like, ‘It might just be me but….’ or ‘Not sure I know what I’m talking about’

That excerpt looks at “high-achieving careerists,” but the feeling holds true across the board.

So… what to do about it?

First off, be kind to yourself. Turns out all the self doubt is normal. Congrats — you’re not an isolated weirdo, you’re totally normal! How would you talk to a younger person if they had fears about not being good enough? Talk to yourself that very same way. Give yourself pep talks — it’s not cheesy — it’s a matter of survival and your future.

Secondly, work on your confidence. If you don’t believe in you, nobody else will. This affects everything ranging from the jobs you land to the salary you negotiate. Lean in and listen closely: No job gives you a bad salary. You simply didn’t ask for more. (Feel free to slide into my DMs, if you don’t believe it.) Confidence isn’t fake and it’s not about ego. It’s not about how polished your external hype hustle works. It’s an inner knowing that you are valuable, you are loved and you will ask for more because you are worth it. Read books, practice affirmations and watch youtube videos on confidence. Do what you gotta do to get it down because “confidence is silent but insecurities are loud.”

Thirdly, cheer for other sisters in business. Did someone get a handout from their dad? Did someone land a job they’re not qualified for? Did someone get on a cover of a magazine? Who cares. The universe isn’t short on promotions and raises and magazine covers. When you focus on the competition and not on creation, you keep yourself back. When a runner is in a race, their competition gets the side eye — not their full attention. You know why? Their attention is on the finish line. If you focus on your competition, you’ll go backward. Keep your eye on the finish line.

Lastly, be gracious. Sometimes early attempts at confidence get misconstrued as thinking you and your work is better than everybody else. It’s fine to internally think that, but do not let that sentiment get expressed externally. In order to move up in the world, you have to be able to form alliances. How do you form alliances? Being kind to others. It’s not easy and sometimes you’ll make mistakes, but keep at it and it will get easier. (A lot of this ties into learning how to be a team player, something that can be difficult if you didn’t grow up playing sports.) Compliment other individuals and teams and colleagues on their work. Develop an interest in people for who they are and not what role they have. You will feel better about yourself and you might wind up with new friends.

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