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Five Tips To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

4 Min Read
Career

Impostor syndrome — that feeling that you're "a fraud" or that your success is not deserved — has grown new wings during this pandemic. While most of us have experienced impostor syndrome at some point in our careers — it's estimated that more than 70% of people will feel the symptoms — I've heard from so many women who are now questioning their worth and value when they have never before. The reason? We are all overtaxed.

If you're a project management whiz, your focus can be shaky right now, which leaves you contemplating your value. If relationship management is your forte, doing so virtually is a completely new skill set to learn. If you've always delivered 110% effort at work but your caregiving responsibilities now put that at about a 60, you're contemplating if you're going to get fired.

Don't worry. No one is going to "find you out" anytime soon. Because you are worth all of the success and praise you come by in life. And, in these unprecedented times, you need to cut yourself some slack. Recently, I spoke at an event with Karen Sunderam of UBS and Christmas Hutchinson of Verizon Media about how to help women stop the impostor syndrome shame cycle. Here are some of my favorite tips from the evening:

Don't worry. No one is going to "find you out" anytime soon. Because you are worth all of the success and praise you come by in life.

Create a "smile file" full of positive feedback and accomplishments that can remind you of how competent you are.

When you're deep in the dregs of impostor syndrome, it can be so easy to focus on everything you've done wrong, all the reasons you "shouldn't" be where you are, or all of the things that people who aren't you are doing right now. It can be really hard to pull yourself out of this state without any greater frame of reference. But, whether you realize it or not, the proof of your success is very real. A "smile file" can be anything you need it to be — from a simple note in your phone with positive reminders about yourself, a collection of feedback from your colleagues, or a list of your professional successes. You could even have a physical folder with print-outs of your accomplishments and photos from major events you've attended.

Surround yourself with colleagues or friends (a "personal board of directors") with whom you can share your impostor syndrome struggles.

It's not easy to support yourself alone! Sometimes you just need to vent. And the best part is, not only can you commiserate on impostor syndrome struggles with them but these people will also be there to boost your confidence despite every fear or insecurity you may have to let out. Even the famous author Maya Angelou, who has long been lauded as a literary genius, experienced imposter syndrome: "I have written eleven books, but each time I think, uh oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out."

But, whether you realize it or not, the proof of your success is very real.

Put things in perspective to feel less paralyzed — weigh the costs of potential mistakes and rejections.

If you ever find yourself on the precipice of an impostor syndrome spiral, try to take the situation out of context and out of your own personal feelings, and consider how you would respond to the experience if a friend were sharing their story with you. In this context, you may be better able to weigh the outcomes with a level head rather than letting yourself get lost in negativity and self-doubt.

Address the root cause. Ask yourself, "Why am I telling myself this story?"

If this is the first time you're experiencing impostor syndrome, it's most likely due to the stressful situation we find ourselves in right now. If it's happened before, keep some tips in your back pocket to halt the progress of impostor syndrome as it's occurring. However, at some point, you have to think about why these feelings keep coming up in the first place. When you have a moment of clarity, try to dig deep and figure out why you keep selling yourself short. What part of your history or psychology keeps leading you back to impostor syndrome? If you're having trouble untangling this on your own, maybe call on the help of your "personal board of directors" or seek professional guidance from a therapist.

Don't write off the positive effects of impostor syndrome (e.g. humility), just keep the negative ones in check.

Try to find a silver lining in this situation. Yes, impostor syndrome comes with a lot of struggles, but sometimes it's okay to look at the bright side of a bad situation. Feeling like an imposter is a sign that you're truly progressing and challenging yourself in your field. If you stayed in the same place all the time, you'd always feel comfortable. It's only when you're growing that you may start to question yourself. Keep the negative responses to imposter syndrome down by reminding yourself of all the positive things it signals about your journey.

If this is the first time you're experiencing impostor syndrome, it's most likely due to the stressful situation we find ourselves in right now.

So the next time you're thinking, "Why me?" or "I don't deserve this praise," stop yourself, think back to this list, and celebrate all that makes you you.

This article was originally published May 18, 2020.

3 Min Read
Career

Black LGBTQ Woman Powerhouse Launches Vegan Cosmetics Line

I am a proud Black business owner carrying a line of lip colors for the woman who wants to shine. At Vatarie Cosmetics you can find cruelty-free and vegan lip care products, including clear lip gloss and liquid matte lipsticks. The line is still under development, so there are more products in the making that you'll hear more about soon!

My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe.

About Leticia

I have worked my way into my entrepreneurial career as I did not come from money. The goal of my cosmetic line is to bring excitement to everyone who tries the line. My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe. I believe that with added makeup and a good set of threads, anybody can confidently face the world. I am a proud and firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and a proud member and supporter of the LGBTQIA community.

There have been plenty of hardships that I have had to face throughout my entire life, the most recent being the recent death of my father who passed far too soon. I have never allowed these hardships to deter me, and won't start now. I will continue to progress and work hard to build my business, knowing that this is what my father would have wanted.

About the Vatarie Line: What It's All About

Upon launching the line, I had the mission of inspiring every human to find their inner beauty and to have fun along the way. With this in mind, my products are designed for people of all genders, races, religions, and creeds. The Vatarie line will have more to offer customers very soon as I am continually working on developing products and expanding the line. In addition to the lip colors currently offered, the line will soon include highlighters, eyeshadows, and new lip gloss additions.

I believe that no one needs makeup to validate themselves, and we are all beautiful on our own. I do believe, though, that makeup can make life a lot more fun. Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness. Sometimes all we need to change our moods and get away from that darkness is something to help us feel better and more vibrant — this is where a pop of makeup and a well put together outfit can really make an impact.

Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness.

I encourage everybody to embrace their inner beauty and inner style, and express themselves no matter what. My line of products is inspired by high fashion and designed to make a bold statement. The running theme across my products is empowerment at every stage and level. I create products that make my customers feel happy, and I ensure I am happy myself with my products before I release every single one. There is no place for cutting corners as I believe in producing the highest quality product.

I bring my sense of humor and quirky personality into my products and you can see this in the names of each item. Take the lip color "Blood Money," which signifies all the money, tears, sweat, and yes, blood that was put into the brand. Let me tell you, it was hard work, and it still is hard work, but at the end of the day, it fulfills me to know the type of quality I am providing. It gives me great pride to create a line of legendary products that will positively affect someone and bring them to a place of self-love and acceptance.

About the Past that Gives My Business Meaning

I have struggled over the years with mental abuse that has left me feeling as if "I wasn't enough." Added to that, being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

Coming from a broken home, my family struggled with addiction, making my entire childhood a miserable nightmare. My mother abandoned us as she was being physically abused, and it was up to us the kids to do everything necessary to take care of the home and each other. We eventually ended up living with my grandmother in Miami, Florida. At a very young age, I had to endure physical and mental abuse and was locked up. At the age of 22, I lost my younger sister to gun violence and found myself raising her one-year-old son as my own.

Being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

While my past was a rough one, it is what has made me the strong, independent, and vibrant woman I am today. That woman strives to be her best every day and works tirelessly to provide a line of only the best cosmetics products. I couldn't see this while I was living through those bad situations and struggling to grow up, but I can look back and see how I was made more resilient because of my hardships.

As I grieve over my father's recent passing, I become stronger. It is this added personal strength that will push me forward in everything I do and will be reflected in my work ethic and in the development of new products for my Vatarie line of cosmetics.