My Struggle with Imposter Syndrome

This has been weighing on my heart lately and I’ve herd many people talk about it, but I think it’s hard for us to admit to it sometimes. For those of you that may have never herd of this before first, it is not a real “syndrome” it’s not medical or anything like that. Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you don’t belong. When you feel you’re too small for the shoes you’re in or aren’t good enough to run with the big dogs.

My imposter syndrome has hit me in many different aspects of my life. It hits me most at my job. I work with some of the smartest people in the world. I work with almost exclusively people who have PhD’s and many years of experience in very specialized fields. Most days I really don’t know how I got hired to the position I have, but I’m grateful everyday that I get to learn from some of the smartest people in this field.

You are not growing and learning if you are the smartest person in the room

-Michael Dell

The problem with this is that I constantly feel like the biggest idiot in the room. I did not do great in college. I struggled through my courses, I got them done and got my degree. I came into this job with minimal lab experience and a positive attitude and some of my coworkers treated me like I was a complete waste of their time. The culture of my work environment is very hostile to begin with (everyone is there for themselves and not there to help you) but it was especially hard when from the get-go I felt inferior to all of them. I’m not saying I measure up to them, but now I feel better about my job. I see the role I play, how I contribute and how smart I actually am.

How did I get to this point? Well… a lot of self pump up and some little wins.

Imposter syndrome can strike in so many ways. I feel it in my fitness journey, I feel it in my body type. I feel it as a private researcher in an industry I am just entering. I feel it as a spouse and as a podcaster. I feel it everyday! Does that stop me from exercising, showing off my curves, doing the work I love, or writing these blog posts? HELL NO!!!!!

There is no one out there telling me I don’t belong in any of these spaces. I have never once had someone tell me my blog sucks, I am a terrible chemist, that I’m not a hard worker, or anything like that! I am the only person telling myself that I don’t belong. Even if I did have someone else telling me that I don’t belong, unless it is someone who I deeply care about their opinion (which is approximately 5 people in my life), I would not let that stop me.

We talk ourselves out of so many things because we don’t believe we are capable of them, yet we never go out and try them! If we’re not monumentally successful we don’t see it as success! You have to love the small wins. The small wins will keep you going when the negative self talk comes up. You’ll think back to the time your best friend told you how smokin’ hot you are, the time someone told you how amazing the work you’re doing is, or how proud they are of you for following your dreams.

Putting yourself out there is hard, especially if you’re around the same age as me. I get told all the time that I “don’t know anything yet”, which is true. I don’t have the same life experience as anyone older than me, but even my grandmother could have felt imposter syndrome. We all get scared, we all feel not good enough at some point and that’s okay!

My advice is to give yourself grace, remind yourself of the small wins, and keep on going. I know on the days I suffer with this I feel so terrible, but I keep going and it got me from an Etsy store to a blog to college degree to a podcast and to a business. I hope it takes you to your dreams too.

Cheers!