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  • Writer's pictureCardinal Fern

Harnessing the POWER of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome haunts the edge of all I do. For those who don't know what imposter syndrome is, it is the belief that someone will call you out because maybe you truly don't know what you are doing. It sucks. I have been in the marketing space for fifteen years, and yet there is a tiny voice that says, "This is the time someone is going to call you out. Maybe you don't know what you are doing." Imposter syndrome doesn't make sense, I have numbers to back up that I know what I am doing, positive feedback and the gut feeling that I know what I am doing is right. But that voice is still there.

No more.

I am decided on a horrific run recently that I am going to HARNESS the ugly imposter syndrome to my advantage. And you can too.

Here are the steps that I hastily came up with to distract myself from my lungs and legs burning during my run. (And yes that damn voice is still telling me I am wrong, I don't know what I am doing, but screw that.)

  1. Acknowledge that it is there. Yes, that voice is telling me no. That voice is telling me I don't know what I am doing. Whatever, it is just a voice.  Not a person, not something concrete. Ignore it. Ignore it like you do the laundry. Ignore it like you do the dishes. Just simply tell it to stop talking.

  2. Flip it on its head. So it thinks you don't know what you are doing? Act like every project is brand new to you. Leave the other projects in the past. You won't leave behind what you know works, but looking at each project as an independent thing is greatly helpful, especially in marketing. What worked for one company isn't going to work for another. No cookie cutter approach here.

  3. Take on new challenges. You don't think you know what you are doing day-to-day? (When clearly you do, you are doing it.) And your day-to-day isn't scary, walking into the unknown can be exciting, as Elsa taught us. Take on new challenges, whatever they be. You can't reject a project simply because you don't know what to do - remember that voice is telling you don't know how to do anything. But you do.

  4. Surround yourself with people in different areas. Not only do you see things differently, you can build each other up with the amazing things that you have accomplished. Win-Win.

  5. Surround yourself with people who don't hold their experience over you. They have five more years of experience? Great, but that shouldn't dismiss your ideas, your experiences. I am not saying throw experience out the door, but acknowledging it, and learning from it is vastly different than doing things the way they have always been done simply because that's how it has always been done.

  6. You are going to suck at something. I am not good at SEO, at kickboxing classes, and giving up caffeine. Acknowledge that you can't do everything, nor should you and find the people that are and either learn from them, or let them do their job.

  7. Lastly, ignore the haters. I have people tell me that I can't do something my entire life. I worked on a construction crew one summer. Want to talk about a whole host people who don't think you can do something? Walk onto a job site of all men as the only woman. Screw that. I know what I am doing. Ignoring them now. It isn't easy. Those little jabs are there, needling me into giving in. Acknowledge their opinion, and promptly dismiss them. Trust me, it is very freeing.

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