I Earned It: Working Through Imposter Syndrome
By Maggie Kerry
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]I[/dropcap] have always been the type of girl who felt content keeping to herself. I kept my ideas and my dreams locked away from the world. Everything changed when Erin Bagwell the director of Dream, Girl hired me on to work remotely as their Social Media Guru.
Working remotely is something that is completely new to me. It is also something that has been exciting and completely terrifying at the same time. As an introvert, this is literally the dream job. There was this sudden rush of adrenaline pumping through my veins. I wasn’t now only a part of an upcoming feminist film whose mission is to, “inspire the next generation of leaders” I was also a part of an upcoming movement for female entrepreneurs.
I was creating and posting really engaging content, promoting the women who were in the film– I was building an online community for Dream, Girl. For the first time in my life I was no longer content keeping to myself. I was feeling the sense of empowerment that I was longing for. The reality struck that my ideas and dreams were no longer these things that I needed to keep locked away. I was ready to open up about what I do for Dream, Girl. [divider type="short" spacing="10"]
[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]W[/dropcap]hen I started being more open about working for Dream, Girl, the response was nothing at all what I expected. I was either getting this look of utter confusion or they looked at me like I was completely full of shit. When you have to justify your abilities for the people around you to believe that your job is in fact a real thing, it begins to eat away your confidence layer by layer and you begin to question your self-worth.
I went from being really connected to my content to being completely detached. When Erin would reassure me that I was doing a really great job the only thought in the back of my mind was, “you are saying that until you find someone better.” I began to associate every milestone with luck rather than giving myself the credit I deserve for my hard work. I could no longer count the times on both hands that I desperately wanted to call Erin and tell her that I wasn’t good enough for this and that she was capable of hiring someone far more experienced than me. Then the worst happened– the tears started rolling down my face when I realized that I was a victim of imposter syndrome.
It wasn’t bad enough that I was already going through this intense and painful journey of emotions, but I felt like I was going crazy at the fact that what I was going through was real. Imposter syndrome is a real life thing. I felt really disappointed in myself and I still feel this sense of disappointment knowing that I could have done something to keep myself from getting to the point where I am right now.
To make a long story short, here are some things I have done to get through this:[divider type="dotted" spacing="10"]
Remove yourself from isolation.
This is the most important. You are going to feel a whole lot worse if you don’t. This was really hard for me to do as an introvert. Isolation is something that comes easy for someone like me, but you are not going to get through it if you keep hiding yourself from reality.[divider type="white" spacing="5"]
Find people that are going through the same thing.
Finding the support that you need is crucial. I found that support in our Tour Manager Diana Matthews. When you find even just that one person who is going through the exact same thing, you will feel more comfortable being open and talking about it. You become more honest with yourself and you will feel less ashamed.[divider type="white" spacing="5"]
Keep telling yourself about the reality of what you are a part of and embrace it.
For me that is the reality of working for a film that has over 200 upcoming screenings and counting around the world! THE WORLD! Holy shit![divider type="white" spacing="5"]
Remember the advice and encouragement everyone gives you.
A few words (the short version) that Prasanna Ranganathan told me, “To never lose hope and to be assertive. You are brilliant at what you do. You have got this!”[divider type="white" spacing="5"]
Share your story.
Duh! I feel so much better sharing the story that you are reading right now![divider type="short" spacing="10"]
To end this story, I know that I have ways to go before I get through this frame of mind completely and that is okay! I learned to remember that I got to where I am today because of my hard work. I deserve to be here and to be a part of Dream, Girl. I didn’t get lucky, I earned it.