I often suffer bouts of imposter syndrome.
I find it difficult to celebrate my wins when they don’t live up to my expectations of where I should be. Rather than look at what is good, I find myself focusing on what I’m struggling with.
I’m guilty of the very things I’m always encouraging people to transcend.
I’m a fraud!
I posed a question in the Afri-love Women group last week: what’s the best thing that has happened for you, so far this year. Who knew that such a seemingly simple question would challenge us so (me included)! From the silence in a usually quite vocal group, and from the responses I eventually did receive, I realised that this is a struggle that is shared amongst many!
Indeed, ever since Danielle and I set out to hold our first Afri-love Connection Club Everyday Wonderwomen event on imposter syndrome, it’s a topic that has been coming up everywhere I turn. In conversations at other events such as Dadasphere this past weekend and on the timelines of people I follow who are achieving amazing things.
So what is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome can be defined as:
“A collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.” [source: Harvard Business Review]
In preparation for our first panel on the topic, last week in Mombasa, we did a lot of reading and research on the topic. It was such a relief to find out that 70% of people will experience some level of imposter syndrome, at some point in their lives. It was also strangely affirming to hear that it’s common in high-achievers and perfectionists.
The Everyday Wonderwomen conversation exceeded my expectations. The vulnerability in the room – both from the panel and the audience – was so moving. It truly demonstrated what Brene Brown advocates so strongly – that vulnerability is powerful!
Some of the women in that room were inspired to go home and make bold, life-changing decisions.
I found encouragement that I’m not alone and I learned new strategies for shining, despite those feelings of self-doubt (stay tuned for more on this in part II). And once again I was encouraged to be bold (another recurring theme in my life right now).
Every day since that Mombasa event, I reflect on panelist Nadia Ahmed’s parting words:
Be your own vibe.
I’ve lost touch with my vibe. Establishing my business in Kenya has involved some changing course, some new offerings and new projects. My other full-time job – being a mum to a now 2-year old – has also consumed me. Rewarding as these are responsibilities are, I’ve not been so good at maintaining a healthy personal life outside of them. So that is my mission for the rest of this year (and this life!). To intentionally reconnect with my vibe, own it and live it hard!
This is why I absolutely love the Afri-love Connection Club community we’ve created – or shall I say, attracted. At each meeting and at each event, I get to meet and spend time with other ambitious and passionate women. They remind me that I’m not alone, they inspire me and they encourage me. As much as I co-faciliate the space and am often the one creating and delivering content, I also receive so much!
If you want to join our membership this August, we’re opening the doors for applications on Monday 15th – Monday 29th July. Sign up to our mailing list and be the first to get all the details.
If you’re in Nairobi, come join the imposter syndrome discussion on Wednesday 17th July. Sign up here.
So what’s your vibe? What’s your foundation? What makes you’re happy?