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Beating Imposter Syndrome: How I Built a New Life in China, South Africa, and Egypt


Whether you’re embarking on a new path or a seasoned hand, we’ve all experienced imposter syndrome, especially now that we are living in a world of immense uncertainty. It’s easy to psych yourself out thinking about how an anonymous “other” is more prepared, more capable, or better suited than you. Perhaps it showed up before a job interview, a speaking opportunity, a salary negotiation, or in relation to a latent dream you’re hesitant to say out loud. What has imposter syndrome cost you?


I used to battle with it, only to have it pop up again in a new circumstance, new job, or new city. I spent a year in a job that undervalued me because I was scared to ask for more. I delayed starting my own business because I couldn’t conceive of being a businesswoman. It’s a sneaky beast that seems to follow like a shadow, but it doesn’t have to.


I discovered a few key strategies that knock it out every time. Once I stopped asking “can I?” and just started doing, I changed my life. I moved from Chicago to NYC to Beijing to Bangkok to Cape Town to Cairo. Three continents in three years, often with no job and minimal savings before arriving in a new place and making it my own (i.e. finding a job and a place to live and building a community). I have made incredible friends and memories, and I have the peace of mind knowing what the big ‘what ifs’ in my life look like, because I commit to living them out.


So, how do I do it? These are the strategies I rely on when self-defeating thoughts pop up for me:


  • Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this self-doubt resourceful? Whether or not it’s true, what kind of energy or action does this thought create? If it’s not resourceful, what’s a thought that is?

  • Who does it serve to back out of this opportunity?

  • What’s possible if I let myself truly go for this opportunity?

  • What am I afraid of? What’s the worst that could happen? And how might that still be a good thing?

  • Hire a coach. We all have blindspots, and so working with a coach is invaluable to helping you clear mental space to move forward faster. I have a coach, and my coach has a coach! You can’t do surgery on yourself.

  • Ask for feedback. Talking to friends or family we trust can be a phenomenal way to boost self-confidence as well as identify areas for growth so that you feel fully prepared for the opportunity at hand.

  • Prepare. The more you prepare, the more material you have to substantiate your confidence.

  • Throw yourself into the deep end, sink or swim.

  • Ask for help. It can be a gift to ask someone for help, as you are recognizing their knowledge or experience and valuing it. Perhaps it’s an introduction, a piece of insight, a recommendation, or a redirection. There’s no need to go it alone.


What if you didn’t have to worry about imposter syndrome? What would be different in your life? Where would you live or what would you do for work, where would you travel or what experience would you create for yourself?


In this webinar, we’ll explore how to recognize when imposter syndrome shows up in your life, how to redesign self-defeating thoughts into confidence, and how to leverage confidence for your future success. We will also share how these tools for self-exploration and transformation can be used to grow your relationships with colleagues and others. Finally, you’ll come away with resources and exercises to delve deeper into these areas on your own.


Author:

Diversity/ international coach: Jennifer Wells-Qu


Jennifer's mission as a coach, yoga teacher, and diversity trainer is to deconstruct the dominant narratives of success by helping people mindfully create a vision for the impact they want to have on the world and then generate a strategy to get there faster. She draw on my advanced degrees in race and gender, business acumen in tech startups and international non profits, yoga training, and life experience across 4 continents and 45 countries to help you discover your passions, talent, and a life you love.

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