Growing up between two brothers and all close family friends having sons, I was fearless. I had the mindset that I could do anything that they could. I could ride my big wheel down the steep hill and jump the ramp just like the boys. I could throw, shoot, and hit a ball just like them – or even better. This mindset carried me through my college years. I could do anything!
After graduating college and starting my career, I was ready to conquer the world. With only two years of experience working on accounting teams in Atlanta, I moved Dallas to work in the technology industry. Little did I know that I would be the first female at my company not in an administrative role. Through the years I have noticed that doubt had started to creep into my mindset and was chipping away at my confidence as I saw men advancing faster and receiving the high-profile projects.
When I did receive a promotion, I felt undeserving and afraid that one mistake would show that I was not the right person for the job. I had a mindset that I had to be flawless and make everything look effortless. I worried what people would think of me if I took a misstep. I was afraid I was not good enough. Suddenly that fearless girl was nowhere to be found.
I would later learn that I was suffering from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a belief that you are inadequate and incompetent, despite evidence that indicates you are skilled and quite successful. Since I saw the men in my company advancing faster, I thought I was failing. My imposter syndrome had me underestimating my experience and expertise and not realizing that everyone makes mistakes.
Like many people in the technology space, I lost my position after 20 years of service due to an acquisition. To start over is a humbling experience. At first, the imposter syndrome came back with vengeance. I had to squash the negative self-thinking. I had to replace “I am not qualified” with “they recruited me.” I have 20 years of experience and expertise in enterprise software, starting as a customer and working my way through support, professional services, and the cloud. I had a lot to offer and deserved the position I had secured!
Worrying about making mistakes and what others would say kept trying to haunt me. I had to remind myself that everyone makes mistakes, including me and those around me. It is what I learn from those mistakes and how I move forward from them that is important.
I decided to share my story to help others realize that if you have that same voice in your head telling you that you’re not worthy, don’t listen! I also want to thank JDA for the opportunity to be relentless in the next phase of my career. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from legendary college basketball coach John Wooden: “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
I am enough.
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