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Overcoming my imposter syndrome.


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https://www.linkedin.com/in/latifa-winston/

I never thought I’d get to the stage on my career where I was *actually* excited to go in on a Monday. I couldn’t fathom not feeling like a fraud or an imposter – even though I was doing the job every day, seeing the positive results of my work and receiving positive feedback from my managers.

No matter what it was, it just didn’t feel like enough – I felt that I wasn’t enough. That’s where the ‘imposter syndrome’ kicked in. I thought that at any given moment, there would be some sort of ‘GOTCHA!” moment and I’d be exposed for how rubbish I really am and eventually fired.

Coming from a working-class background, it has been so important to me to build a career that allows me to live a comfortable life, progress up the ranks but doing something that I genuinely enjoyed. I fell into recruitment after doing an apprenticeship in my early career because unlike my peers who seemed to have it all ‘figured out’ by going to university and following their passions, I seemed to have no clue what I wanted to be when I grew up.

To my surprise, I loved recruitment, the buzz of the office with the phones ringing, the early mornings the late evenings – I felt a bit ‘Wolf on Wall Street’ type of vibes. But quickly, I found myself getting in my head, feeling down after seeing the successes of others whilst struggling to piece together how to strike enough deals to make my desperately desired commission. 

At that point, I’d moved around to a couple other recruitment agencies and there were peaks and troths to my progress, but one thing stayed the same – I constantly compared myself to others, which lead into the constant feeling of being an ‘imposter’.

One day, I was mindlessly scrolling on social media and I came across a post from one of my followers, who happened to also be one of the top billers at my company. The post was about ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and how to overcome it. This was the first time that I had read a post anything similar to that ‘phony’ feeling I had inside. And it comes from someone that I see as successful and makes this HARD job look so easy. It made me feel like, for the first time in my career, I wasn’t the only person who feels this way. There are other people who also feel like they’re not the full package. (I mean who is anyway?).

This was the first time that comparing myself to someone else actually helped me. How you ask? Well, I was able to re-look at my situation from a different perspective. I slowly started to embrace failure – because getting something wrong the first time or not understanding something straight away doesn’t mean that I’ve failed, I’ve only failed if I give up in that moment. I am only going to get better by learning where I went “wrong” and trying a new method next time.

I also started to realise that maybe the environment I am in isn’t for me. And that’s OK. That doesn’t make me rubbish at my job, it doesn’t mean I have to change my career path completely. It just meant that I needed to re-evaluate my current circumstances and embrace the parts of me that make me, me. “If you plant a flower in a cold dark room, you can’t be annoyed at the flower if it doesn’t grow, it’s not the fault of the flower, it’s the fault of the environment it is in.”

From that moment on, my view of work completely changed. I went from dreading going in every day and having the ‘Sunday scaries’ every week, to embracing challenges. Recognising my own strengths and playing to those. And remembering that everyone, myself included, is a work in progress, winging everyday of life, with our own internal struggles, trying our very best. So please, don’t be too hard on yourself. Be kinder to yourself. Speak to yourself in a way that you would speak to your closest friend – with compassion and kindness.

Always remember, seek help if you are struggling. Talk to others where you can, there a plethora of mental health charities and services if the internal struggle is deeper than any self-help can do.

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We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.
We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.