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The Imposter Free Zone

08/19/2019

Written by Leonora Miller, Vice President of Project Execution for Global Technology, JPMorgan Chase

You have studied; you’ve worked hard and have earned your seat in the room.

Embrace the Opportunity

Imposter syndrome is bigger than a buzz phrase, it is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments or have a consistent fear that they will be exposed as a fraud.  Non-traditional students who are moving from the classroom to the corporate world may experience imposter syndrome. 

There is no doubt during your career journey - there will be times where imposter syndrome rears its ugly head. Let us take a moment to think back on your 1st day at Zip Code Wilmington, a time when you relocated to a new neighborhood or simply changed your personal style.  How did you feel about achieving that goal?  It will be important for one to reflect on the hard work and accomplishments that afforded you the opportunity.  It was during those times you made a decision to do something because you had a goal or need. 

As a seasoned professional, I can tell you without doubt that both I, as well as many of my peers, have experienced imposter syndrome; yet we simply had not given it a title.  At some point in our careers, we pressed through learning new tools, meeting new customers and spending countless hours preparing for the presentation.  Even after spending a considerable amount of time striving for perfection, doubt still found a way to creep in at times, leading to second-guessing ourselves and qualifications.  We found ways to move beyond those moments, pressing forward as well as use those lessons to coach others.

One must always remember you were selected for a reason and embrace the season.

Dream Big

In high school, my dream was to attend New York University and be a computer science graduate.  Although my dream did not unfold as originally planned, I never stopped dreaming.

As a first-generation minority female college student, I am sure that imposter syndrome could have crippled not only my career but also my life.  As a single teenage parent, my journey included several financial and personal hardships. While I worked various jobs, picked up extra hours and studied hard to earn a degree and pay raise, I watched others around me simply excel in life with little effort.   Clearly, statistics would have you believe that a teenage mother’s future would consist of low wages, a limited education and bleak career opportunities.  However, my faith, knowledge, hard work, perseverance and a dynamic network helped me to soar to where I am today. 

I am often asked if I got a seat at a table because I’m a minority.  My response is “NO.” I am a qualified professional who just happens to be a minority female.  When I reflect on the hurdles I have overcome, it boosts my confidence to know I have earned the role and the seat at the table.  

Modify your dream if necessary but do not stop dreaming!

You have what it takes

As you continue the journey of life, remain positive, strong and remind yourself you have worked hard, and you are not an imposter.  During those self-doubt moments reflect on your many accomplishments that afforded you the opportunity.   Take a moment to pause and embrace the greatness inside of you.  We all have unique qualities that make us who we are and we tend to deliver better when we are our authentic self.  Strive to not over think what others think of you because the opinions of others can become mentally and physically unhealthy.   Work with great integrity, lean in and continue learning to expand your career toolkit.

Be Authentic – Be the Best You!

Tips to guide you to thrive

  • Identify a trusted partner where you can be fully transparent and gain advice
  • Journal your accomplishments
  • Be confident and remain humble
  • Remind yourself you’ve earned the opportunity
  • Establish a professional network
  • Join an employee resource group

 

Leonora Miller is employed by JPMorganChase and is the author of “be the Change” a 30-day journey towards a new you.

 

 

 

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