California Dreaming – Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome
This post is a mirror from http://renettatull.blogspot.com/, posted Tuesday, Aug. 4. It is also mirrored on my Facebook notes. Additional comments are posted there.
I am currently in California, attending meetings in Palo Alto. My first day caused me to reflect upon all of the things that I always tell my students: “Don’t be shy,” “Participate in the conversation,” and “You belong.” It’s interesting that even as an adult, I suddenly had a touch of the “Imposter Syndrome” http://www.impostersyndrome.com/! I was in a meeting outside of my discipline, and other than two colleagues, I was with people whom I didn’t know, in a very unfamiliar place, among unfamiliar conversation. So I took a deep breath and since I have been in this position before, having gone to many conferences, I introduced myself and within minutes felt like myself again. I’m thankful for all of the practice throughout the year and for remembering that I’m not supposed to have fear anyway (2Tim 1:7)! The next day, my colleagues repeated told *their* colleagues, “She’s our Assistant Dean, she has the money.” It was then that I smiled again and remembered that I had a worthy place in the room!
So this message/post is to my students. Sometimes, even when I get up to the mic to speak before a crowd, I still get those little butterflies and hope that my voice won’t shake. But even in front of a crowd of thousands, I remember my dreams where I am standing tall and confident, and I’m always grateful that my prayers are answered when my voice comes out and sounds clear as a bell. I may drill certain ways of doing things when I’m teaching you soft skills that must accompany your scholarship – “Stand tall, ” “Project your voice,” “Give more eye contact,” and more. And perhaps when your turn comes, you may not be one of the few, or the only woman, or person of color in the room. Hopefully, it won’t matter. But whether it does or not, always remember your training, your worth, and that you are there for a reason, even if God is the only one who knows the purpose.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (I Timothy 1:7)