Here’s the Problem With ‘Imposter Syndrome’
There’s a time and place for apologies and personally, this is something I’m still working on. I mean, I know how to (and want to, for the record!) apologize when I’ve done something wrong. But it’s those “I’m sorry” moments, especially in the workplace, that are totally unnecessary. If you’re an entrepreneur or creator, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It could be feeling bad for sharing a great idea in a room full of people with more experience than you or second-guessing outreach that could benefit your business or the common good of those around you. This feeling or mind state is routinely labeled “imposter syndrome,” except, is it fair or healthy to call ourselves imposters?
According to Sadie Kurzban, the answer is absolutely not.
During BlogHer Biz, the 305 Fitness founder inspired attendees with insight from her entrepreneurial journey, including why she chooses to not identify with imposter syndrome.
“[It’s] not because I have bulletproof confidence and I never walk into a room not feeling well prepared,” she said. The problem with this term is that it “conveys that there are certain people who are meant to be in certain positions of power and who are inherently more deserving of that.” And as we all know, the “deserving” type you typically see in these settings is white, male, and maybe ivy league-educated.
The success of 305 Fitness can be attributed to tactical expertise, however, Kurzban’s inherent belief in her own abilities is what anchored and continues to propel her brand forward. If you’re an entrepreneur, especially a woman or woman of color, rejecting imposter syndrome is a practice well worth trying. Gender and racial bias give us enough to fight against.
“Creativity—you have it. You have intelligence. You have resources. You have capacities. You have something special and unique to give the world. I don’t feel like an imposter even though this is my first business, even though I’ve made many mistakes,” she said. “Sometimes I hire people who are much older than me. They have much more experience but that doesn’t mean they’re any more deserving or that I’m any less deserving. I deserve to be here and I’m paving the way for more cracks to be made in the ceiling.”
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Retiring imposter syndrome isn’t an overnight thing, so don’t expect overnight results. You’ve got to work at it. If you’re in a high-pressure situation and the negative self-talk feels inescapable, try de-centering yourself. It’s a tactic that continues to serve Kurzban well.
“Just the sense of knowing not a lot of people look like me who are in these rooms that I’m in gives me so much courage. I feel like there’s a whole army of people behind me at all times and when I take myself out of it—it’s not about Sadie’s career success—am I gonna make a difference with my short life or not?”