The feeling of imposter syndrome can come in many different shapes and sizes, especially for Black professionals working in tech.
Christine (‘Tine) Zekis, a backend software engineer at Chime, has considered herself an “imposter,” and she has mastered how to conquer the feeling that most consider uncomfortable. Zekis plans to take a deep dive into this topic at the upcoming 2021 AfroTech Conference on a panel titled “Imposter Syndrome: Slaying the Beast.”
VeryWell Mind defines imposter syndrome as an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. People often feel self-doubt, sabotage their success, overachieve and set challenging goals when experiencing imposter syndrome. While Black professionals may experience imposter syndrome the most, the phenomenon doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone.
Zekis said she feels imposter syndrome often, and overcoming it is a constant battle. As a result of her imposter syndrome, she has had to turn down speaking opportunities at conferences because she overbooked and overextended herself in the past. Zekis said she was feeling exhausted and had to recognize that she was experiencing imposter syndrome, driving her to overwork herself.
“It’s important to remember that experiencing imposter syndrome is not an indication that a person is untalented or undeserving of their successes,” Zekis told AfroTech. “In fact, there are lots of notable, talented, and widely lauded people who have described their own imposter syndrome.”
If you feel like you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, start picking up habits like tracking your accomplishments, listing out the assets you bring to your work and maybe grabbing a mentor who will reassure you of your capabilities.
The Warning Signs
Here are some warning signs Zekis shared to identify imposter syndrome:
- You have difficulty accepting praise.
- You feel the need to be the best.
- The fear of failure can paralyze you.
- You’re convinced you aren’t enough.
Those are just a few, but if you want to find out more warning signs, tune into Zekis panel at AfroTech 2021 kicking off on Nov. 8.