For Colored Girls Who Are Unsure

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For Colored Girls who are unsure: Yes, Sis you are real and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise

 As women, particularly women of Color we are often second guessing ourselves. This week alone, I’ve convinced myself a few times that I’m not the right person for a particular activity, that I’m just not quite ready, and that I don’t have a specific expertise in a particular area. There have been too many past moments where I’ve told myself that “I’m staying in my lane”, when in reality I was holding myself back. Impostor syndrome is a battle that many of us fight daily… but it’s a fight that we cannot quit. Overcoming and/or resisting impostor syndrome is an absolute necessity.

So…. How do we resist this thing?

Here are a few ways I try to practice daily:

Keep track of accomplishments

  • Frequently write and reflect on your accomplishments. Taking the time to review the things we’ve accomplished, overcome, and lived through, reminds us of our greatness. Far too often, we are focused on our failures, or “opportunities for growth”. We are so focused on “getting better” or “fixing” ourselves that we fail to acknowledge all of the amazingness that is innately in us. I can almost guarantee that if you sit down and reflect, you’d realize that you are a boss! When you reflect and track your accomplishments, you’ll likely come to see you’ve grown in areas you did not realize; you’ve accomplished small wins, you have likely forgotten; and perfected skills both professionally and personally. There are a few ways to do this: 1) Journal: Each evening spend time journaling about what you’ve accomplished during that day (no matter how small… write it down!). Look over your journal periodically each month; 2) Accomplishments Jar: Keep a jar (I keep mine on my kitchen counter) and set of small post its or note cards. Every time you accomplish something or do something you are proud of, write it down and place it in the jar. At the end of the year before thinking about resolutions for the next year, go through the jar and celebrate all those wins from the previous year; 3) Maintain thank you cards: I try to keep every thank you card I receive, especially from students and colleagues. On my lowest of days, I go through the thank you cards and they remind me that sometimes me doing something is what makes the difference, and other times, my mere presence is the difference. No matter how you might do it…. Keep track of how you’ve grown, what you’ve accomplished, and the difference you’ve made in the lives other others, and allow these accomplishments to remind you that you are ENOUGH!

Sister Circles are a must

  • It’s waaaaaay too hard to try and live this life alone. Especially when working in higher education as a woman of Color, Sister Circles are a must. Whether they are created in a formal capacity, or they happen informally, it is vital for us to stay connected with one another, to support one another, and to speak life into one another. Such spaces help for us all to build a coutnernarrative to the imposter narrative. Surrounding ourselves with likeminded women who believe in us and feed our souls remind us how capable we are, but also pushes us and provides a safe space to receive tough love when needed. When in such spaces, be vulnerable and open to receiving positive affirmations, and tough love so that you can continue to thrive and grow.

Give yourself the space and grace to grow

  • For many, grace is a word that is associated with particular religious beliefs. In full honesty, this is the way I often use it. However, here I use it to mean space for mistakes. Every now and then ish hits the fan and sometimes it’s our fault. We didn’t do something the way we should have, we caused a program to fail, we made a misstep at some point…. Life happens. These moments do not decrease the awesomeness of who we are. Holding ourselves to unrealistic perfectionist standards, will always cause us to second guess who we are and what we are capable of. Yes it is important for us to put our best foot forward, AND it’s also important for us to give ourselves grace when our best foot doesn’t happen. There is no growth without discomfort or risk... growth gets messy. When trying new things and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones, it is incredibly likely that we will face mess-ups and cause mistakes. You are more than the choices you’ve made, more than the sum of your mistakes, and more than any problems you might create. No matter what happens, your voice still matters and your work is still valuable.

 

So let me tell you this…. In case you were unsure, have forgotten, or needed to be reminded

You are enough

You know what you are doing

You are here for a reason

Your knowledge and experience is valid

We see you and you matter

You are enough

Your mistakes don’t make you any less valuable

The things you may not know, do not invalidate your expertise

Being in the presence of someone who may be better in a particular area does not make you any less capable

You are enough

Do not downplay who you are

Do not dim your light

Do not quiet your voice

Do not back up from the table

Do not convince yourself not to do it

You are enough

You are real

You are here for a reason

Know it. Believe it. Act like it.


Editors Note: These photos originally appeared on Cite A Sista and were taken as part of a Black Graduate Women’s Photo Shoot coordinated by Joan Collier, PhD & Marvette Lacy, PhD at the University of Georgia, March 2017. These photos were used with explicit permission from Drs. Collier & Lacy. For questions, please reach out to SisterPhD editor Brittany Williams, specifically,  at brittany@sisterphd.com.

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