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Repeat after me: I’m here because I deserve to be.

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I had the pleasure of participating in the National Publicity Summit in NYC as a member of the media. What you didn’t know was I was scared silly.

The National Publicity Summit is a weekend event where doctors, business owners, authors and more attend to learn about getting published and receiving press in several publications from people in the media themselves (a.k.a. me). Media professionals sit on a panel and answer questions attendees have about getting published. These attendees surely got their money’s worth because sitting on the side of media professionals were people who have worked for NY Times, CBS, ABC, Parade, youtube channels with hundreds of thousands subscribers, television producers and more.

Imposter Syndrom

If you are constantly doubting yourself and wondering how you get there, you probably have Imposter Syndrome. The struggle is real and more common than you think

And then there was me. Boy did I feel like I dropped the ball. Up until the day of the event, I was convinced my invitation was a mistake and it was meant for someone else. There was no way my experience was on par with the others on the panel. And I felt like everyone knew it. The moment I opened my mouth everyone would know I was a fraud – at least that’s how I felt. I had a classic case of imposter syndrome. I felt even worse once I learned how accomplished the attendees were. One attendee hoping to learn from the media was a women who’s toddler was abducted in 90’s, wrote book about it and travels the world helping people cope with loss. Another was a female producer who created a documentary about the heart behind professional athletes and won several awards for it. To say the talent pool was overwhelming is an understatement.

After recognizing the talent of the attendees while sitting amongst such accomplished media professionals I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to bring anything of value. Of course, I realized I was focusing on the wrong things. I was only thinking about my perceived short comings instead of actually bringing value to the panel. And sure, I wasn’t an expert on getting published but that was no reason to stop me from saying what I could and be honest about what I didn’t know. So I did what any good aspiring artist would do. I faked it.

Things suddenly got real very quickly the moment I received this.

When they asked questions about how to get a journalist’s attention I mustered up the best answer I could think of and pretended to know what I was talking about. When a few asked about follow up procedures, I responded with what I thought were the correct answers based on personal experiences and nailed my “faked put together” persona.  I was asked what my biggest pet peeve was when receiving pitches and did my best to appear witty, relatable, yet professional as I told them to never misspell my name. At the end of the night, I felt as though I made out like a bandit  because no one figured out I was a fraud. Attendees clapped, smiled, laughed at my joke and even asked to follow up with me in the future to gain further perspective. I really had them fooled. They ACTUALLY fell for my act and wanted to hear more about my professional experience.

Of course, the joke was on me because I truly did believe and experience the things I mentioned. After further thought, I realized I didn’t tell a single lie and didn’t say anything that was out of the ordinary for me. On that train ride home it had me realizing that maybe I wasn’t a fraud after all. From that experience, I’ve gathered a few methods for dealing with imposter syndrome since I’m sure it will strike again.

  1. Stop the Comparison

In my case, imposter syndrome stemmed from comparing myself to the accomplishments of others. However, I failed to realize that I wasn’t there to be just like the other panelists or beat them. I was there because the organizer thought there was something only I could offer. I had to ignore the praises of other people and learn to accept my own praises. Your experiences may not be like anyone elses, but they don’t need to be.

2 Give yourself credit

So I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but this wasn’t the first time I was invited to speak at this event. They had invited me to another one previously which I rejected because I felt I wasn’t good enough back then either. The second time around I figured, “Why not?” but as you know I quickly regretted it because I still felt like a fraud. It took me a while to realize that I wasn’t giving myself any credit. These people invited  me to the event more the once. I must have done something right. So maybe I hadn’t worked with the NY Times, but I have written for other well known magazines. That had to count for something. The organizers clearly saw something special in me. It’s time I see it in myself.

 

national publicity summit

Though I felt like I didn’t belong at the National Publicity Summit, I did my best to bring something of value.

3. Sincerely try to help

As bad as it sounds, imposter syndrome is a selfish thing. Sufferers keep saying things such as “I’m not good enough.” I can’t do that” or “What if they find me out?” All of those thoughts are about you. They are selfish thoughts. Instead take the pressure off yourself and sincerely try to help others the best way you know how. You may not have all the answers but you do bring something of value. Show them what that is and it might help someone. Otherwise, you’d be robbing the world of all you have to offer.

4. Ignore the credentials

When I was as the publicity summit, I was swimming in a sea filled with doctors, authors, lawyers and more. It was certainly very intimidating. However, once I started to look past the credentials to see the person behind them, I felt more at ease. It’s time to recognize credentials for what they are – a labeling game that doesn’t always mean much. An expert doesn’t always know more than you. It might mean they went to school for a long time. And it certainly doesn’t make them any less human. Once you ignore the credentials you might find out you are certainly on par with the person who once intimidated you.

5. Fake it

So even though I knew I didn’t belong at the event, I decided the best thing I could do was pretend that I did belong. I did my best to smile, node and answer questions as matter-factly as possible. Turns out no one could tell I was faking it including me.

Have you ever struggled with Imposter Syndrome? How did you handle it?

TERRIfic Words : No one has all the answers, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving a try.

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Written by Terri

    20 Comments

  1. Kat November 6, 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply

    Oh wow! Congratulations for making it. How others perceive your success, you should feel the same about your gifts.

    • Terri November 7, 2017 at 7:40 am Reply

      Thank you so much. It’s a work in progress but I’m getting better everyday.

  2. Evelyn Reese November 6, 2017 at 9:41 pm Reply

    Yes, I have felt some of the same feelings when asked for my expertise on my niche. However, I had to learn to stop comparing myself because my story was my own to tell and share.

    • Terri November 7, 2017 at 7:40 am Reply

      Exactly! Not sharing that story would be the worst thing you could do. You have an awesome story and the world deserves to hear it.

  3. Tonia November 7, 2017 at 2:08 am Reply

    Imposter Syndrome is definitely hard to deal with. I recently was a part of an event and spent every day leading up to it naming all the people that could’ve gotten chosen to be there over me for their awesomeness. It’s important to remember our own awesomeness too though and be mindful of what we bring to the table. I deserved to be there as much as anyone else.
    Tonia recently posted…5 Steps to Buying Eyeglasses Online and Saving MoneyMy Profile

    • Terri November 7, 2017 at 7:39 am Reply

      You sound exactly like I did on my train ride to NYC that day. I kept thinking of everyone else they should have invited to this event over me. But like you said, it’s time to own our awesomeness. I love the way you put that.

  4. Carissa November 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm Reply

    Congratulations on this opportunity! This sound like a great experience! You are absolutely right to remember your own awesomeness
    Carissa recently posted…Fall Sweet Progress Box Swap RevealMy Profile

    • Terri November 8, 2017 at 9:52 am Reply

      Thank you Carissa. It really was an amazing experience and a fabulous opportunity. I’m almost embarrassed that I declined the invitation the first time around because I felt like an imposter back then too!

  5. Kita November 7, 2017 at 11:13 pm Reply

    This is such a great post. I use to feel like an imposter but believing in myself changed all that. Congratulations to you. Show them what you are made of and you will never be an imposter.

    • Terri November 8, 2017 at 9:50 am Reply

      Thank you so much, Kita. I need to remember that. If all else fails, show them what I’m made of.

  6. Sapphire Kharyzma November 7, 2017 at 11:53 pm Reply

    What great advice. Congrats on your success. You are such an inspiration to us all!

    • Terri November 8, 2017 at 9:49 am Reply

      Thank you so much! I’ve never thought of myself as an inspiration before. But I suppose we all have things about ourselves that inspire others.

  7. Kiwi November 8, 2017 at 8:06 am Reply

    Good tips. People need to be more kind and stop comparing.

  8. Mimi Green November 8, 2017 at 8:41 am Reply

    I started out as a blogger and I’m moving into media coverage. I’ve had these feelings on the red carpet next to huge media outlets. I had to remind myself that I earned my place and I know my ish.
    Mimi Green recently posted…When Was The Last Time You Had A Mommy Makeover?My Profile

    • Terri November 8, 2017 at 9:48 am Reply

      Exactly! You earned it and you deserve to be there. If anything, being around all those impressive people always serves as great motivation for myself.

  9. Bernetta November 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm Reply

    Great post and great tips. Girl you sure did deserve to be there 100%. I am glad you had a great time too!

  10. Teresa November 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm Reply

    This was so relatable. You really have to give yourself the credit and just go and do your best!

  11. Jessica November 9, 2017 at 3:57 pm Reply

    LOVE the fake it category. It really works too! I wonder if we’ll ever not feel like imposters, but i’ll keep fakin it till i make it! (:

  12. Midge Guerrera November 12, 2017 at 10:25 pm Reply

    Terri, well said and an important lesson to learn! I hadn’t really thought of the imposter syndrome before but remember it.

  13. Nanekia Ansari November 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm Reply

    you are amazing! sometimes we don’t see it in ourselves cause we are not necessarily looking for it. But hey at least you know how to fake it. Be prepared for next year’s invite!

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