The subject line: “Congratulations! The SVBJ wants to name you a Woman of Influence this year.”
My first thought: “This must be a mistake. The Silicon Valley Business Journal has no idea who I am.”
Then: “This is probably one of those clickbait subject lines where they’re just inviting me to APPLY to be considered.”
Then: “It’s probably spam.”
So naturally, I ignored the email.
Then I got a text from the person who had nominated me, and she was sending a note of congratulations. My thought then, “Oh no, she must have lied about me on the nomination form. This is going to be so embarrassing when they have to rescind the award.”
So…I didn’t tell anyone about the award for a while because I thought it was an error, and the organizers would soon figure out I hadn’t actually done anything worthy of recognition.
Fast-forward a month—my sister bought an entire table for the awards dinner. I now had (got!) to invite people to join me at this event…people who know me and know I’m not a “Woman of Influence.”
UGH. This was supposed to be a moment where I felt grateful and proud, but I didn’t feel worthy.
Have you ever felt like this?
Yeah…that’s called Imposter Syndrome — feeling like you’re not as smart as the people around you, or that you somehow got lucky and didn’t earn your seat at the table.
Did I happen to mention that I teach people how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, and here I was sitting smack dab in the middle of an Imposter Syndrome mud puddle myself? #oof
But the thing is, it can happen over and over, and each time you’re not a majority of a group, or you’re breaking a glass ceiling, or you’re doing something you’ve never done before (new job, new role), it can strike.
And (points to #2 again), remember, you’re not alone.
P.S. In case you missed it, the 6-word memoir I shared on stage was, “Emulating an octopus. Ask me why.” Here’s the 2.5-minute answer.