“I may be young but I’m ready” – Beyonce
Along with all the unique paths crossed to achieve career success, there’s one thing most fashion professionals have in common – Imposter Syndrome. If you’ve every experienced it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Things will be going great then BOOM, all of a sudden, uninvited and often hurtful phrases like “You’re not smart enough”, “You’re too young and inexperienced” and worst of all “You’re not as good as everyone else”, pop into your head.
We’ve all been there…
The truth is, I don’t think I’ve ever felt fully good enough or fully qualified to do a lot of the things I’ve handed in my career so far. From starting my very first industry job at Burberry (with no internship experience), and then leaving to build a business to inspire, educate and connect fashion creatives. Yet, what kept me motivated was the trust others put in me – even when I didn’t trust myself!
Although that worked for a while, I realised that I needed to find tactics to break imposter syndrome for good – Tactics that solely depended on ME and my judgement of myself. Relying on other people’s opinions of yourself and your work will only offer temporary relief. Also, what happens when it feels like people don’t believe in you anymore? The only way to truly combat these feelings is by looking inwards.
Here are 4 ways that myself and 3 other fashion professionals, all in different stages of our careers, are beating imposter syndrome today!
Make your own way
I’ve had way too many moments and still to this day, where I think to myself, “Why are they letting me produce this” or “Why are they trusting me with this job?”
Especially now, being in such a visible role as Fashion Editor. I’m a pretty harsh critic on myself so I think imposter syndrome is only natural. I’ve learned over time to just embrace it, smile and figure out, from my doubts or concerns, how I can make my own way.
– Toni Lessler Mills, Fashion Editor, The RealReal
Run with your strengths
Working at a start-up in San Francisco, surrounded by Harvard and Berkeley graduates, I often find myself wondering how I slipped through the cracks. However, I remind myself that I have years of experience within the fashion and beauty industry and gained knowledge that can only be learnt on the job. Through that journey, I’ve found my own strengths and learnt to run with them and not worry about anyone else’s.
– Leah Adams, Marketing and Communications, Tribe Dynamics
Where you deserve to be
I’ve got my foot in the fashion door, I’ve got amazing contacts and I’ve been blessed with a job I actually love, but I still doubt myself, doubt my abilities and doubt that I deserve to be successful.
Spending a lot of time second guessing your abilities, obsessing over numbers and crying over past failures won’t get you anywhere. I like to speak things into existence, writing down goals and list my past successes. I grafted for 3 years at university, especially during the third year. I was working part time in retail, interning for a huge makeup brand and writing my dissertation. If I don’t deserve it after those sleepless nights, then who does?
– Iman Leila Bokolo, PR Assitant, M&Co.
Find the real you
I’ve always wanted to work in fashion and would constantly visualise myself in the job of my dreams, at a big fashion house. So much so, that I never thought of what I’d be doing outside of that job! My best advice would be to spend time getting in touch with the real you – Not just the person you are at work.
Write down what you unapologetically love about yourself, what you’ll never change about your personality and the traits you’ve carried since childhood that make you unique. When imposter syndrome creeps in you’ll quickly fight if off by remembering that your job doesn’t define you and without it, you still have a lot to offer!
– Dior Bediako, Pepper Your Talk Founder
“You hold the power to rise to the top of the fashion industry! Never allow yourself to be held back by a lack of fashion-related qualifications, low self-belief or past rejections.”