Grace has always been a good student. Throughout high school, she nailed every paper, every test, and was praised for being an excellent writer — objective measures of success that gave her a chance to prove herself.
As she started her Bachelor’s Degree of English at the University of Kansas, she began to doubt her abilities. She wasn’t just attending all-nighters at the library to make grades, but also attending therapy because of her recent decline in self-worth.
She often wondered, “Do I even belong here? Am I made to survive?” For the first time in her life, she felt like she was lacking all of the skills that brought her into this advanced program in the first place.
For most of her collegiate life, she suffered in silence and let the imposter suffocate her. She believed that showing vulnerability would expose her as the fraud she felt she was. So, she put on a mask of confidence, pretending to be sure of herself while battling her inner turmoil. As time went on, this façade became exhausting, draining the joy from her accomplishments and preventing her from forming genuine connections with others. It took one therapy session for Grace to realize that her feelings were those of imposter syndrome.
Hi, I’m Grace, and you’re inside my journey with imposter syndrome, common among many high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. You see, I’m no stranger to the persistent companion that shadows my every accomplishment - the lingering imposter that continues to make me feel like a fraud despite the evidence of my achievements. I always attributed my success to luck rather than a product of my hard work and innate talent.
As I transitioned into the professional world post-graduation, my imposter syndrome only intensified, and I continued to suffocate. When I took on my first job as a Content Strategist with Integrity, it came with a surge of anxiety. I was the youngest on the team and immediately intimidated by the expertise with which I was surrounded. The more responsibility I was given, the more I doubted my abilities. Do I really deserve to be here? Despite positive feedback with each project, I couldn’t silence the nagging voice in my head, questioning my worthiness and ability to perform.
What I came to realize within the coming months was that the place I thought would keep my imposter lingering became a place of healing. Within my nine months at Integrity, the team I am surrounded by each day has had an impact on my journey with overcoming imposter syndrome.
Integrity has taught me to redirect my negative thought patterns around my abilities and success. Instead of focusing on my perceived inadequacies, I have begun to celebrate my achievements, no matter how small. And as Ed always says, the best way to learn is to fail. I acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, which is essential to learning and growth. It’s all part of the journey. This switch in perspective empowered me to face challenges head-on with enthusiasm rather than sit in my anxiety.
So-called imposters think every task they tackle has to be done perfectly, and they rarely ask for help. All of my life, I’ve hated asking for help, but this kick-ass team has taught me that asking for help is never a sign of weakness. Above all, communication and transparency are the key to strength, self-awareness, and respect for your colleagues.
If there’s one thing I can tell those struggling with imposter syndrome in academia or at work, it’s to lean on those around you. Every single member of Integrity has made me feel loved, supported, and valued through everything I have achieved and continue to achieve as I propel through my career. Find a team that makes your little wins feel not so little, because they matter, and you’ve earned it.
ChatGPT today -- in the time of Google Search -- reminds me of years ago, during the advent of Internet Search itself. When search showed up, life changed dramatically.
Some may say SEO is dead with the rise of AI, but with its undeniable evolution, it's still alive, kicking, and as important as ever.