Where does imposter syndrome even come from?

Hi all, so excited and proud to share that I launched my dream product this week! I’ll get into it in a bit, but I first wanted to share the reflection I’ve been doing all week.

I used to feel heavy imposter syndrome, up until two years ago when I decided I was tired of feeling a ridiculous amount of anxiety and self-doubt every time I wanted to try something new.

It wasn’t until I started questioning, where does this imposter syndrome even come from, that I started being able to let it go.  I began recognizing that it is simply programming that has surrounded all of us since we were kids.  You can absolutely un-program it from your mind and move forward.

I’ll have more on imposter syndrome in Final Thoughts—and not just how to beat it, but where the real root of the problem comes from. 

And of course, before we get into the resources for this week, I want to share the newly launched Personal Learning by Edvo, intentionally built to help you learn everything you desire and manage it all in one place.  As someone who loves to learn and is protective of what information she consumes, I built Personal Learning for myself, and then my friends, and then I knew I was building for everyone.  Currently available in a private beta as we figure out the kinks; grab a beta invite here

Now let’s get to the resources for this week 🎊


💼 CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

I was recently appointed to the AllRaise Speakers Bureau, which promotes the voices of women and non-binary individuals in tech. It was a really humbling moment, and it also got me thinking about the mentors I’ve had in the past. Because to be honest, the majority of them have been men. And while I’m thankful to have them in my life, I also can understate the importance of meeting my first mentor who was a woman of color.  

Meeting and getting to know her made a huge difference in my understanding of myself and what I bring to the table. It was a game-changer to see a young, South Asian woman doing what I wanted to be doing. And that’s why representation is so important. It can expand what people believe they’re capable of and help them visualize options that they hadn’t considered for themselves. 

So I want to encourage anyone who’s looking for mentorship, if you see someone on the Speakers Bureau list you resonate with, reach out to them! 

And if you want to develop confidence in your own speaking skills, I’ve got some resources for you below to help you find your voice. 🎙️

  • If you’re actively looking for a job or hiring, check out Startup Hire to browse companies with open roles, add yourself to the candidate list, or find candidates open to opportunities 

  • And lastly, here’s Maker Mind sharing neuroscience research to help you find different ways to feel more productive and creative in your daily life.  


👋 SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • HR Tell All: Current Hiring Landscape

September 3rd, 3:00 p.m. PDT

What are job seekers to expect? What can they better learn to be better seekers? What are jobs that people are hiring for right now? Join our HR experts to run through what the current job market is looking like right now, what folks are hiring for and trends they are starting to see. Come prepared with questions you would like to ask our panelists as we will save time at the end for Q&A! More details here.

  • Coaching & Coffee

September 9th, 8:30 a.m. PDT

Ready to take that next step in your career, life and leadership? Join us for a monthly conversation with certified coaches to gain clarity and confidence to be empowered to take that leap. Each month will feature a different conversation focused on helping you achieve the next steps to success in your personal and professional adventures. Details here.

  • Meditation for Creatives

September 11th, 7:15 p.m. PDT

Albert will lead us in a powerful 20 minute guided meditation to release stress, manage anxiety, and enhance creativity. This will be followed by a fun and innovative 30 minute writing exercise designed to help initiate or further support your mindful writing and/or creativity practice. We will conclude with sharing, discussion, Q&A, and additional resources for staying grounded and connected to your creative awakening in these challenging times.  More details here.

  • Dance It Out

September 15th, 5:00 p.m. PDT

GROOV3 is a beginner level grooves class where the music plays the entire time. The choreography is broken down and simplified in an easy to follow format, making it more accessible to those at the start of their dance journey.  GROOV3 is for anyone who wants to feel good and provides a non-judgmental & supportive environment. Perfect for beginners and those wanting a challenge, this workshop will leave you feeling sweaty, refreshed and rejuvenated.  More details here.


⭐ FINAL THOUGHTS

Everyone talks about how to beat imposter syndrome, but I want to talk to you all about how it makes us feel—and where it really comes from.

For me, imposter syndrome made me question my own belief that I was good enough. I did have conviction in myself, but every time I’d walk into a meeting with someone “successful,” think about creating a product, or consider doing things my way, the self-doubt and anxiety would tie me up in knots. 

A couple years ago, I simply got sick of feeling that way. I started reflecting on why I felt those emotions, and I realized something crucial:

This wasn’t something I was born with. Imposter syndrome was something that was taught to me.

I had been taught to doubt myself, seek approval, and look for validation everywhere. It was a result of other people telling me what I was capable of. 

Here’s an example:

I started my first company at 19. I was in college at the time, and during one semester, I realized that in order to work on my business, I would need to travel one Friday each month. The problem was that I had one 50-minute class on Fridays, and I’d have to miss it. So, I went to meet with my professor and talk to her about my situation. I told her about the social venture I was working on, and that I’d be happy to turn in work ahead of time and do whatever was necessary. 

She laughed in my face. She told me college wasn’t for starting a business and that I should spend my time in class, get a job after graduation, and start a business once I had more experience. 

So, even though I knew starting a business was something I could do, that professor’s reaction fed my imposter syndrome. Yes, I eventually turned Skillify into a successful business, but the negative opinions around me at the time made that more difficult than it needed to be. 

Once I realized what was happening, I decided that I wasn’t going to continue on that way. I was going to start teaching myself what I’m capable of.

And that was the moment I truly felt like I had become a conscious learner. It was the moment I started building the tools, processes, and conviction I’d need to learn anything I wanted to. I didn’t want to rely on anyone else to tell me what to learn or how to learn it. 

Instead, I became my own best teacher.

And that’s why, over the past six months, my team and I have been working on Personal Learning by Edvo to help everyone become their own teacher and uncover their best self. 

If you resonate with what I’ve been talking about and want to take learning into your own hands, sign up here to be part of the private beta community. I’m excited to learn with you.

As always, simply reply to this email and let me know what you’re thinking about these days.  I love hearing from you.

Excited for what’s to come and always grateful for your support, 

Shireen