Nicole Ellis, On-Air Video Reporter and Filmmaker, The Washington Post
Q: Looking back, what has your relationship with imposter syndrome been like?
A: As I have matured professionally, I realize that imposter syndrome isn’t necessarily about my ability. It’s more-so about insecurity, and about having faith that I am good at what I do. Stick up for yourself and have stock in your ability. Perspective helps you to overcome imposter syndrome. It isn’t about whether or not you’re capable, but instead learning to assess, evaluate, and invest in yourself. The true test isn’t whether or not you’re good at something, it’s that you’re still doing it.
Doing something creative means you’ll always have self-doubt. You’ll always be doing something new. There’s something inherent about anything new that is truly foreign because you’ve never done it before. When we leave school, there’s no controlled environment where we can fail safely. It’s scary, and I think that’s where imposter syndrome stems. Particularly for people of color, and especially in places and spaces where you might be the only person on your team that looks like you, I believe it’s easy to feel like there’s no map or key for you to figure it out.
The way I work through this is constantly and consistently checking myself for me. Not letting anyone else’s perspective inform mine. Learning to have a broader set of resources so that I can assess myself healthily [is important]. Imposter syndrome is about learning to speak up for yourself, and being sturdy and headstrong about what you can do, and what you want to do. Living in that passion, and growing in that creative space of being unbound with that passion is what will help you grow and ascend. It’s what will help you make the most of each opportunity, and what will open the door to the next one. I think that is the biggest thing that I’ve learned so far in regards to imposter syndrome… really pushing myself to find my own voice, and being more and more unapologetic about it.