Misdiagnosed Determination: the Idea that Women are kept from Feeling Confident in the Workplace

In a recent Forbes article, writer, Homaira Kabir, argues that a majority of women, despite reoccurring successes, suffer from imposter syndrome. She states that, “from the board room to the Golden Globes” women continue to feel doubt when it comes to taking on new opportunities. I disagree.

Maybe it is my generation, maybe it is the women I associate myself with, or maybe it is my mother who instilled an immeasurable strength in me, but as a woman in the work force I for one, see no formal lack of confidence. In fact, what seems to reflect a lack of confidence, for me, actually represents an unmatched form of determination built on an idea that no matter how often we succeed, we can always get better.

Look, I get it, I’m 22, I am just out of college – how could I possibly know what the female populous feels when it comes to working in this day and age? Well let me tell you a story. When I was 15, I started working at a camp. By 19, I was working 80 hour weeks during the summer, literally running from camp to night shifts at a local burrito shop down the street, by 21 I had 4 jobs during the school year [not because I had to but because I wanted to work and I wanted to learn new skills] and two in the summer. Still 21, I went back to school to work 5 jobs, burned out – dropped to 4 and now I am down to 1 and loving it. Now, I don’t tell you this to impress you, I don’t tell you this because my life has some hidden workaholic intervention story, I tell you this because I am what Shonda Rhimes would call a ‘Titan.’ I work, I sweat, I burn out, I recover and I do it all over again. I am a Titan. I schedule myself to the 11th hour and then negotiate for a 12th. I am confident in who I am and I inspire the same in those around me because as a woman, and a millennial, I can’t afford to be anything less. So while I know that I am more the exception than the rule my point is that I wasn’t born this way. My point is that I learned to be driven from women around me; so when you tell me that something is keeping women from feeling confident in the workplace, I have to tell you that you are wrong – because I don’t see it.

Moral of the story? I’ve worked a lot. I’ve worked early mornings, late nights, stood until my feet ached and still managed to work on physical fitness. I rarely had weekends off and minimum wage was a lot lower than it should have been but still, no matter the job, my coworkers and I managed to push through. I’ve celebrated success and grown from failure, and – I get it – I wasn’t making salary, I am not a mom, but the places I worked were filled with a diverse number of people that had families and bills and illnesses and the women I worked with, well they were no less real than the ones I assume to have been categorized as the “many” in the Forbes article. So if your board room lacks confidence, then go to the back kitchen of a restaurant, or look at the girls on the line in a burrito shop – then tell me that these young women, these proud and inspirational women lack confidence, because I swear that they are not falling prey to being anything but themselves.

Tell me that these young women, these proud and inspirational women lack confidence, because I swear that they are not falling prey to being anything but themselves.

As a child I heard a quote. It was in the movie, “Akeelah and the Bee,” and it read – IMG_8606

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

The first time I saw “Akeelah and the Bee,” I was in my mother’s classroom. I remember that, around this time, my mom was training one of my classmates for the Scripts National Spelling Bee in DC, and I vaguely remember wishing that another movie was on – but for some reason, after ten years, this quote sticks with me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

and how beautiful is that, how incredibly profound is it that our deepest fear is not that we lack something, but that we are so great that we cannot fathom the power of it?

As a young girl, I will admit I grappled with the fear that I would not be enough. I grappled with the idea that my efforts were not grand enough to succeed, but as a woman in the workplace, I have never let the fear of being less prevent me from trying to be more. I have never lacked confidence in a job, or a challenge, because I have always treated mistakes as lessons and successes as reasons to be humble.

InIMG_2714 a recent Forbes article a writer and life coach states that “many” women are kept from feeling confident in the workplace. I disagree – I think women are made to think that they lack confidence when in reality they are feeling what it takes to drive yourself toward greater and more humble victories.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that a majority of the jobs I have worked provided women with the ability to be confident leaders. I think the fields I have gone into build character, and build determination in women. I think that claiming that “many” women feel insecure in the work place and that they are kept from accepting their own brilliance is completely false because in 22 years, I have met more confident and capable women than I could name.
As a woman in this day and age I will never let my deepest fear be “that I am inatequate” because I know that I am and the women around me are more powerful than we will ever understand – and for a lot of us, dare I say, for many of us, that is our most powerful truth.

Beyond the Super Suit: Becoming my Halloween night Hero

Like most people, I grew up with parents who told me, “you can be whatever you want when you grow up.” Well, obviously, since I am here in jeans typing, rather than fighting bad guys in a tight spandex suit, my parents were a bit misguided in their statement. But, I can’t help but think that the person I was on Halloween affected the adult I am today.
As a kid I was dedicated to the idea that I would be chosen as the next Power Ranger. I lived my life hanging out in the cul-de-sac looking for power crystals and training in various ways to meet my goals – but the only time I really got to ‘suit up’ was on Halloween. I guess as kids we all have a duty to our dreams, but while some wished to be princesses, I wanted to save the world from evil – which was kind of funny considering how unbelievably safe my upbringing was. Today, it’s probably been twelve or so years since I have suited up, but I think a part of me still wants to become the hero I was never able to be back then.

The header above shows one of the last years I was a Power Ranger for Halloween, one of the last times before my mom cut me off from store bought costumes and pushed me into more creative home made options – but I never strayed too far from the hero lifestyle. For years I was a spy, one year I was a “rapping bunny” where I wore my Reese’s hat turned to the side, and by college I moved into cops and robbers and whatever other ‘hot mess’ I could turn myself into. But why is this all relevant? Why does the person I was behind the mask influence who I am in front of the screen or on the keyboard?
Well, that answer is best explained by the inspiration of this post — my favorite show, “The Bold Type.” So a little background: In 2017, Freeform (ABC Family) established one of the most politically and socially relevant television dramas to date. The show, properly titled ‘The Bold Type,’ features three strong young women who work for fictional periodical, ‘Scarlett Magazine’ and work together to traverse life, love, politics, and friendship. Currently on its second season ‘The Bold Type’ continues to be, not only, one of my favorite shows, contrasting struggle and triumph in the modern age, but also creates one of the most socially and politically relevant conversations that young viewers have access to on television.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “this is just another chick flick” and sure, while the show features highly feminist themes and independent roles, I’d argue that this show is for everyone. You see, what some fail to realize is that Feminism is the practice of believing in equal rights amongst males and females. Feminism is not the radical, nor is it the tame end of the feminist spectrum, but it is a little bit of everything. It’s everything, from the good, the bad, and the outspoken. Thus, anyone can be a feminist, and beyond that, everyone should be, because everyone can enjoy a show that better explains feminism and so much more as it pertains to the world we live in today.
Now, before I get carried away, or introduce unwanted spoilers I want to change my tune – Upon watching last week’s episode, Jane, the writer in the show, posed a question (a pitch) I would like to follow up on. The pitch read, “Does your childhood Halloween costume predict your future?” and after hearing that, I got to thinking… and what I want to know is… well, does it? How much does the person or thing we pretend to be for one night a year effect the trajectory of our lives? I want to know, “Does my (your) childhood Halloween costume predict your future?”
As I mentioned before, my childhood costume of choice was a Power Ranger (shown above with puffed out muscles of course). And as a young girl [ a tomboy no less] I did not subscribe to the traditional fairy princess costume affair, but what does that say about the person I am today? Even without the suit, has some semblance of Power Ranger life lived on within me? Are we destined to become the masks we wear, or can we simply be heroes with or without the super suit?
Well in my opinion, yes. I think as kids we are quick to become our idols. For example, in “The Bold Type” Jane became a writer because after losing her mother at an early age, ‘Scarlett Mag’ became the older sister she never had. She became a writer to be that same kind of person for others just as I became a writer for the similar reason of being able to talk about grief in ways that many writers don’t, but even more than that I wanted to be the hero that I failed to find through the losses I faced.
See when I started writing, my power didn’t come with a super suit, but I guess the heroes I always looked up to were not heroes because of what they wore, but because of the way they acted. The Power Rangers were heroes because they had an apparent sensibility for respect and a guiding sense of morality – and I wanted to be like them, not because they were heroes but because they had a constant need to do what was right, and a desire to work hard to do good.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the heroes, and the costumes that we wear as children do reflect who we grow up to be. They are our childhood daydreams manifested in a few pictures, moments, nights, and sugar comas, they are the people we play when we play dress up – and in those moments we get to be the people we truly want to be without any restrictions or rules. 2018-27-06-15-36-50
With that, maybe the question shouldn’t be “Does your childhood Halloween costume predict your future?” but how does/have the costumes you wore on Halloween as a kid affect the person you are today? And what makes you grateful for those opportunities?
I think our childhood Halloween costume does predict the future, and while I might not be a Power Ranger [yet] I think one day I will be able to save the world… I just have to figure out what power I’ll use to do it.

Well S*** Here We Go With Reality

You know the show naked and afraid?… well this is kind of like that – EXCEPT – I am fully clothed, you can’t see me on tv, and I am not just afraid…. I’m scared S***less.

Mission: ‘ Fake it ’til you make it ‘

Status: Epic Fail

Recently I started realizing that no one around me really knows what they’re doing. We all have our lives together but were still flying by the seat of our pants fighting, praying, hoping we find the strength to figure it all out. It’s like we’re all driving on this no where road, with no clue where we are and we keep driving like we do.

2018-17-07-16-44-27The Motto

In today’s world ‘fake it ’til you make it,’ has become a montra rather than a catch phrase. But maybe that’s what we keep doing wrong. I mean, what would happen if we started being honest? What if we went back to being ourselves? It’s scary isn’t it… but sorry honey that’s life, so are you along for the ride or are you walkin by?

Level wit cha

Man look, I get it. There’s perks to being just another fish in the sea. You get to lay low, do what you want, and that path ahead is determined by migratory patterns – so you coastin – but where’s the fun in being another fin in the crowd?

The Motive

Maybe I struggle to understand conformity because I have never been good at following trends. Or maybe swimming against the crowd was a coping mechanism against all the bs people in the world, either way I like my way, and hey maybe if you read this blog… you will too.

The Conclusion

Look at the end of the day I am an awkward little duckiling trying to make it in this big bad world. But I am not alone. Were all stuck here playing a game with no rule book, driving down dead end roads and praying that we make it to the right place – that’s just what “Adulting” is about, but I for one am up for the challenge – so what do you say.

You in?

 

We’re all just Awkward n' Adulting.

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