When I was younger, I didn’t understand how girls fantasized about having a partner to appreciate and worship her, couldn’t accept a simple compliment from others. Whether it was about their attractiveness, smarts, or talent, these girls would curl their body inwards, too shy to accept their brilliance. It blew my mind because I couldn’t relate to their discomfort. Whenever I received a compliment, I smiled and thanked them for taking time to appreciate something about me.
As a frequent compliment giver, especially to strangers, I always admire people who owned their brilliance and proudly accepted a good compliment. It wasn’t until recently that I experienced the discomfort for myself and questioned what the hell is this feeling?!
I was awarded a 40 under 40 by a local business magazine for my community work and felt an outer body experience. I remembered when I received the email, I replied to the Editor asking who nominated me, almost to check as if they had sent it to the wrong person. It felt uneasy thinking about how I could have won an award of any kind, especially one for my business and community work. For the most part, I kept the news to myself, almost fearful that someone would question my qualifications for winning this award at 26 and being so new to my work. I told my business partner and a close friend, the kind that you check in to see if you sound crazy for the insecurities you have.
I said nothing until it was time for the ceremony. When my business partner announced the news to our team and visitors at the office, I embarrassingly smiled, wanting to run away and hide under a rock. The imposter syndrome was in full gear. As people congratulated me, I felt more undeserving and almost guilty for attracting attention. It wasn’t until someone pointed out how this award would bring great opportunities, recognition, and most importantly, increase the impact we could make in our community. As I shifted my perspective of how this was really a win for my team and our work, I began to shed the guilt of being recognized and fear of being undeserving.
Reflecting on this experience, I realized there were so many hardworking people who may never be appreciated or recognized for their accomplishments and sacrifices. I thought about all of my amazing friends who are working on independent projects, launching businesses, coding apps, and working to better themselves every single day. It’s would be ashamed if they felt insecure or worst, undeserving to be celebrated for their achievements!
From this experience, I am walking away from this insecurity and working to embrace new opportunities, especially those that make me uncomfortable and scared! We should be celebrated and excited for reaching our goals, new milestones, and not be ashamed to take a moment to celebrate a win! I am so lucky to have great people in my life to shake me out of my funk. They reminded me that this was a great thing, not something I should feel guilty or insecure about. I also learned that I need to be my own cheerleader and show myself some love too!
Inspired by my business partner, Tiffanie Stanard, & Mr. Teach