Imposter syndrome is a common experience for many people in the tech industry, particularly women. The feeling of not belonging or being a fraud in one's own field can be overwhelming, leading to self-doubt and a lack of confidence. However, some women have found ways to overcome these feelings and push past them to achieve success in their careers.
In this blog post, we’re spotlighting Arese Osakue, the senior growth associate at Tix, has faced imposter syndrome head-on and found strategies to overcome it. Let’s dive right into her personal experiences, her challenges, and the techniques she has used to build her confidence and thrive as a growth marketer in tech.
R: How would you explain imposter syndrome to a 6-year-old?
A: Let’s say this 6-year-old is someone that keeps coming first in class. So, you know how you keep coming first, but then you don’t believe you can actually come first? That’s basically it. You doubt you can do it, but you’re doing it and still keep doubting yourself. But to be frank, at 6, you shouldn’t be bothering with imposter syndrome 😅
R: What’s your favourite strategy or tactic for overcoming imposter syndrome?
A: I think my favourite would be reminding myself of what I’ve been able to do and achieve. When you sit and think about it, you realise you’ve done pretty big stuff. So when something challenging comes along, you realise you’ve done a similar task that no longer seems daunting.
One honourable suggestion for overcoming imposter syndrome is to speak to people who know your work and can always encourage you. You need genuine people around you that are going to let you know that it’s valid that you have imposter syndrome, but however, you’ve been able to achieve certain things, and this should tell you that you’re great at your job and you deserve to be where you are in your career. These could be managers who have worked with you, your siblings, friends, or anyone who knows you and can encourage you when needed.
R: How do you think being a woman impacts your imposter syndrome?
A: That’s a good question. So I don’t think being a woman impacts my imposter syndrome. I feel like my imposter syndrome is specific to how I feel. But I have seen studies showing that women tend to rate themselves as lesser or lower than their male counterparts. In situations as little as applying for a job, women typically feel like they need all the qualifications or desired requirements, but men would be more open to taking a chance and applying for the role, even if they aren’t qualified. There’s unnecessary pressure to be exceptional for women, but I don’t think it affects my imposter syndrome.
R: How do you ensure imposter syndrome doesn’t negatively impact your work?
A: I think imposter syndrome helps me with my work, and I’ll explain. So, as a superstar 😉, I’m an overachiever. I try to make myself feel good, and the standard I set for myself is pretty high. So, when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough (when imposter syndrome is lying to me), I just put in more work and effort. So that might impact my work positively, I guess.
R: Are there any specific moments in your career that have helped you feel more confident and capable?
A: There are a lot, actually. So, I’ve had several of them since I started working at Tix. The first is Tixieland. Tixieland was our first community event, which was a lot of work. Especially because I had to plan Tixieland alongside tasks from my regular role at Tix. I’ve done events like games nights, but those are small things compared to the scale of Tixieland. Being able to complete that and having good reviews afterwards was great for me. I’ve always told myself I’m an innovator and not an executor, but this time I was able to innovate, execute, and actually get good feedback from sponsors, teammates and attendees about how great the event was.
Another thing is because my role is mostly ‘sale-sy’, I was going through all the accounts I brought in and managed, the deals I could close last year, and how much they contributed to Tix’s total success in 2022. And I realised how well I did, considering this is my first sales role. So yea, those are two things I’m really proud of that make me feel confident and capable of what I do at Tix.
R: How do you support other women on your team who may be struggling with imposter syndrome?
A: We’re just women in my team at Tix, so this is easy. In supporting them, I always let them know when they’ve done a good job. And if there is something that isn’t quite up to standard, I honestly and politely ask them if we can do this another way. When we have our team meetings, I try to ask them how they’re feeling, give everyone a chance to speak and try to address things they’ve said as best as possible. So essentially, I encourage them, give them constructive feedback, and make sure they feel like they have an open space to discuss if they have any self-doubt.
R: Do you have any advice for other women experiencing imposter syndrome?
A: The most important thing I tell my mentees every time is to ensure they have a ‘brag book’. This could be a notebook, a Notion doc, your notes app, or anything. I personally use an email draft, and you can write things you’ve done in your career and work. It could be really little stuff, especially when you’ve stayed at a company for a long time. This is because you can forget about things you’ve done if you try to remember them all at once.
Sometimes we tend to feel the only things worthy of being noted down are massive breakthroughs at work. Some little things eventually make a lot of impact. Let’s say, for example, you implement a little process or change something, which can eventually increase revenue or efficiency, and the company grows because of something you’ve done.
So when you have this brag book, you can always go back and read it, remember how much you’ve done, and remind yourself that you deserve to be where you are because you’re doing. a great job.