Speaking Up About Impostor Syndrome

This post was written by: Alistair Wilson

During the Women In Telco miniseries on The Connectivity Matters Podcast we’ve been putting a spotlight on diversity in the industry. That includes covering topics such as impostor syndrome, which we discussed with Richa Daga in the miniseries’ fourth episode. Richa is an Embedded Software Engineer at Cisco, and she is the winner of the 2022 WomenTech Global Conference Speaker of the Year Award. Here are her insights on the impostor syndrome and how to tackle it: 

Impostor syndrome is a topic that is being talked about because people do feel it. That is a reality that occurs. A programme that I took part in at Cisco had a cohort of female leaders from different teams. As we talked about it, we all realised that most of the time it’s only in our head. Imposter syndrome is like wondering “Do we really belong here?” Once you start speaking up and sharing what is going on in your mind, you’ll discover that several other people in the room might also be feeling the same way. We all question “Should I say that thing or not? Is it right or not?”, but we don’t realise that other people wonder the same thing. 

If you waste time contemplating whether or not something is the right thing to say, someone else will say it and be recognised for their idea. These things keep happening. You have to have the courage to say what’s in your mind. That can be a difficult process, and it’s hard to get out of that thought process because we fear disagreements and rejection. We don’t want to disagree with what is happening in the room. That is why we don’t want to be our natural selves, because we want to feel accepted. 

When we build inclusive and equitable environments, people can share their perspectives at all levels of the business. We need to stop comparing ourselves to people who have 5 times more experience than us and take the opportunities we have in front of us. We also need to focus less on output and more on input, and value what people are contributing. We should be empowering, motivating and encouraging people to speak up, shed their inhibitions and come out of their shells. Courage is what helps us get rid of impostor syndrome. They’re all small changes, but we should try to do our bit to get rid of impostor syndrome.” 

To hear more from Richa, tune into Episode 16 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

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