All my life, I have struggled with imposter syndrome. Growing up, I was always the youngest, the tallest, the scrawniest, and then my adult years took me to new places where I constantly felt out of place and never thought I was qualified to be included.
Imposter syndrome, this crippling, overwhelming and suffocating feeling, has always held me in a chokehold, having me settle for less than I deserve. “If I let this opportunity go, I will never find another like it”, I subconsciously tell myself, and so I cling on to situations, people and things that do not serve me.
The worst part is that in managing this feeling, I learnt to find solace in disappointment, because that is what I believed I deserve. I stopped trying to grow. I was ready to give up at the slightest inconvenience, because maybe I didn’t deserve any better.
Until I tried.
One day, I just decided to go for it; go for the opportunities my head told me I could never be qualified for, take the first step towards achieving the goals I had talked myself out of, hold myself to the highest standards that I was not sure I could live up to.
I tried and guess what? I failed. But this time I decided to try again.
This is how I started to grow. I started to love myself and I learnt to take it easy on myself. No matter what the outcome is, I have learnt that I need to try. I need to fail fast and fail forward. I am made for greatness, so my failures will be great, but then, so will my successes.
PS: I have always hated Christmas because while everyone around me is being merry and winding down after a long year, for me it signifies the end of yet another year where I haven’t achieved the goals I set for myself at the start of the year.
I have decided I am going to look forward to this Christmas, because if there is one thing I have achieved this year, it is that I have learnt a lot. I have been bold and daring. I have tried and failed. I may be an imposter, but at least now, I know who I am and who I am not.
If you are reading this, this is your sign to take that leap of faith.
Tony Elumelu Foundation.