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  • Writer's pictureJessica Ponyrko

Sniffing Out My Imposter

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

It feels strange to admit, but starting my own business was honestly never something I dreamed of or even considered doing. Not that it was something I had an aversion to. Just one of those things that honestly never even crossed my mind.

I started my professional career in healthcare, eventually transitioning over to private industry and biopharma. As I made my way through the ranks, I started to realize something about myself: I always sought out new positions. Not just new positions to ME. New positions in the company, new teams, new business units, new things to build and create. I would get into these positions, build them out as my own, feel immense pride for everything I had built, and then look for my next challenge.

Sometimes I look at where I am now, working for myself, starting my own business... and I feel confused about how I got here, in the way that so many women suffer from the dreaded IMPOSTER SYNDROME. Thinking things like, "Am I really meant to do this?" and "Am I giving my ability more credit than I deserve by taking this on?" Sure, I helped bring to market a number of multi-billion, multinational products, but I also was part of a team. Maybe I was just a cog and I can't really do all this on my own.

I know I'm far from alone in these feelings of self-doubt. Studies show that impostor syndrome has killed the careers of many women. As females continue to work to gain an equal share of leadership positions as their male colleagues, many women don't see many examples of other women exceeding in their fields. This can leave many of us feeling disenfranchised, doubtful of our capabilities, and sometimes wondering if we were only hired to fill a gender or race quota.

I also know this feeling isn't new to me. Through the majority of my time working in the corporate world, I doubted myself. I felt like luck landed whatever job I was in into my lap and it was only a matter of time before someone realized I was already working above my capabilities, never fully taking into consideration myself the reasons WHY I kept getting promoted.

But when I actually stop and look back at the path that brought me here, it makes a lot more sense. It's so easy to look at our current positions in a vacuum, as if the current sphere of where we are is the only one that matters, making it easy to doubt ourselves and our accomplishments. My life has changed so much in the last decade, but all of those changes were accomplishments. It sounds so much easier said than done, but maybe women need to spend more time looking backwards, not in fear of being found out, but in reverie and awe for all that they've accomplished.

I think I'll make that a 2021 goal for myself.

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