I can’t recall when I learnt the difference between my left & right shoe, or the point I figured out how to tell time.
I’m sure a parent must have taught me. But I remember that some of my other siblings didn’t learn when I did. Just like how I still don’t know my multiplication tables, but they do. Despite my shaky foundation, I studied and passed Calculus.
Turns out, I dislike rote memorization. Instead, I prefer to understand principles. It’s why I can never recollect the titles of songs. I read a book and promptly forgot the name of the author. What I will hold on to are the parts that left a lasting impression on me.
The Accidental Consultant
I became a consultant by mistake, just as I didn’t plan on becoming an entrepreneur. In my former company, I was the head of research because of my science background. Then, one day, the head of consulting left, and someone needed to fill in quickly. The company chose me by default.
In the beginning, I hated consulting and was terribly insecure. I was young at the time, and consulting is a discipline where you have to convince much older folks that you know what you’re talking about, and that they should trust their business to you.
Then, there are the strategy sessions where you have to solve problems in front of a small crowd.
It took me a while to realize it’s hard to think on your feet without experience. And, I much preferred to chew on puzzles for days before proffering solutions.
Beating Impostor Syndrome
For some, at the core of impostor syndrome is a belief that there is an accepted standard, and you don’t measure up to it.
I overcame this with a simple insight. I was never consulted by those who wrote societal norms. So, I can change things without telling them to. I can work at my own pace and still produce stellar results. Along the way, I also learnt that “No” or “Yes” is a complete sentence. I don’t need to overexplain myself and can lead with actions instead of words.
What’s more, I discovered that no one would beat me. When you’re a child in an African household, you live with the constant fear of being spanked by your parents for doing things wrong. As an adult, I realized that it was okay to make mistakes as long as I owned them and didn’t repeat the same ones.
Finally, having people who believed in me did wonders for my ego. My parents were my greatest cheerleaders, and my friends held me down. I knew I wasn’t alone.
In life, you’re going to fail a few times. But your identity can remain unshaken. You are not your failure. It is a project that failed, not you. Remember all the times you did good. You have already demonstrated your capacity in the past. And surely, there will be many wins to come. So, move on.As an adult, I realized that it was okay to make mistakes as long as I owned them and didn't repeat the same ones. Click To Tweet
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