Written by Dr. Stephanie Akoumany & Dr. Tony Awojoodu
So many people feel like impostors when they accomplish a new goal, get accepted into a new school, internship, or fellowship, or land a new job. Throughout each of these milestones, you still don’t feel like you’re enough. You often don’t feel like you’re ready. You constantly compare yourself to your peers and colleagues, or even worse an Instagram or LinkedIn influencer that seems to be killing it professionally and personally at every turn.
This can be especially true for POCs (People of Color) as they navigate PWIs (predominately white institutions). Now more than ever is the time to recognize your greatness. Seize the moment, contribute your skills, talents, and joy to your company, and your entire field! We need to enjoy our journeys and remember that we are our ancestors' wildest dreams.
I recently interviewed Dr. Tony Awojoodu, the Founder and CEO of Tone's Professional Advisory Solutions & Services, LLC on The Blooming is A Habit Podcast.
I asked him how business professionals and business owners of color can get over impostor syndrome and survivor's remorse so that they can thrive in their careers and recognize their worth? Dr. Tone says that high performers of color often experience impostor’s syndrome, “the feeling that you are not able, capable, or deserving of the position that you are in.”
Here’s the rest of Dr. Tone’s response:
“I think the biggest thing to do is to acknowledge that [impostor’s syndrome and survivor’s remorse] are real and to not fight them. I experienced severe impostor's syndrome when starting Tone's PASS. I regularly had thoughts in my head like "who am I to speak about this with authority?" and "why do I deserve to be paid for this?" I still get these today. But I don't shy away from them. I try to be in control of my mindset and this starts with acknowledging the thoughts that are in my head. And then I take a fact based approach.
Asking questions like "did I earn this?" and "do I work hard?" and "have people affirmed that I am valuable to them?" help me reason through some of these natural limiting mindsets. At the end of the day, we are all human and are emotional beings but the mind is powerful and I implore all of my clients to truly own it.”
Here are some tips to combat impostor’s syndrome:
-Move with an infinite mindset and heartset
-Believe in your worth
-Visualize what you want
-Seek out mentors and accountability partners
-Make a list of goals
-Slay goals one by one
-Google affirmations that resonate with you
-Manifest the life of your dreams
-Treat yourself like your own best friend
-Only reflect on constructive criticism from others. You have the final say
-Trust your greatness
Dr. Awojoodu says that several years ago he was working on his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech on the path to becoming a professor for a top tier research University, but something wasn't right. He was broke (making $25,000 a year on a graduate student stipend), completely unfulfilled with life, and had no clarity into what the future would hold for me. His health and relationships suffered, and he felt completely lost. During that period, Tony went searching for meaning in life and discovered that there were many things that he had not fully tapped into: his purpose, the strengths he naturally possessed, and strategies to increase his time, energy, and money. Collectively, he now refers to these as the ingredients of "peak performance."
Tony reinvested in these things and started to unlock the full potential in his life. He discovered his love for problem solving, graduated with his PhD, and landed a job at McKinsey & Company, the world's top management consulting Firm. He built a 7-figure investment portfolio in under 5 years and started building wealth for the next generation. He reinvested in his relationships and his health & wellness and married his college sweetheart.
Today, Tony leads strategy for the northeast for DaVita, the world's largest dialysis provider, helps impact-oriented professionals achieve peak performance through his business, Tone's Professional Advisory Solutions and Services, and is a managing partner for multiple investment groups focused on early stage black-owned ventures and small businesses.
This message goes to so many black and POC students, academics, business professionals, and business owners who I have met throughout the years who constantly are navigating the feeling that they may not be enough. Too often they are navigating school and work cultures that have higher expectations of them in every area of life and validate and celebrate their white peers’ “achievements” more than theirs.
You have to enjoy your process. Please! We implore you! Enjoy your process. You belong to be here! You worked hard to sit in that seat. It was not because your school or job needed to meet a quota, it’s because you are ready to meet this new opportunity with power, strategy, passion, curiosity and a willingness to learn, fail, learn some more and grow.
We want you to know, You Are Enough. You deserve to feel safe. You deserve to know that you can accomplish your wildest dreams.