Imposter Syndrome seems to be the name of the game these days. Maybe it’s the way social media can feel like everyone’s personal and professional highlight reel (without sharing the days when things don’t work out), but I have heard more from our community about “feeling like a fraud” than possibly any other issue these days. So that’s why today’s podcast, recorded live in San Francisco at the Good Company tour, was so meaningful. Along with Shakirah Simley, Reem Assil, Windy Chien and Esmé Weijun Wang, I got to dive deep into these issues and how they affect us. Not just emotionally, but physically as well. We spoke together about how we feel these fears in our bodies, how we can support each other through them, and how we’ve all learned to own our confidence and ask for more of what we want and need in life and work.
A huge thank you to Books Inc for hosting our event and Allie Misch for her help on audio and everyone who came out to support this conversation. (And thank you to our art director, George McCalman, for the live drawing of our panel above!) xo, Grace
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“I struggle with imposter syndrome. Even though I have tons of experience and worked really hard in my field that somehow I don’t belong and that someone is going to find out. I’ve had to really rely on my inner fire and trust myself to fight against that voice.” -Shakirah Simley (4:40)
“In times like this, when there are so many good reasons to be fearful, I find comfort in the art that I make. Knots are a common language spoken all over the world and I find it very comforting to know that I speak this language that has been spoken throughout history and it’s a language I’ve chosen.” -Windy Chien (06:34)
“The times in my life when I’ve hit rock bottom and when I was the most vulnerable were when people would interject. That’s when I built my strongest support systems that have really carried me through all the tough times.” -Reem Assil (07:34 )
“I realized my fear with public speaking was that I would be an imposter. But when you’re talking about yourself you can’t say anything wrong because all you have to do is tell the truth.” -Windy Chien (16:55)
“Sometimes the most right thing to do is not the most popular thing.” -Shakirah Simley (18:16)
“I have this piece of art on my wall that says, “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” I like thinking that everything I come across, or everything that I face in my life that brings fear is something that I was built to be able to face.” -Esmé Weijun Wang (20:26)
“One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I need to allow myself to feel what I’m feeling. I feel like as women we’re socialized to not be angry to be more palatable to people. So I’m going to let myself feel that way and allow myself that space. That helps me sharpen my saw and get ready to face all the challenges that I know will be down the road.” Shakirah Simley (26:51)
“It’s okay to make creativity the center of your life. I was used to supporting and evangelizing other people’s creativity, and I always felt like I wasn’t allowed to do that for myself. Finally I had to give myself permission because nobody else was going to.” -Windy Chien (30:41)
“You don’t have to be super woman. It’s okay to go to pieces without falling apart and allow for that bit of messiness because there is value in that.” -Shakirah Simley (31:14)
“I’m really confident. I’ve just lived long enough to have had enough good experiences taking risks that have turned out okay. It’s kind of amazing to actually be on stage and say that. I’m just very confident about what what these hands can do.” -Windy Chien (32:49)
“I have a lot of grit. I want to get in there. I’m going to get dirty. Things don’t become smooth unless there’s friction.” -Shakirah Simley (33:11)