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Popya with Ruusa Nandago - Normalising imposter syndrome in a workplace

2021-03-10  Paheja Siririka

Popya with Ruusa Nandago - Normalising imposter syndrome in a workplace
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Ruusa Nandago said it is important for young people to discover the concept of imposter syndrome, talk more about it as they will realise that it is a completely normal feeling and those who are even more accomplished feel it now and then.

Nandago is a Group Economist and FNB and was speaking at a master class organised by the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative (APLI) under the theme How Women Rise.

The 27-year-old said being a youth in corporate is challenging hence, she has made it a point to talk about imposter syndrome as much as she can.

Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

“It was quite overwhelming working for such a big company although I was eager to learn, I often felt extremely out of my depth because of my lack of experience. The economics that I studied at school was certainly not the same economics that one practises in the real world,” she recalled her ordeals.

She added: “Every time I would sit in meetings everyone around me seemed to be smarter than I was and seemed to have so much more knowledge than I did. Concepts that seemed to be familiar to everyone were completely foreign to me. It didn’t help that I was often the youngest person in the room and that added to me feeling unaccomplished or under accomplished.”

Imposter syndrome is not a disease or an abnormality, it’s just a feeling. “After a few months of battling through these feelings, I decided this ain’t it – it was unsustainable. And I finally decided to reach out to someone. I reached out to an acquaintance who is also an economist. I explained to her what I had been feeling and asked her for advice on how to navigate around these feelings,” she remembered.

 In commemorating International Women’s Day, owner of Poiyah Media Ilke Platt told on entrepreneurship and said there are factors that can discourage the process of women rising that includes finances, mental state, workload, not seeing instant results, not being able to grow the way one wants to and somehow losing sight of the original idea.

 “Get out of the mental state and keep an eye on the prize. Inspire your mind through other stories and successes from those that have been there, improve your business model constantly. Get support in the household for you to concentrate on your business,” she enlightened. 

 Platt stated the importance of purpose and dignity. “Purpose for your calling be it working for yourself or someone else. We have a greater purpose to strengthen others and remain dignified in all we do. This journey becomes lonely, depressing and gives you all reasons for going back to your comfort zone. But once you reach that boiling point, everything will come together,” she highlighted.

 Victorina Amunime, 2019 APLI Fellow said women need to be proactive in taking up roles in society, specifically in leadership.

 “To break the barriers in leadership and the workplace for women, it is necessary to be disruptive. You will see disruption as a tool of change and change is not a bad thing. Change is needed. It requires to ask yourself what you can bring to the table to bring this disruption,” robustly said Amunime.

 She added: “As women, there is so much disruption we need to do, to the systems, to the norms or culture and tradition, you need to start being disruptive to take a place and position in leadership, the one you are meant to be- so ask yourself f- Who do you think you are,” stated Amunime.

2021-03-10  Paheja Siririka

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