How to Fight Your Inner Gremlin and Combat Imposter Syndrome

By: Natalie Cantave, Co-Founder of MKTG WMN and Product Marketing Manager at Cohere Health

You know that little voice that comes in your head and says “You’re not good enough. You don’t know shit?” Yeah, I know that voice pretty well, and so do many. It’s your inner gremlin coming in to make you doubt yourself the moment before an interview, the meeting with your manager to fight for your promotion, the minute before you’re about to give a fundraising pitch. That’s what we call imposter syndrome.

I’ve had many conflicts with the inner gremlin in my head, whether it’s around developing a new skill, applying for a new job, figuring out how to advocate for myself and my career path. I also face imposter syndrome being a Black woman in tech, where I feel I don’t belong because there aren’t many people who look like me.

However, as I’ve been developing in my career, I’ve been learning how to fight my inner gremlin and tell it no. Tell the monster in my head that I am good enough to have a seat at the table, that I have the skills ready to apply for the dream job, and that I belong. I continue to work on liberating myself from the chains that prevent me from being my authentic self in my career.

Source: GenderPhotos.Vice.Com

On June 18th, MKTG WMN hosted an event “Breaking past imposter syndrome with coach Sarah Brody”. We as women in marketing came together to openly discuss situations when we’ve been faced with our inner gremlins and identify tactics to combat imposter syndrome.

Step 1: Picture your inner gremlin

A picture is worth a thousand words. Sarah Brody during our event encouraged us to draw a picture of the inner gremlin that’s in our heads. It can be a person, an energy, an animal, or a character from your favorite movie or character — wherever your imagination takes you. There is power by being able to picture the little monster and identify it as a separate entity from you.

Step 2: Identify situations when your gremlin pops up

Sarah encouraged us to reflect and identify situations when your inner gremlin pops up. Does it pop up right before a big presentation in front of clients? Does that feeling of self doubt appear before a mid-year evaluation when you’re ready to advocate for a higher salary or a promotion? Do you feel nervous when reading the criteria for the dream job at your dream company and question if you’re qualified. Recognize when that inner voice pops up in your head.

Step 3: Reframe your gremlin’s “talk track”

What does that inner voice in your head tell you before a moment of opportunity? Does it tell you that you don’t know your shit? Does it tell you that it’s not going to work out? Write down the words that your inner gremlin says in your head. Take back your power and reframe the words. Instead of “you don’t know your shit,” reframe the thought to “you are smart and you know your shit!” Spin the messages of self doubt into positivity.

Step 4: Reflect on how systems and forces create situations where your gremlin appears

During our discussion, Liza Dube mentioned that imposter syndrome is not something we just bring onto ourselves; the forces and systems at play also have a role in creating situations where self-doubt can appear. For example, my inner gremlin plays a role within my identify being a Black woman in tech because tech lacks diversity. Therefore, my voice tells me that “I don’t belong” because there aren’t many people that look like me.

When we recognize the systems and forces at play, we can take back our individual power but also think about how we can combat the systems at play to help the next generation. For example, how can managers and leaders increase diversity on engineering teams so that a woman can apply and not feel like the only female in the room? How can leaders and executives increase diversity on teams so that people of color feel like they belong and have a seat at the table?

Step 5: Liberate yourself from your gremlin and embrace your authentic self

Life is too short to doubt ourselves and not apply for the dream job. Separate yourself from your inner gremlin and listen to the true words and stories that are in your heart and your gut. Only you know your best self and know that you are qualified, capable, and good enough. It’s time to take back your individual power and live without fear.

What’s next for MKTG WMN?

Gabrielle and I are psyched to continue to create opportunities to support women in marketing from all over the world!

Here’s what is coming up next:

-Friday 7/23 at 12pm ET/9am PT: MKTG WMN discusses how to up-level your partnership with design

-Friday 8/20 at 12pm ET/9am PT: MKTG WMN discusses how to get the most out of networking

Make sure you get an invite by joining us here!

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