Facing Rejection – Imposter Syndrome

The dreaded words – thank you for your interest…unfortunately…high standard…

We have all been there. Pre-Covid, rejection did not phase me. I had faith in my abilities and I equally had faith that the right job would find me. I’ve spoke about this before but when Covid struck my positive mindframe plummeted. I vividly recall getting three TC rejections back on the same day and I remember thinking that I would never be good enough for a career in the legal field and to just quit while I was ahead. I literally pulled my parents aside and said that I was considering other career paths. Luckily, they seen right through me and helped me to find my confidence again.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Like many other themes, there are so many different definitions out there but the one that resonated with me the most is –

‘The idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications’ ( sourced from: https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/).

There is often a second element to this and that is the feeling that you will be exposed as a fraud. Personally, I never experienced the second element. To break it down even more, for me it was like a grey cloud of self-doubt that followed me around everywhere.

When I was researching for this post, I learnt so much. For example, I never knew that it occured in certain groups of people with definite characteristics. MNT actually classified this into 5 key groups:

  • The perfectionist
  • The expert
  • The natural genius
  • The soloist
  • The superhero

(Sourced from:https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321730#types)

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

When I thought about the classifications even more, I realised that I am definitely a perfectionist in every aspect of everyday life. This shed new light on the topic and made me think about reaching out to other perfectionists in the field and try to understand more about how they feel. With that in mind, here are some things that helped me to firstly recognise how I was feeling and secondly, overcome the ‘grey cloud’

  • Find your niche – I fell into a hole of applying for jobs in areas that I had no interest in as I didn’t think I was good enough to apply for the jobs that I actually wanted. Plus the fact I didn’t want to face further rejection. A few months back, I started exploring the finance/banking and lawtech legal field. This was a major ‘lightbulb’ moment for me as once I realised what areas of law I wanted to specialise in, everything suddenly just made sense and opportunities were finding me.
  • Chatting with professionals – When I narrowed down the area of law, I started reaching out to people on Linkedin that are currently working in that same field and for companies that interested me. I would ask them questions such as their daily routine, key traits to succeed in the area etc. They would often offer to look at my cv and in their feedback they highlighted how my long list of extracurriculars shone and one person even said they had no idea how I fitted in as much as I had over the years. Over time the grey cloud of self doubt began to drift away. I think this was because I realised that other people believed in me and it was time to start believing in myself.
  • Like-minded people – when I started my legal instagram page, naturally I connected with like-minded people who were going through the same things as I was. My feed was flooded with people acknowledging their own fight with imposter syndrome. These posts were so open and honest. Reflecting back, 1 year ago I would have never have spoken about my feelings with anyone let alone share them online for the world to see. I think a lot of credit is due to everyone that opens themselves up and puts themselves in a position of vulnerability. This was an enormous factor in transforming my mindspace as I recognised that I was not on my own and I felt part of a wider community and better equipped to tackle the problem at hand.

Now, we have come to the end of the post but I want people to be aware that imposter syndrome is not only apparent in the legal field. In fact, this morning as I was writing this post, an interview with Margot Robbie came on my tv. She spoke about her personal experience with imposter syndrome and how even after two oscar nominations she still battles with the feeling of not being good enough. What I am trying to highlight is that even those at the top of their game and on different career paths battle with this but recognising it is the first step of overcoming it.

Here is a great Forbes article that helped me out immensely and is definitely worth the read: https://www.forbes.com/sites/janicegassam/2020/01/29/4-ways-to-overcome-imposter-syndrome/#6d2807d31f1b

Thank you for reading today’s post and for the support on this platform over the past month – I can’t wait to see what the future holds for LE.

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