"I don't know what I'm doing."
How often do you have that feeling? Whether it's a new project we have been given to lead or a major presentation we are expected to deliver, as women, we will find ourselves in a mini-state of panic because we feel ill-equipped for these opportunities. "Imposter Syndrome", officially identified in 1978 by two psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, is that nagging and destructive mindset of inferiority that keeps whispering:
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"You don't deserve this success."
"You're a fraud."
This self-doubt is what keeps us from pursuing our dream jobs, advocating for ourselves, showcasing our expertise in the workplace, negotiating for the money we deserve, and even launching the businesses we are passionate about. But before we take that negative energy into 2020, here are 3 ways to kick imposter syndrome to the curb:
1.Reflect on how you got here.
Unless you have a fairy godmother who has handed you every single opportunity to date, you have had to work and earn your way through your career. You had to complete your degree, you had to wow interviewers, you had to demonstrate your knowledge and experience to be assigned your current role in the first place. When I feel imposter syndrome creeping in, I tend to ask myself the seemingly silly but honest question, "If I truly were a fraud, wouldn't someone have figured it out by NOW?"
And reflect the achievements that you have realized over the course of your career. Those didn't happen by chance. No one else put the work in and just signed your name at the bottom. You had to dig your heels in and get it done yourself. Accept the fact that you have had an active role in your success thus far, and you truly belong where you are right now.
Part of what will keep you doubting your own abilities is the comparison with other people next to you. "Stacy is five years younger than me, and look at what she's doing. She knows way more than I do. I'll just let her lead the project instead." "Kevin just got here last month, and he's already wowing management. There's no way for me to compete with him."
STOP IT. What someone else knows has nothing to do with what you know. What someone else has done cannot diminish what you can or have already accomplished. Don't sell yourself or your expertise short because you are looking to the left and right instead of straight ahead. Never forget that you are the powerhouse that has been selected because of the results and value that only YOU can consistently deliver.
3.Use imposter syndrome to show out!
You're probably thinking "Girl whet? I thought imposter syndrome was a bad thing." Yes it is, if you allow it to simmer and hinder you. But you can actually turn that negative energy into a positive push to take your performance to the next level.
Let me tell you a quick story. When I was assigned to lead a major cross-functional project in my first finance position, I left the director's office scared to death. I honestly had no idea why she picked me, and I was pretty sure I was going to fail miserably. To be completely transparent, I was literally shaking at my desk. So I got up, went to the bathroom, and gave myself a quick pep talk, "You can either fail and prove yourself right or you can knock this project out of the park and prove yourself wrong. What's it gonna be?" Right then, I chose the latter. Fast forward to the end of the project, I saved the company $4M and I received a promotion.
It is up to you to control your mindset and where you allow it to take you. It is up to you to speak positively to yourself and make the decision right now that imposter syndrome can either limit you or empower you to be the boss chick you already know you are. So, I'm asking you the same question I asked myself 11 years ago when I took on that project: "What's it gonna be?"
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports