opinion

Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a silent yet formidable foe that many of us encounter at some point in our lives. It doesn’t discriminate by gender, profession or even accomplishments. In fact, it often thrives in environments where success is prevalent, making it all the more challenging to overcome. In this article, I’ll share personal insights into conquering imposter syndrome from the perspective of a female CEO and sex worker.

Welcome to the Club

The more I pushed my boundaries, the more my confidence grew. Successes, once recognized and owned, became powerful antidotes to imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where we doubt our accomplishments and have an internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. It can be particularly acute in a competitive industry like ours. I’ve often found myself wondering, throughout my 25-year professional career, if my achievements were a result of inherited privilege, pure luck or if I genuinely earned my success.

Acknowledgment

One crucial aspect of overcoming imposter syndrome is recognizing it. For me, this realization came when I attended the last XBIZ LA conference and found myself doubting my ability to network with industry peers and contribute meaningfully to the discussions. It was then that I understood that imposter syndrome was holding me back from seizing opportunities to learn and grow.

Acceptance

To combat imposter syndrome, I began to focus on self-compassion and self-awareness. I learned to appreciate my accomplishments, recognizing that they were the result of hard work, determination and expertise. I also realized that failure and self-doubt are part and parcel of the journey to success. In order to grow, I have to face all the challenges facing me, both internal and external.

Support Networks

Mentorship has also played a pivotal role in my journey. I sought guidance from successful individuals who have faced similar challenges. Their stories of resilience and the hurdles they have overcome are truly inspiring. Additionally, building a support network of peers who share my experiences allows me to validate my feelings and gain a fresh perspective.

Lean Into Change

Taking risks and stepping out of my comfort zone became my mantra. Instead of shying away from challenging opportunities, I embraced them. The more I pushed my boundaries, the more my confidence grew. Successes, once recognized and owned, became powerful antidotes to imposter syndrome.

Gratitude With a Dash of Perspective

Furthermore, practicing gratitude helped me appreciate my journey. Regularly reflecting on my accomplishments, both big and small, allowed me to see how far I have come. Gratitude not only boosts my self-esteem but also instills a positive mindset. 

As a female CEO, I’ve realized that embracing vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. It’s essential to acknowledge that imposter syndrome is not a condition exclusive to gender or age; it can affect anyone. Consequently, it’s important for those in leadership roles to share our experiences openly to create a more informed and inclusive environment.

Imposter syndrome is a formidable adversary. It can be especially challenging for those in the adult industry, which has no formal road map to success. However, this challenge can be overcome with self-compassion, mentorship, risk-taking, gratitude and a willingness to embrace vulnerability.

We must remember that our achievements are not mere accidents, but the result of our hard work and dedication. As sex workers, as professionals and as members of society, we have a responsibility to share our stories, hopefully helping others overcome imposter syndrome and achieve their full potential.

With over 20 years’ experience in mainstream marketing, retired sex worker Carly David originally began her career in entertainment before transitioning to advertising agencies. In 2018, she founded PS: Group, a creative agency for the adult industry. She advocates for sex workers’ rights and decriminalization. For more information, follow @WeArePSgroup on X.com and visit wearepsgroup.com.

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