Some of the most terrifying moments in my career have also been the most gratifying. Impostor syndrome seems to be so pervasive particularly among millennials, and I have definitely always shouldered a lot of that self-doubt. But recently, I’ve learned how to channel that anxiety into something far more constructive. There’s an upside to that energy; it propels me forward and inspires me to pour myself into what I do on a daily basis. Out of that shift in perspective, I’ve learned that the best opportunities should scare you a little—without a certain level of the unknown, there’s no room for personal growth.
"Impostor syndrome seems to be so pervasive particularly among millennials, and I have definitely always shouldered a lot of that self-doubt."
This first became really evident to me two years ago, when I made the huge decision to leave my job at Elle—something I had dreamed about since I was a teenager—and move across the country to work for Byrdie in Los Angeles. I will never forget what it was like to agonize over this. I had everything going for me career-wise, but the opportunity came up, and it was too exciting not to deeply consider: I was a huge fan of Byrdie, and the startup culture of its parent company, CMG, was extremely appealing to me. After weighing all the pros and cons and concluding that both options were honestly great, I deferred to my gut instinct. Once I stopped overthinking everything and got out of my head, I realized that I actually really wanted to leave NYC for awhile and have this fresh experience. The prospect of picking up my entire life and moving to a city where I didn’t know anyone was terrifying, sure. But there was an amazing job waiting for me, and I felt ready to negotiate that challenge. It was the most gratifying, self-empowering thing I’ve ever done.
"The most efficient way to rise to the occasion is to recognize your own capability and be your own advocate."
And it’s a mindset that I now take with me to work every day: that in order to take the greatest leaps and produce the best work, you often have tune out your own BS and reframe the risk of things not panning out. The most efficient way to rise to the occasion is to recognize your own capability and be your own advocate. Self-doubt is such a drain on time and energy, and on the flip side, knowing your own worth doesn’t make you complacent. And most importantly, making mistakes is just part of the deal. I’m my own worst critic, so that’s been the toughest lesson to internalize—at the start of my career, every little slip-up felt like the end of the world. That changed when I decided to move to LA. On paper, it was such a high-stakes situation, but I realized that even if it didn’t work out, I had to have that experience. It could never be a mistake; only a lesson. Now, I remind myself that at the bare minimum, I’ll always learn something.