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Overcome Imposter Syndrome with 3 Simple Changes to Your Mindset

While Imamull taught students Digital Marketing at IBTE, being a lecturer taught him how to overcome imposter syndrome.

On the 1st of August 2023, while waiting for His Royal Majesty to step into the International Convention Centre (ICC) for the opening ceremony of Brunei’s 18th National Youth Day, AICREATIVV co-founder Imamull Qhaeer received a call that he did not expect. The caller on the other side, a staff member at the Business Campus of the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE), offered a proposition:

How would you like to be an adjunct lecturer at IBTE?

Without thinking twice, Imamull said yes, a yes that propelled him into six months of new experiences, new friends, and new growth.

As the excitement settled in, so did the creeping feelings of self-doubt and incompetence, natural byproducts of the phenomenon known as ‘imposter syndrome’. Imposter syndrome is an internal feeling of anxiousness, inexperience, and lack of success, despite external evidence of success and competence in their professional or personal lives. The condition can happen to anyone, of any age, gender, or profession, and Imamull was no exception. Now, a few months into his adjunct lecturer position for a Digital Marketing module at IBTE, Imamull has become more confident in himself and his abilities, and he’s here to share three ways to shift your mindset so that you can also tackle this tricky phenomenon!

Tip 1: Embrace Your Successes

One of the first steps to overcoming imposter syndrome is to realise that you’ve achieved many things, whether that is in your career path or your personal life. While big achievements feel like milestone memories in your lifetime, the smaller achievements may be easier to forget, but they’re just as important and meaningful to your growth.

As Imamull prepared the curriculum that he would teach to 110 students for the next six months, he revisited the self-help books that he read, the online courses that he took, and the successes and failures that he experienced while trying to find AICREATIVV’s footing in the creative industry. Compiling all the knowledge, theory, and anecdotes that he’s collected over the past three years made him realise that he has made significant strides in his career journey so far. His early days of kickstarting AICREATIVV did come with their fair share of trials and tribulations:

“When Amal and I first started AICREATIVV, we didn’t have a digital marketing background, so we had to learn from scratch by learning courses and all that. But many courses were catered to the Western culture, so to apply that to the local context without any experience on execution was very difficult.”

Three years down the line, he realised that there must have been others who went through or are going through the same problems as he did, some of which may be sitting in his Digital Marketing classrooms today. When he looks at his students, he sees the fresh-faced person that he was three years ago, and he knows that the younger Imamull would’ve appreciated having someone to tell him everything he knows now. This thought alone encouraged him to do his best, even with a role that was new and unfamiliar.

Imamull Qhaeer as an adjunct lecturer for digital marketing at the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE)

Tip 2: Acknowledge Your Limitations

Even though it’s important to appreciate how far you’ve grown in terms of your bank of knowledge and expertise, overcoming imposter syndrome also involves accepting the fact that it’s almost impossible to know everything. Every day, new information is discovered, old knowledge is updated, and when it comes to digital marketing specifically, trends are constantly changing to keep up with the current marketing landscape. Recognising that the world of information is vast means recognising that you can’t possibly have all the answers, and that’s okay. In other words:

”If you think you know everything, you can’t learn anything.”

Imamull makes this clear to his students by fostering a culture of openness and transparency. He encourages his students to ask any question, no matter how elementary or complex. And if he doesn’t have an answer to their questions, he admits it truthfully, responding along the lines of, “I don’t know, but I’ll come back to you when I have the answer.” Fostering this environment meant that his students could be candid with him, that they don’t have to be afraid to share their opinions, and that they could feel safe to confide in him.

Imamull appreciates it when his students share their perspectives in class, or when they challenge Imamull’s perspective with hypothetical situations or ‘exceptions to the rules’. Engaging in thought-provoking discussions was an opportunity for Imamull to dissect his base knowledge without judgement, and perhaps discover something new by simply looking at things from a different perspective. He has always kept the saying “teaching is learning twice” close to his heart, and this lecturer role gave him firsthand experience of what that saying truly means.

Tip 3: Lean into Discomfort

The last method that Imamull shares to overcome imposter syndrome is one that you may not like to hear. However, only by adopting this mindset can you tackle the phenomenon head-on. This advice is to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable, because in these moments of discomfort are where you will find opportunities for growth. As you begin new experiences in your career journey, you are bound to experience feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, with common thoughts such as “I’m not good enough” or “there has to be someone else better than me for the job”. Even though these thoughts are normal when experiencing imposter syndrome, they shouldn’t hinder you from taking those steps toward growth and improvement.

When Imamull ended his call with IBTE that day, he doubted whether he was fit for this role. Even while standing at the ICC, waiting to be the representative face of Brunei’s youth and creative industry, Imamull wondered if he really could provide value to the students and teachers who are relying on him to expand their knowledge. The closest thing to teaching that he’s done in the past was a two-hour seminar for LiveWire in September 2022, so this jump from a two-hour guest speaker to a six-month adjunct lecturer felt far and wide, and he was not confident that he could reach the other side safely. However, instead of giving in to the feelings of imposter syndrome, Imamull thought about the value that this would bring to the students, the company, and himself, and he used that to push through the fear.

“I told myself, if I don’t overcome this fear of stage fright, I won’t be able to help [the students] how I want to, and I’ll be regretful, I would hate myself if I wasn’t able to help them even after being given the chance to become an adjunct lecturer.”

Since the launch of AICREATIVV, Imamull forced himself to go through so many new situations for his company that he has become no stranger to the uncomfortable feeling. Today, whether he is meeting a new client or starting a new collaborative project, he’s made it a habit to never turn down an opportunity at first encounter.

Make Imposter Syndrome Fear You!

Whether you’re getting a promotion, starting a new business venture, or simply receiving praise from the people who notice your capabilities, imposter syndrome can appear as an obstacle in the way of you fully celebrating your successes. The truth is, putting yourself in new environments is almost always going to feel uncomfortable at first. The best way to tackle internal obstacles like imposter syndrome is to make internal changes to the way you tackle the issue.

If Imamull had given in to the self-doubting thoughts and rejected the adjunct lecturer position for fear of failure, he would not have learned the power of giving value in order to gain value. In fact, learning this concept was what sparked his conviction to begin posting reels on AICREATIVV’s Instagram and TikTok, where the team shares valuable content to educate others on various topics of expertise, from design to marketing. Opening one door to new opportunities can open more doors to business or personal growth! So embrace your successes, acknowledge your limitations, and lean into discomfort – by doing so, you not only conquer the fear of imposter syndrome, but you can also pave the way to reaching your full potential!

If you found this article helpful, show your support by sharing it with others! Here at AICREATIVV, we’re all about supporting our friends and family towards growth and improvement.

Let’s make the magic happen together!

Imamull Qhaeer as an adjunct lecturer for digital marketing at the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE)


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