How Imposter Syndrome and Scarcity Mindset are Holding You Back From the Opportunities You Deserve: A Conversation with Dr. Fatimah Williams and Dr. Vicki Johnson

Have you ever felt that you don’t belong where you are because you aren’t qualified enough? Have you ever felt like there aren’t opportunities for you because there aren’t enough jobs? These feelings are normal and we call them Imposter Syndrome and Scarcity Mindset.

I’m excited to share this discussion and Q+A with my good friend, Dr. Vicki Johnson. In this episode of GradSchooled, we discuss how to confidently pursue the professional opportunities you desire. You will gain insights on breaking the barriers of Imposter Syndrome when applying to and excelling within competitive fellowships and jobs. 

Dr. Vicki Johnson is Founder and CEO of ProFellow, the world’s leading online resource for information on professional and academic fellowships. She is also the creator of Fully Funded, an online course and mentorship program that teaches the strategies to achieve full funding for graduate school and professional development. Vicki is an award-winning social entrepreneur, top PhD scholar and four-time fellowship recipient.

In this episode:

[1:40] – Vicki introduces herself as the founder of and the creator of the Fully Funded course and mentorship program for graduate school and fellowship applicants.

[3:00] – These mindsets can either be a positive fuel and a negative fuel, but are most often referred to in the negative light.

[3:40] – A layman’s definition of Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you do not belong and feeling like you are a fraud.

[4:27] – This is a lack of acknowledgement, ownership, and internalization of your true achievements and skills.

[5:09] – Fatimah says that people feel the effects of Imposter Syndrome at different points in their lives and gives examples of when they could pop up.

[6:17] – High achievers tend to feel Imposter Syndrome. Fatimah says this is because most high achievers are perfectionists and compare themselves to others. This causes people to feel like they aren’t qualified when in reality, they are very qualified.

[7:32] – Fatimah gives an example scenario of how we do ourselves an injustice when we compare our path with someone else’s path.

[8:47] – People see the result of your hard work and don’t always see the steps it took to reach that result.

[9:29] – Vicki didn’t experience Imposter Syndrome when applying for fellowships because she felt like she didn’t have anything to lose. However, she did feel it when setting up her organization.

[10:31] – When Vicki stopped caring about what other people’s expectations were and started focusing on what she loved to do, she began to feel more at ease as she built her business.

[10:56] – Entrepreneurship is so broad and when we settle into our own experience, we can focus on moving forward.

[11:43] – Fatimah works with highly educated people who are looking at a career pivot. These people experience Imposter Syndrome when they realize they have to network with new people in a new space.

[12:46] – You don’t have to explain yourself or justify yourself if you know that your idea is powerful to you. You can bring something to the table if you know your why.

[14:31] – A broad definition of Scarcity Mindset is feeling like there is not enough of something to do what you want to do. Fatimah gives examples on how this could present itself.

[16:21] – These competitive application processes for fellowships and jobs are an opportunity in and of themselves. Even if you don’t get the position, you are meeting new people and getting your name out there.

[17:38] – You have to be willing to see the abundance. Most opportunities that are out there are not created by others. They are actually things that you create.

[18:51] – Fatimah uses an example from her own experiences to demonstrate how opportunities may be dormant. She took the time to step back and wound up following her network and finding a hidden opportunity.

[20:27] – Knowing what you desire and what you are working towards and having that clarity for yourself instead of the track will help you in your search for the right opportunities for yourself.

[22:37] – The Genius Retreat is an opportunity for high achievers to reflect on this year and look forward and plan for 2021.

[25:02] – Vicki discusses how and why she took the opportunity of getting her Ph.D. Academia was never on her radar.

[26:58] – People who are finishing their degrees may feel the Scarcity Mindset as a response to the job market.

[28:34] – Many times, graduates with a Ph.D. lead a very narrow and specific search for a job, but when you dig deep into your core skills and the core values of what you really want out of your career, you will find different opportunities that are a better fit for your path.

[30:03] – You need to constantly look for the abundance of what is available to you throughout the process. You need to also think about how much abundance you can bring to the field as well.

[30:50] – Fatimah and Vicki discuss the phrase “fake it till you make it.”

[32:03] – Look back at your resume. Your resume will remind you of who you are.

[33:05] – One of the features of the Professional Pathways Planner is the Career Success Pledge. What this does is creates your affirmations at the time when you have the least drive to do that yourself.

[34:55] – We need a clear vision on where we want to go.

[35:48] – How do you want to use your time and energy? What do you want next for yourself? Ask yourself these questions instead of “What is possible for me?”

[37:01] – It is important to explore different types of work because you may be surprised by what opportunities will present themselves.

[38:31] – When we listen too much to what society says, we lose out on a lot of creativity.

[40:22] – Things were uncertain before COVID. Fatimah says to not let the Imposter Syndrome and Scarcity Mindset hold you back.

[41:27] – Moments of uncertainty are ripe for innovation and creativity.

[42:56] – Don’t try to force yourself into opportunity and change your approach

Hang out with Dr. Fatimah Williams


Looking to make a career pivot? 

Learn more about Options for Success and sign up for the waitlist. The next cohort opens in January 2021.

Options for Success career pivot course with Dr. Fatimah Williams



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