My best friend recently started her job in technology, a male-dominated world where everyone seems to be so outspoken, confident and smart. How would she, a round-faced girl with long hair, survive in this office and make a breakthrough?
It’s not about skills or experience. She’s smart, hardworking and has all the qualifications. She could easily outperform the guys.
In fact, it’s about the confidence to lean in and speak up. As Asian women, we’re taught to be good, gentle and quiet. We (tend to) overthink and overanalyse everything.
Are we smart enough? Good enough? Do people like us?
Most of the women I know struggle with imposter syndrome. Whenever we have to speak up for ourselves, or deliver a speech, self-doubt always creep in.
To deal with this crippling imposter syndrome, we need to share our stories and support one another.
I’ve been drawing inspiration from other women who blazed a trail. Here’s some of the best resources which have been incredibly useful to me.
Inspiring books by women
Becoming by Michelle Obama – This book needs no introduction. I put it on my bedside to remind myself that if Michelle Obama could accomplish all the things that she did, I can solve my tiny problems.
Unstoppable by Maria Sharapova – I just finished reading this book and it’s so eye-opening to see how the Russian tennis star persisted through all her trainings and battles. Maria’s story first intrigued me when I listened to her interview with Tom Billeau. Her story will inspire you to strive and not quit.
Lean In by Cheryl Sandberg – Another book that needs no introduction. It’s similar to a guidebook for girls who want to break the glass ceiling, whether it’s in your career, your mindset or habits.
The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown – Brene’s work on vulnerability and imperfection has helped so many women understand our own strengths and weaknesses. For example, compassion and loving-kindness, two traits that are considered weaknesses in the workspace, turn out to be the secret weapons of a lot of successful leaders. We have to know that the soft spots in our feminine sides should not hold us back, but to propel us forward instead.
No time to read? No problem, listen to these podcasts
Pretty Big Deal by Ashley Graham – Ashley is a popular plus-sized model and witty host. In every episode, she chats with interesting icons about their body issues, how they break the stereotypes and find confidence in themselves. Some of my favourite episodes are:
On dealing with body issues and insecurity – Paloma Elsesser
On the audacity and courage to rock a business – Cindy Eckert
Watch Beyonce’s documentary – you’ll be so impressed
Homecoming by Beyonce – Beyonce is a dance machine. She always gives her 100% on stage. In this documentary, we get to see the hard work and struggles behind her perfection, and how she bounced back from body issues after giving birth to her twins.
I also love movies and documentaries about Coco Chanel.
Follow these real life icons on social media
These #girlboss slay. They don’t budge.
- Vivy Yusof, a local superwoman who built a big fashion and makeup empire
- Neelofa, a Malay artist and businesswoman who made it to the West
- Chiara Ferragni, the phenomenal woman who started the global influencer economy
- Sara Blakely, who built the billion-dollar brand Spanx from her own apartment
Next time when you’re about to walk into a room full of smart people and your self-doubt creeps in, just remember that you’re good enough.