How can I get better at promoting myself and my work, without dwelling on my failures or fearing I'll be judged?
I'm a graduate student in the third year of a science Ph.D. program. I have impostor syndrome
in spades, to the point where it's becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. A few examples:
- I cringe when I'm asked to fill out applications for fellowships or report my accomplishments over the last week/quarter/year; all I can think about are my failures, my procrastination, and the things I could have done but didn't.
- My desire to communicate about science is one of my main motivations for studying it, yet I can't bring myself to promote my own blog, for fear of seeming arrogant or presumptuous. (Once I made some comment at the end of a post suggesting that readers who enjoyed the blog should consider passing it along to other people who like that sort of thing, and I felt bad for ages about having been so shamelessly self-promotional.)
- I can't even bring myself to fill out online profiles or biographies (even in non-academic contexts like social networking sites.) Choosing a few words or paragraphs that will give a good first impression--not too grandiose, not too wordy, not too self-absorbed, not too self-deprecating--seems like an impossible task. And I fear if I put my research interests in a profile, people will assume more expertise than I have.
The fact that anything I do online is likely to be searchable forever
to any potential employers or colleagues just adds to the terror.
Obviously, my hangups about self-promotion are likely to be extremely problematic for my career, whether it's in academia or science journalism. Please help me find some strategies for acknowledging my own successes.