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Banishing the Imposter

A Guide to Triumph Mortgage Banking
Did you ever have one of those moments in your office when you felt like a stand-in in your own career, half-expecting someone to leap out and yell, "Aha! You're a phony!"? If you're nodding your head, take comfort in knowing you've joined the ranks of an inclusive, albeit unwelcome, club of Imposter Syndrome sufferers. While this club sees no gender, dismisses no profession, and finds a significant representation in the thrilling domain of mortgage banking, we women have unwittingly scored the privileged season tickets to this emotional roller coaster. Now isn't that just the topping on your low-fat, dairy-free, hypoallergenic vegan cupcake?
Imposter Syndrome, that deceptively charming scoundrel, has a penchant for sneaking up on us women navigating the rapids of the mortgage banking industry. It serenades us with such soothing lullabies as "You're in over your head," "They merely took pity on you," or the Grammy-winning hit "Aren't you lucky?"
A fascinating study published in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development found that Imposter Syndrome correlates significantly with both anxiety and self-esteem. This is no small revelation. Anxiety and low self-esteem can harm job performance, satisfaction, and even interpersonal relationships at work.
Occupying space in an industry as competitive as mortgage banking can often evoke feelings akin to a kitten strutting among a pride of lions. You're constantly battling fluctuating interest rates, adapting to a perpetually evolving regulatory landscape, and grappling with the relentless ticking of the economic doomsday clock. Add to this the subtle yet omnipresent undercurrents of an age-old boys' club. No wonder there are times when we may feel like we've accidentally gatecrashed a party we weren't invited to.
However, let's stay focused on this plotline. This narrative isn't about fading into obscurity or nurturing the misconception that you've bluffed your way into your position. Not on my watch, dear finance gurus. Instead, this is about laying claim to your rightful place at the decision-making table and effectively silencing that meddlesome internal critic.
In another noteworthy study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, researchers found a significant relationship between Imposter Syndrome and burnout. Burnout, marked by exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of inefficacy, can lead to lower productivity, higher turnover, and a host of mental and physical health problems. These findings should certainly not be taken lightly in a high-pressure industry like mortgage banking.
Consider this: making a mistake doesn't label you an imposter; it merely confirms your humanity. So, if you fumbled on a calculation or misinterpreted market trends - it's not the end of the world. Embrace the learning opportunity it provides, but don't let it define you. Remember that the goalpost here isn't perfection; it's continuous progress.
Carve out moments to revel in your victories, regardless of their scale. Did you seal a complex deal or navigate a challenging negotiation? Allow yourself a pat on the back. And no, this isn't an exhibition of arrogance – it's a validation of your abilities. Self-deprecation might serve as comic relief, but self-affirmation bolsters confidence, and here's an open secret: confidence is contagiously attractive.
Create a robust network of like-minded women. If you've been grappling with feelings of being a fraud, odds are high that another woman in your office, industry, or building is experiencing the same turmoil. Reach out, extend support, and witness as you collectively rise to conquer your world (or, for starters, the realm of mortgage banking).
Let's look at some cold, hard facts. According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70 percent of people experience imposter feelings at some point in their lives. While it doesn't exclusively affect women, research suggests that women may internalize these feelings more intensely. In addition, the Harvard Business Review has noted that women tend to judge their performance as worse than it is, while men evaluate their performance as better than it is. This discrepancy becomes even more significant in high-pressure fields like mortgage banking.
Here's the most vital piece of advice I can impart: rather than endure, flourish. You're not a transient guest in the world of mortgage banking; you're a permanent fixture. You're not an imposter; you're a professional. And the next time that annoying voice of doubt tries to sneak up on you, pour it a robust cup of your top-shelf confidence, garnished with a mischievous smirk, and declare, "Sorry, darling, but there's no vacancy for you at this table."
Written by Ruth Lee
About the Author >>>
"I have written 11 books, but each time I think, 'uh oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out.'" - Maya Angelou
"The beauty of the imposter syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: 'I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re onto me! I’m a fraud!' So, you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud."

- Tina Fey
"Many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can't seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are - impostors with limited skills or abilities."

- Sheryl Sandberg
Battling imposter syndrome isn't a swift sprint; it's more of a marathon.

It's about repeatedly recognizing and validating your self-worth until the roaring cheer of self-assurance drowns out the whispers of self-doubt. Remember, you've earned your place in the mortgage banking industry, through grit, determination, and a healthy dose of caffeine. So, let's cut the tickets to the Imposter Syndrome show and instead get front-row seats to the I Am Capable extravaganza. It promises to be a far more gratifying experience, and I promise you, the view is fantastic.
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