The Syndrome

You’ve had it…I’ve had it…Look around you and I bet many people you look at have had it…What I hear you ask…?

Why Imposter Syndrome of course! That innate feeling that any moment now your colleagues and bosses are going to realise that you have no idea what you are doing and should not actually be there!!

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Sometimes it seems to flare up more than others especially when you have an important talk to give or are about to go into the field to carry out your own research for the first time after months of prep!

“I got this” you hear yourself say but then you wonder “Have I got this? Can I do everything I said I would? Will I pull it off?” Now you have put in all the work and you have done everything you can to prepare you have actually truly got it but that does not stop the sneaky imposter syndrome from rearing its ugly head to make you feel inadequate.

I think a lot of early career scientist suffer from it and maybe the late career ones do to or they have faked it for so long that they no longer feel like an imposter. The biggest issue is that can cause us a lot of problems is self doubt and comparing your self to others who seem to have it all together while you feel as if you a floundering around out there (they are probably better at faking it!). Comparing yourself to others is a double wammy as it just brings you down and brings in even more self doubt and stokes the fire under the imposter syndrome. So what to do?

I haven’t completely worked it out yet. I think believing in your self is important and if the self doubt stops that then maybe fake* it till you make it true, tell yourself that you can do it until you believe it (as you got this far). Also, surrounding yourself or be in contact with people who believe in you and can boost you up when you are feeling low. In regards to tangible things you can do, I read a post a little while ago about being accountable for your time so that you can “prove” to yourself that you are doing your job and all the things scientist do and doing it well this seems like a neat idea to have something to look back on when that doubt creeps in. One other sweet idea is to keep an encouragement and happiness folder. In this folder you will put emails or letters in which people have written encouraging and boosting things to you and whenever you feel down you can go to the folder and have a little read and bask in others peoples good opinions of you! I have started a folder but need to remember to go and look at it when it feeling in doubt of my abilities.

I haven’t fully worked out how to get rid of Imposter Syndrome yet so if you have any tips please share them below and help a girl out. Have you sussed it all out or do you still fake it?

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Always remember… (image via The Nectar Collective)

*there is a lot of tale about faking it here, I obviously don’t endorse faking who you are but if you fake believing in yourself till your truly do it can only lead to good things.

You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!
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Crying is allowed.

I cry when I’m happy and I cry when I angry, I cry with laughter and I cry with frustration but this does but make me a weaker person or less good and what I do! When a woman cries though people freak out… why o’ why are women all hysterical, is she trying to get attention, is she not getting her own way and manipulating you. I’m here to tell you that this is in fact not the case I am not a hysterical women if bring salty tears with my emotions.

I was reading a post on Dynamic Ecology by Meghan Duffy entitled “There is crying in science. That’s okay” and it really resonated with me. After an emotional week of; missing my family and boyfriend, having some disappointing news and, being insulted about my surfboard mounting technique (after a frustrating hour trying to learn in some sloppy waves), I had cried or welled up a fair few times. For a second I worried that this could be seen as weakness but, I don’t feel weak when I cry I feel all the emotions I mentioned above but never weak or that I can’t go on.

If we’re going to have more women in science – and I hope we will – we’re going to have more crying in science”. one of Meghan Duffy from Dynamic Ecology’s mentors.

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Megan links to an article that includes the unique case of Ben Barres who transitioned from female to male and noticed that with the transition and his increase in testosterone he lost the ability to cry easily. So I am innately built to cry more as a woman and due to my lower levels of testosterone I can’t control the tears that flow sometimes. Therefore, if I ever cry in your office or on your shoulder remember that I am releasing my emotions (good and bad) about the current situation and my life. I am not trying to manipulate your feelings. I also hope that in years to come I remember this simple thing if I am lucky enough to have student who come to me for advice or questions and get emotional. I hope that I don’t think that they are trying to manipulate my feelings and opinions of them and remember I am lucky they feel comfortable in my presence.

So let there be crying in science and in the world. Whether you are woman or a man who is crying it does not matter and it is okay. Let those emotions out, allow the release of your feelings and just cry. It makes you human it allows you to be who you are and it is not a sign of weakness. Remember…Crying Is Allowed.


You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look! I also have Twitter come and join the conversation you can find me as @Leila_Lula!

Hello 2015! What An Exciting Year I Hope You Will Be!

Welcome back to Deep Blue Conversations! I hope you all had an relaxing holiday break and have already dived back head first into the New Year!

My New Year started of much more leisurely with a tour around Scotland with my boyfriend before he had to head off back to work and I had to start getting ready for……

*DRUM ROLL PLEASE*….

Australia From Space.

Yes…AUSTRALIA! Western Australia (WA) to be exact.

I won a grant alongside a leading colleague who I hope will be my supervisor one day. This grant will allow us to collect data (acoustic, photo-ID, behavioural) on killer whales (Orcinus orca) alongside other large predators, and cetaceans in the Bremer Canyon, over a four week period.

Bremer Bay. The gateway to the Bremer Canyon!

Bremer Bay. The gateway to the Bremer Canyon!

I am so unbelievably excited, I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to collect data on a project I believe in and have helped to create. This year I hope will be amazing; I will improve my skill set, aim to get some papers under my belt (tea dress), and apply for more funding and scholarships (as a more qualified researcher) to do a PhD!!

I will aim to maintain one to two posts a week on here to update you all on how our research is going, the data we are collecting and methods as well as how I am faring in the Australian heat!!

I fly to Australia on Monday evening and ,20 hours and 20 minutes later, I will arrive in Perth, WA!

Watch Out 2015, Here We Gooooo!

Killer whale in the Bremer Canyon. Image: http://www.whales-australia.com.au

Killer whale in the Bremer Canyon. Image: http://www.whales-australia.com.au


You can also follow along on the Deep Blue Conversations Facebook Page. I post interesting articles related to marine conservation, share awesome stories as well as photos from the marine conservation and environmental world in general. Come on over and have a look!

How Do You Find Focus?

A little change of pace with this post as I reach out to you. Yes You, out there!

How do you find focus and keep it? What do you do in order to keep going on one topic for hours? Especially in this world of continuous bombardment from social media, 24 hour news and a growing inability to “switch off” from everything.

You all know I love what I do as a career. I do however find it a struggle to focus sometimes. Some days I find it so hard to keep my focus on the task at hand even when I am so interested in the topic. Other times I do just fine and at crutch time there is no stopping me. However, I wish I had that momentum every day…maybe that is quite a BIG ask! I do hate being disappointed in myself and am probably pretty hard on myself too.

So What Helps You?

Running/Exercise?

A run in the morning use to help me I think or it was a placebo effect of thinking it would help so it helped…Buuuuut at the moment my ankles are not a fan of the whole running thing (Doctors appointment to be booked!) but, I think there is a chance that I am actually missing it! Do you run or do other workouts that keep you going and help you focus?

Morning Run - Feels good, helps you focus?

Morning Run – Feels good, helps you focus?

What about a good snack?

I know that having nibbles and making sure that I don’t get hungry (HANGRY!) is key to keeping going! However, sitting and eating all day somedays isn’t the healthiest (will need to get on that running again!) even if I do try to choose healthy snacks sometimes it is hard to resist…:

Not the healthier choice this one but they sure were yummy!

Not the healthier choice this one but they sure were yummy!

Little Tipple?

What about when you work late into the evening? Do you find a little tipple helps of hinders? DIVE IN DEEPER HERE