This wasn’t meant to be my first article but somehow it’s the first one to be published on my blog. I’ve decided to start writing about my successes, mistakes, and lessons learned since I started riding the web3 roller coaster. I am a born writer. Writing is actually one of my favorite hobbies, and some people may question what held me back so far to start creating this blog. Well, myself or specifically the creature that lies in wait and sneaks up on me at the right moment to steal my confidence.
The fact is that I feel sometimes my self-trust is gone and I need some extra motivation to "fake it until I make it". Only if I could fake it at all on web3. But this time I was encouraged by one of the biggest opportunities in my web3 career. And this was the right moment to integrate my voice into the web3 narrative from my Cuban perspective.
So if you are wondering what my imposter thing has to do with the DLT Talent program and the beginning of this blog, let me explain.
Hi over there! I am Aimara or nemerie0x.eth in the web3 world. In my past life, I was a professor and an entrepreneur. In 2021, I entered the tech industry to find a place in the web3 ecosystem. Since then, I have been committed to building web3 services, products, and communities that support and promote inclusion and diversity.
I am always learning, creating authentic social connections, and seeking new ideas and solutions to challenges. I enjoy writing and exploring new ways to better myself by helping others. I am a Cuban woman writer, educator, entrepreneur, community builder, and self-confessed imposter.
Fun fact. Before entering web3, I always felt I was valuable, even if no one else thought so. Now I feel like I have to prove myself every day. It’s not enough to be a good person or to put in the hard work, to be consistent, and get things done the best I can.
At this point, I ask myself how did this happen? And how can I overcome it?
There it was the email I waited for so long. The chance to boost my web3 career, and I was ready. At least, that is what I thought. Suddenly, the voices in my head spoke up, shouting the chorus in loud, relentless waves.
You aren't good enough, You aren't worthy, Somehow they'll figure it out.
After many years of writing poetry, I learned to recognize that my inner demons were just my insecurities. And those voices were trying to help me. In time they became valuable tools that inspired me to write. But the idea of writing a web3 blog in a foreign language has made the voices grow louder than ever.
A blog, in English, crazy woman? About your journey on web3? Who's going to read it? LOL
Many times before my insecurities kept me from sharing great web3 experiences. But this time, with the DLT Talent program, I decided to show myself more as a writer and handle it well. Those voices would be my final push to write my first blog post.
I was so excited about the course news that I posted it on LinkedIn. And I told my web3 friends about this blog to manifest all the good vibes around me. Yet, none of these actions silenced the inner noise. In truth, I was terrified, unable to write, and convinced that the DLT team had chosen me by mistake.
You may wonder, why did this message trigger such strong feelings in me?
First, let me clarify that the DLT term comes from Distributed Ledger Technology. In future posts, I'll look closer to fancy techie concepts from the web3 jargon like blockchain, NFTs, DAOs, tokenization, and more. And try to translate them into plain English with your help.
But let's get back to our main story. The DLT Talent Program is an 18-week program run by the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center. It aims to empower women to become specialists in the blockchain and crypto assets ecosystem in areas like entrepreneurship, IT development, regulation, venture capital, and media. This great opportunity is free and open to apply for all women seeking a career as a leader in this new economy.
What attracted me to the program was its three-phase structure.
Introductory phase: we get equipped with the fundamentals of blockchain, crypto assets, and DLT(remember, Distributed Ledger Technology).
Multi-disciplinary phase: we get to know various stakeholder domains, and
Concentration phase: focusing on one specific area and becoming a specialist.
To me, this is a perfect journey. I’ll go from reinforcing my basic knowledge about blockchain and expanding my horizons inside the tech, to a specialization.
Of course, several women saw the same opportunity, because more than 500 applied worldwide. 200 applicants were selected and this Cuban is part of that group.
How awesome is that? And, also, SCARY...
Much has been written about imposter syndrome, I know. Let me share with you what it means to me and how it affects my growth as a web3 professional.
Transitioning to web3 can be daunting for non-coders. That's why I have put many hours into my web3 and technology education. First, it was the Gitcoin Kernel Fellowship, then She-Fi and the Community Club's C-School, Future Proof Collective's Architecture Track, and most recently the DLT Talent program. Yep, I did all that in my first year. And still, I feel I’m not enough...
How often do you feel that you can't internalize your successes but rather attribute them to external factors such as luck or other people?
Does the idea of I just had luck sound familiar to you? It definitely does for me. Because I've been suffering from a strong impostor syndrome since I became part of web3. I'm constantly under pressure because I'm a Cuban woman, therefore a non-native English speaker, and with zero experience in the corporate world or the tech industry.
If I have all these flaws, how could I be considered valuable at web3?
Web3 is an ever-growing space. It is always expanding, deepening, and moving so fast. If you plan to get into this world, you have to be comfortable with the sense of not knowing.
With all my insecurities, every time I'm around people more experienced, I feel like they expect more from me than I can deliver or are disappointed when I don't say the right thing or give them the answers they want. This makes so difficult for me to ask questions and learn from others. Because I think what others tell me about themselves is better than my own experiences. And it has all the sense because everyone comes from a different place in life.
Then I wonder if that means my own experiences are less valuable. After all, I'm just a Cuban girl.
Who do I think I am?
But my brain (and probably yours) is coded through a lens of scarcity. From what I've read, this is a very human trait, a very primitive human psychology of survival and emotion. To understand what happens to me, you have to add to my human condition a big portion of an endless hunt for deficiency, deepened by how I was raised, always striving for perfection. And let fall a few drops of the fact that I am in a minority situation (being the only Cuban woman in the room is my every day). And boom! You just created my special recipe for the self-destructive cocktail!
As a result, I constantly sabotage my self-esteem. And when my ego wakes up and sees where I am failing, it shoots me in the face: Hey Aimara, something is *WRONG here! *Then it freaks out about being discovered and put in danger, so...
Hello, imposter syndrome!!!!
To be honest I don’t have all the answers. I am still learning, growing, and experimenting with ways to deal with this issue. But after a whole year of having these thoughts buzzing in my head, this is what I came up with:
1. I publicly accept I am an imposter and quit trying not to be one. There you go. I say it out loud, I write it down, and believe it. Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive. But the more I tried not to be an imposter, the worse it became. Every time I succeed in something web3 related it makes me feel like I’m seated in a time bomb about to explode. Tick…tack…tick…
So I embrace my light and darkness as one system and integrate them into a whole being. The only way to stop feeling like I’m an imposter is to accept it as part of me. It's not who I am, but it is part of my identity. And just like any other part of myself, it deserves love and respect.
The next time I find myself worrying about my status as an imposter, I will take a deep breath and repeat: “Don’t Pretend.” Mel Atkins
2. My ego is not the enemy, it is my protective friend. It's just not as evolved as it needs to be. So I'll work with it instead of against it. Every time my ego comes up, I'll ask myself questions to understand what it is trying to tell me.
Right now, for example, it is talking to me about what it means to be a Cuban woman in this world, inside and outside of web3. It wants me to know that there are still parts of it that I do not understand, related to my gender and specifically to being a minority. It is expressing my need to be seen and to get more exposure as a writer and communicator.
I need to figure out how can I contribute to breaking the invisibility cloak that covers us underrepresented people on the web3.
"I don't need to smash my ego, just look into it with curiosity". Joy Donnell
3. I let my imposter fuel my creativity and I write my way through it. I need to become aware of my inner dialog and how I talk to myself. If I'm creative and curious about myself, I can find out my passions, and what fires me to align myself with them. I’m presenting to the world my way of asking for help.
Writing about my feelings and experiences helps me to process them, and with this exercise, I can identify the cause of those feelings so I can free myself emotionally to do all I want to do. I'm here to create. Creation brings me peace and health because I can't create at a high level if I'm not embodying life.
Now you know why this imposter created this blog.
Imposter syndrome is a complex issue affecting many people, especially women and minorities in the tech industry and web3. I have lived with imposter syndrome for most of my web3 journey but never made any connections until recently.
I know how hard life can be when you feel like an imposter, so I want to share my story with you and tell you what helps me get through this phase in my life.
At the end of the day, there's no guarantee that you won't fall victim to impostor syndrome yourself. But you can reduce the chance that it will keep you from reaching your full potential if you:
are aware of the problem,
accept it as part of your personality,
listen to your ego,
and share your story with the world.
And now you might ask me, Aimara, will this plan work? I have no idea. But at least it's worth a try.
In future blog posts, I'll keep you updated on my experiences as a Cuban woman who hasn't found her place in web3.
I invite you to share your experiences too. Are you also an imposter? How do you overcome it?