Katya Echazarreta on How She Handles and Conquers Imposter Syndrome
We've all been there—finding ourselves in a moment where we doubt how our journey is unfolding and our place in it. According to the Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is when a person experiences a variety of feelings of inadequacy despite there being clear evidence of success.
Regardless of the levels of success folks may reach within their career, there are still times when they find themselves in moments of doubt. Katya Echazarreta, an astronaut and electrical engineer, has experienced such moments.
During a conversation with People Chica about her partnership with the McDonald's HACER Scholarship Program, which gives Hispanic and Latino students up to $100,000 in college contributions (applications due by February 6), the Chica Boss discusses what she does in moments where she beings to doubt herself.
Getty Images / Medios y Media Mexican Astronaut Katya Echazarreta reveals how she deals with imposter syndrome.
She tells People Chica, "My journey with imposter syndrome has been very interesting because I definitely had to figure out my method along the way."
"I remember my first day as—well, it was my second day as a NASA intern. I got to work and I cried for 15 minutes in the car because I was sure they were going to fire me before my internship was done. I was just absolutely sure I didn't belong there. And that was not the case," she begins.
Echazarreta continues, "I was the only intern, the only student, that got extended for another internship starting immediately when the first one ended. After that one, I was extended once more before my boss offered me an actual job as a student because he said that he didn't want to keep having to do the paperwork if we all knew it wasn't necessary."
The astronaut, who is the first Mexican-born woman to go into space, notes that she was offered a job at NASA "six months before my graduation" and was "hired as a full-time engineer" about one year later.
"And so what I realized here, along the way, is that my own experiences are what are going to help me snap out of it because I have never—and I'm sure most of us have not ever had a moment where we didn't eventually get through it. We're still here, we're still breathing, and eventually, we're able to somehow get past some of the most difficult situations," she asserts.
Echazarreta details, "So every time I have a situation where I think, 'There is no way I'm going to be able to do this,' I think back to all of those other times in my past [when] I felt that way. So [from] that day that I cried in my car [...] to the day where I finally got my job offer—I think, well, if I did it that time and I did it that time and I did it that time, and it was a lot harder than this, why wouldn't I do it this time?"
"So, I'm able to feel those feelings snap out of it, and then once I finally accomplish it, remember how I felt. And that way, next time, it'll be much easier because next time it happens, I can think, 'Well, last time I felt this way, and last time I felt this way, it was not true. So this is probably the same,'" she concludes.