This is so wrong? Who am I to tell a mom that she can’t take her baby home from the hospital? Should these families trust me to make these decisions about what’s best for their families, I just graduated? Is this further causing trauma within our community? I didn’t go into the Social Work profession to harm families, I came into this profession to help! 

These thoughts are oftentimes referred to as Imposter Syndrome. I have defined it below.

Impostor Syndrome: is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.”

The Guardian defined it as: that feeling of self-doubt that comes with the need to prove oneself as a professional social worker while addressing the significant factors affecting each client.


I have heard so many Social Workers and Therapist talk about Imposter Syndrome and I have to admit, every time I hear the word it makes me cringe. We are told that this pattern of thinking never goes away. That we have to manage through the emotions and quiet that negative self- talk. As soon as you hit one level of success in life and in your Social Work career, there’s another level that you have to continue to break through. No matter how successful you become, those thoughts never go away. 

But there is always another layer to Imposter Syndrome that I think we have to consider as Black Social Workers. Our internalized believes have been reinforced for centuries through negative images in media, tv, and film about who we are as Black people, what we deserve, where we cannot go and who we cannot become. I believe that we need a new cultural definition that fits our experiences. 

Now I do have a lot of self-doubt about being a Social Work entrepreneur, because I literally have not seen any Black Social Worker build the type of business that I want to have. Maybe she is out there, but we’ve not crossed paths…email me if you are listening! I’ll talk more about being a Social Work entrepreneur in another episode, if you’re interested. 

When I was training to become a facilitator for Emotional Emancipation Circles through the Community Healing Network, the mantra of their curriculum is to Defy The Lie of Black Inferiority and White Superiority. That to me, is what is at the root of OUR Imposter Syndrome. We have historically been told that we are less than, not good enough and don’t deserve what white people get. We have, to a large degree defied these odds individually, but collectively, as a cultural group, we still rank at the bottom of nearly every income, wealth and health disparity. And this is not because we don’t believe that we are good enough. We have been indoctrinated to belief that we are not good enough.

But, when we consider who we are, who our ancestors are and what we have endured as a culture, who are WE, to feel like imposters? We DESERVE, to be here, we DESERVE to take up space. We are our ancestors WILDEST dreams!

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Cultural Affirmations. Read them morning and night. For my next episode I’m going to do an entire episode about this. So I’m not going to go into detail on how to create them I’m just going to tell you to do them today. Saying positive things to yourself, about yourself as a professional, every single morning and night can help remove that self-doubt from your mind. That is only if you also work on detaching your belief from the negative story. There is a story that you have come to accept about yourself. This story must be rewritten and re-defined in ways that speak to who you are and who you really want to become. Your cultural affirmations should counter EVERY message that you received from family, co-workers, foster parents or partners that attempted to define you as a professional Social Worker. We’ve all heard the negative comments. But… you can do this. You can visualize a new version of yourself that is bathed in love and self-acceptance. The way that I wear my hair IS professional. I am a successful Social Worker who serves for high income AND outcomes.  


We are constantly receiving messages from movies, videos and pictures that seek to define our beauty, our mood, sexuality, attitude and intelligence. Getting rid of the noise of inferiority is so important. Unsubscribe, unfollow, and delete those people that create feelings of jealousy, resentment and unworthiness. Unfollow the people with different skin tones, facial features, body types and hair textures, if you have not fully accepted your own. Keep following the people who reflect back to you the beauty in who YOU are. Follow people who make you feel motivated and inspired to be a Social Worker. Get rid of every distraction that is giving room for self-doubt.

Know that no one can instill self-doubt in you. Those people are only reflecting back to you your own feelings of internalized self-doubt and unworthiness for choosing this profession. This is your work to do; to discover the root of those feelings and to being replacing them with feelings of self-love and acceptance. I did have to unfollow anyone who pushed out messages of shame, that say, I’m not working hard enough, I don’t want it enough or that I’m being too lazy. They coax it under this idea of “changing your mindset” but some of those messages, to me, are harmful to a group of people who have been and are currently being victimized. There is a place for encouragement and uplift and some people do that better than other, with a lot more compassion and understanding.


Social Work groups. Accountability partner. Coach. Friend. Supportive partner or parent. Tell someone your dreams. I remember three years ago attending a Vision Board Party and telling a group of women my goal of opening up my private practice and to teach courses to Social Workers online. The fact that they were so supportive and poured into my ideas helped me believe that I could do it and that it was possible. 

As far as growing my practice, I followed these same three tips. I kept positive cultural statements around me and looked for stories of successful black women in all industries.  I read encouraging stories about their success and watched videos of their journey to cut out the noise of inferiority. Black women CAN AND ARE doing it too!  I joined groups of women who have successful businesses and talked with those who wanted to perform at high levels by building a successful business online. 

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