When you’re changing careers or working in tech, you might experience imposter syndrome—when a person doubts their accomplishments and has a deep-rooted fear of being exposed as a fake or phony. Imposter syndrome in tech is especially common.
This can particularly be true when you’re working as a woman in a male-dominated field, or working with or managing a team of people significantly older than you. You might start out feeling like you have something to prove and that everyone else is better than you.
It can be a self-perpetuating cycle that damages your confidence at work. This is why it’s important to recognize and overcome this mental barrier before it becomes a problem.
Rebecca Lima is a busy woman: she’s a serial entrepreneur, a private pilot, and a mechanical engineer with a robotics concentration.
She’s been the only woman in the room, the youngest person in the room, and the boss of her own companies, which give her a wide variety of perspectives on this topic (and others!). And she’s managed all of this before the age of 30.
In this episode, Rebecca joins me to talk about her experiences of feeling like she didn’t fit in within certain environments, plus her tips for dealing with imposter syndrome and overcoming self-doubt.
Listen to the episode below!
This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.
Laurence Bradford 0:08
Hi and welcome to the Learn to Code With Me podcast. Today's conversation will be about Imposter Syndrome. But first, a quick word from our sponsors.
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Laurence Bradford 0:57
In today's episode, I chat with Rebecca Lima. Rebecca studied mechanical engineering with a robotics concentration in college. Afterwards, early in her career, she worked in the oil industry as a production engineer. She then transitioned into private jet sales and after that entrepreneurship. Today, Rebecca is the founder of The Lieu a startup that hosts fresh up beauty bars for women in the workplace. What I love about Rebecca is that she has pivoted in her career multiple times before the age of 30. And then she has worked in all these different kinds of male dominated industries, which is why I was so eager to get her on the show to chat about how to handle and overcome imposter syndrome, which is when a person doubts their accomplishments and has a deep rooted fear of being exposed as a fake or phony.
Laurence Bradford 1:48
Hey, Rebecca, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Rebecca Lima 1:51
Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
Laurence Bradford 1:53
Yes, I am so excited to have you too. And as I mentioned before, we've been recording I have been falling Are you on Instagram for a while we both live in New York City. So I'm really excited. I got this opportunity to get you on the show.
Rebecca Lima 2:06
Yeah, I'm like, I'm so excited that you reached out to me. And I love doing these types of things. So I'm happy to get started. I'm excited.
Laurence Bradford 2:17
Yes, Yes, me too. So I definitely want to dive into your background, before you know what you're doing today for a bit. And I may be wrong, but it feels like you were in these environments in your early 20s and mid 20s that you were maybe like the only woman present. So you know, you studied Mechanical Engineering College, which I feel like is a very male dominated major, at least in most schools. And then you worked in the oil industry, or Yeah, an oilfield service company, which I also know can be very dominated by men. So can you talk a bit about that?
Rebecca Lima 2:52
Yeah. So it's actually started like, way before I even got to college. I actually was In the robotics team on the robotics team of my high school, so right when FIRST Robotics launch, which is like an organization to help students get, you know, familiarized with like robotics and mechanical engineering and kind of like that stem mentality early on, and I was the only girl on the team, I actually had to, like, convince my friend to join just because I was like, I was like, I can't be the only girl that wants to do this. So, um, it started like in, in high school, actually. And then I loved it so much that I decided, you know, I really want to pursue mechanical engineering and I love robotics. So I want to stay like in that in that realm. And then, you know, going to an all guys school pretty much it was one it was, I think the ratio was one girl to every eight guys when I first went to my school. It was kind of scary, but also, I've been already, you know, I've been in this world already.
Rebecca Lima 4:08
So I kind of knew, you know what to expect. And yeah, and then I went, I graduated from there I was one of the only women in my mechanical engineering course. And then I graduated and went to go work for an oil and gas service company, which is something that no one really expected for me. They thought, you know, she's going to go work for Lockheed or Boeing, which is also male dominated by oil and gas is like, very, very, very rare for like, women to be in the field. And just exposed to a lot of a lot of, I would say, you know, cautionary like things like it's my parents had a hard time with me joining the company. At the beginning, but But yeah, it was an interesting time in my life. I worked in the oil and gas industry for three years and I worked onshore and offshore rigs. So I was on the production floor, working with my hands working with the guys, I was probably the only one there. And it was a really funny story. I actually was in Alaska for a job they sent me. We get helicoptered out to the rig floor and I had like as I'm getting off the helicopter all these guys are like standing there watching me get off this helicopter. I'm like, Oh my gosh, like this is gonna be the death.
Laurence Bradford 5:43
Oh, my god and i and also Alaska. Last I heard the male female ratio just in the whole country is like four to one.
Rebecca Lima 5:51
Yeah. So it was just like a very interesting time in my life. To say the least, but you know what? Like, especially in the in the oil fields, I feel like that was my that was my testing point, right. That was like, the the moment where I knew that anything else that I did, I could handle it. And I know we're gonna go into some more questions. So I don't want to. I don't want to blow it just yet.
Laurence Bradford 6:23
Yeah. Oh my gosh, I can only imagine. Yeah, when I when you told me that you were used to be in that field. The only other point of reference that I have, and I don't want to go like too far off the path here. But I had a friend that I met because I live and spend a lot of time in Southeast Asia. He was from there too. And we had met over there kind of a group of friends. And he worked in Africa, in an extremely dangerous like, wherever he wasn't the country was so dangerous. There were body card body guards at all time. It was like it was like a compound even compared to jail, honestly. And it was So dangerous people would die all the time. Like he was, I think like a petroleum engineer or something. But he was, there was actually no women. I remember him saying there's literally no women there. Like it was all men. It was like a jacket. He used this analogy, like a gel.
Laurence Bradford 7:12
So anyhow, when I heard that you were just worked in the industry to begin with, I was like, oh, my goodness, I was like, wow, like, that's really impressive. And especially for three years. I mean, that's not like, you know, you know, a 40 year career or something, but that's still a really big part of your life. And you, let's just get right into, like, how did that test you for what was to come later? Because I feel like experiences like that not only just being the only woman but I'm imagining being kind of like maybe unsafe working, like unsafe, like literally, like your life could be like on the line because you're dealing with, I don't know, like chemicals or like, you know, going into rigs and all of that. Yeah. So can you talk more about that?
Rebecca Lima 7:50
Well, actually, it's funny because that that job that I did in Alaska, I was actually replacing another production engineer who actually had his leg like he broke his femur because his and barrel of oil fell on his leg. And I was like, Wait, you're gonna send me there? Like, I was freaking out, but I like, you know, the job. And when I look back on it now, I'm like, how could I do that? Like, how did I do that? Because I feel like I blacked it out or something like that. Because, you know, I look back on it now and like, wow, that was a part of my life that that I never thought I would be doing and I and I did that. So it's even to this day, I'm like, shocked that I even went through that. Um, but yeah, it's a super unsafe work environment. Like we basically sign our lives away to the company like if anything were to happen to us like they're not liable because because of that, you know, and I was like, the dark parts about it is that like, you No, I am the only woman I get harassed and cat called and had to kind of show my dominance in a way that in most work environments, it would not be the norm.
Rebecca Lima 9:15
So, you know, it tested me I really early age and to kind of developed really, really, really tough skin I've been called every name under the sun that you can possibly imagine that would probably never come out of your mouth. And you kind of just have to wear it as armor and now like those types of words and those things that people say like I'm not offended, like I'm not easily offended, like it takes a lot for me to get offended. And that was one of the best things that came out of me working in oil and gases, but I developed a really, really tough skin. And it literally primed me for this moment in my life where I'm, you know, sitting in investor meetings and people are, you know, doubting my doubting my skills and doubting my abilities like I have been tested to my shooting limits early in my career that now it's like, Alright, well, that wasn't that bad. So
Laurence Bradford 10:24
Yeah, oh my goodness. So I, I imagine when you chose this career After college, you chose this field you weren't like oh, I'm going to do this so I can get thick skin so I can you know, create a build a company later so like, what just like super brief like what drew you to that in the first place? Like how did you end up working at an oil and gas?
Rebecca Lima 10:48
Yeah, um, so I'm, I have Brazilian citizenship and I, I'm a dual citizen and a lot of the companies that I wanted to work and that I wanting to work with didn't hire like we had to get special clearances and whatnot. So, you know, I didn't want to ever give up my dual citizenship. That's my identity like I am Brazilian and American I am, you know, American, personally, whatever you want to call it. And I didn't want to give that up when I just had gotten it. And so when this opportunity came up, I was like, Yes, I definitely want to take it. I love working with my hands. I like all I've wanted to do is really work with my hands and build something and see the direct impact that I could have.
Rebecca Lima 11:39
And it just happened to be in oil and gas. And, you know, it was kind of those things where, where, in my mind, I knew that I had to go get a job right after college and my opportunity would slip and you know, the whole, the whole pressure behind that as well especially coming off of a mechanic nickel engineering degree. And I was offered those jobs at, you know, the defense contractors but that's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with my hands and I wanted to, you know, actually build something and, and impact and even though was negative impact to the earth and that could be a whole separate conversation. Um, you know, I got to work with my hands and I got to build things and I it That to me is what like kind of gives me joy. So it was it was a Mr. To joy.
Laurence Bradford 12:39
Yeah, I mean that that all makes a lot of sense though. Like when you explain everything that in the whole dual citizenship aspect so that it makes tons of sense. But okay, so after, so you're working for three years after college, and you're working in that environment and in those moments of like really difficult times, whether it's just like stress From the job, which I'm sure can be very stressful for many reasons, or just being uncomfortable around your co workers or other people that you're working with in this environment. How did you handle that? Because I feel like that's almost like, like, yeah, like, before the call I was talking about, like, Oh, I feel like I have imposter syndrome when it comes to speaking like public speaking like, in front of an actual crowd or even a small group. But I feel like my fear towards that could be nothing compared to the situations that you were finding yourself in that like, actually could have also threatened your your life like your your, your health, right, not just your emotional fears.
Rebecca Lima 13:37
Yeah, I mean, like, I think that all of our like, here's the thing, your fear of public speaking and what I went through, can't they're not the same right? But they, they shouldn't also be like, one should be less than the other like, those are legitimate fears and like We should not be, um, you know, he shouldn't feel bad that that's a fear of yours. So like, I just want to preface that because there's definitely differences in like, the way that we both kind of lived our lives but like, it's still a legitimate thing and should be. It's, it needs to be expressed and it needs to, you know, we shouldn't we shouldn't have. We shouldn't feel bad about it. So I just wanted to say that because I feel like that's a legitimate thing that a lot of people fear so.
Laurence Bradford 14:34
Well, thank you. Do you want to be my therapist?
Rebecca Lima 14:36
Laurence Bradford 14:39
New career transition, right, like, dude, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Sorry. Keep keep going, though with your answer.
Rebecca Lima 14:45
Yes. Oh, I mean, at so I started working for the company. Um, I think it was like 22 or Yeah, 22 or 23. So, I didn't early. I mean, I'm a I'm a bull in a china. shop like, I'm one of those types of people that when I see fear when I feel fear inside of me like I embrace it full force, like, I used it to my benefit instead of letting it cripple me. So as soon as I like feel fear, I'm like, Okay, it's time to switch gears and like, get a hold of it. Because if not, you know, it can cripple us and it can make us fearful of, you know, of that for the rest of our lives sometimes, and like, you know, working in oil, you know, I would come on to the job, and there was times where I actually had to leave a job site because I felt unsafe, like where men were coming on to me and that's a different story as well, but like, you just kind of have to take it like I you have to establish yourself like I'm here for a job if you want to be here for the job. For the job if, like, if that's not your intention for today, you got to go home like, and I was the boss and so I can make those judgment calls.
Rebecca Lima 16:10
So I embraced my power even though I was a 22 year old and most of my colleagues and most of the people that I worked with were like, in their late 40s 50s have been in the oil fields for, I don't know, 30-40 years and they're taking advice and leadership from a 22 year old bed just got out of college. So it was very, you know, imposter syndrome hit me early on, because I was like, oh, what am I doing? How can I tell these people what to do? They've been doing this for 30-40 years, and I have to be the one to tell them like that was really eye opening and you just had I just stepped into it. I had to because if not, then I would never be resting. spected in the field I would never have, you know, the, I would never established myself early on with like setting the rapport with my crew. And once I set the rapport everyone respected me like I was one of the guys and then from that point on, it was like, oh, Becca is the Becca knows her stuff. So ask her, you know, she's the one that you go to. So, like, as hard as it was upfront, like, I almost had to eat out. I was like, okay, like, he thinks it, it's a fear and all that stuff, just make it through. And it did make me sick and it did make me like upset and whatever, but sometimes, you know, you just have to go through it. And once you go through it and get past it was like, okay, that wasn't that bad. Like, we made it through.
Laurence Bradford 17:57
Yeah, yeah. And I love your take on like, now, like years later, when you're in difficult situations, you can kind of think back to that and be like, you know what I went through this I went through that, you know, harassment at work and all these different ways, unsafe work environments, working people that were like, twice my age and and they were reporting to me. So it's like anything you kind of do after that just probably feels like you know what, I made it through that there's no way I'm not gonna make it through this.
Rebecca Lima 18:28
Yeah, it's kind of like a cakewalk now. I mean, it's not me. It's not easy, but it's also like, yeah, I've gone through what I think is the worst. And what most people would say is the worst. So I feel like now it's almost like, well, we're just gonna embrace this different chapter in my life. But it's, you know, sometimes those fears still, those fears still creep up every single day. So it's not like I conquered the fear but you know, You just have to work through it and move through it every single day so.
Laurence Bradford 19:04
Yeah, yeah, I love what you said too about, like, the fears still creeping up. It's not something you ever just just eliminate altogether. You can't just like, be cured or something of having self doubt. Like you're always going to have some amount of self doubt, especially when you're doing new things. And like you have to do new things to progress as an individual and to evolve into. Absolutely, yeah, and I just have to mention this. I wasn't planning mentioning this, but there's this book that I read and a lot of what you just said, even though it's like totally different context, but it reminds me a lot of what the author was saying. And I'm not many people know this, but I'm like, kind of a big personal finance junkie I love like personal finance things. And there was this book I read recently that was probably my like, my, the biggest eye opening books for me ever. It's called secrets of secrets of six figure women by Barbara stanny. Get borrow? Yeah, Barbara stanny. And she did this whole study. I'm not gonna get into every Cuz it's, you know, a whole book but she did this study compare comparing high high earning women to anyone earning more than six figures, whether they're an entrepreneur, whether they had a full time job or were an executive, whatever, or some even interviewed like actresses and singers and stuff. And then she also interviewed under earner so people that were earning like under a certain amount and kind of look at the personality traits and all that. And she found some like really a few key differences, not that many, she only looked at women.
Laurence Bradford 20:28
And one of the big ones between the under earners and the high earners was just how people handle fear. And it was like the high earners, they acknowledge the fear, they acknowledge anxieties, they would cry, they would freak out. Sometimes they would have really bad days, but they always like they felt the feelings, they absorbed the feelings and then and they move past the feelings and they kind of use the feelings to propel them forward. Whereas the other group, I forget exactly what they did, but they just didn't handle the fear the same way and I think some of the stuff you mentioned just with where you are today, and how Yeah, it just really kind of relates to that even though that book is about money and didn't tell you about you know, just other things, but it's all kind of related.
Laurence Bradford 21:07
So I think what you said is like great advice and I would highly recommend people to read that book and to also yet try to use their fear to just like, propel them forward and keep them mindset that this is going to make me stronger later and I'm going to be able to suffer Yes, overcome so much later. So. Okay, so so in your role today, yeah, you work in Okay, so how did you sir I know you did jet sales we could talk about that as well for sure. But now you're doing something it's like show different to me. You're you have a startup that really like promotes self care for women the workplace and it feels like polar opposites of the oil industry. So like, how did you kind of end up there and and what was that path like?
Rebecca Lima 21:48
I'll give you the short version. Like, I feel like I've lived many, many lives. Um, so yeah, so I left my job in oil and gas was really Really, really depressed, unhealthy. All that stuff was at the age of 25. I'm like, is this what life's about? Because if it is, like I'm out of here, like, I gotta go. So I didn't really know what my career path would be next, I knew that I didn't really want to work for another big company. And kind of, you know, to get sucked down that hole again. Um, and so I went back home, I was living in California at the time and went back home to Florida, I kind of got my grips about me and I started working with my dad or, or in, in jet sales. And after that, I just realized, you know, I really want to work on something myself. And I actually started an app an airport app to help travelers navigate the airport in real time. I worked on that for two and a half years, moved to New York and that in that time period, and kind of developed my life here and then it was last year. August of last year actually, that really sparked this idea for me of delu, which is, you know, I live in New York.
Rebecca Lima 23:11
I live in the borough's actually, and I'm commuting every day to the city, you know, for work events, all that stuff. And I was, you know, coming from coming from states and cities where you drive everywhere. I was like, this is ridiculous, like I'm carrying, you know, all my stuff with me a change of clothes, my makeup, my hair stuff, because I have events later on at night, work things like meetings back to back meetings, like I have to look presentable. And, you know, I was like, This is ridiculous. Like, I'm not carrying all this stuff with me. So, you know, I really got into this idea of like, What if there was there locally. Where you could, you know, you could fresh it up on the go for a busy woman I was like that would be perfect. So that's kind of how that idea developed. After all of that, because I'm a logistics person by like nature, like I love solving problems and like logistical problems. And This to me is like a problem that I face every day. So it was really near and dear to my heart. And it was so near and dear to my heart that I left my first startup to pursue this one. So that's where we are today.
Laurence Bradford 24:36
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Laurence Bradford 24:43
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Laurence Bradford 26:56
Wow that's that's an awesome story and yeah, definitely A lot of transitions and careers in your 20s. But I feel like the same way I think so many of us that are you know, quote unquote millennials or whatever have had like or anyone stay in the workplace you have to be millennial that we just have these like career and professional evolutions. But that's what makes I think also today just so exciting because you can reinvent yourself. And there's all this information online and access to resources, whether it's online courses, or like, I'm sure for you like, they can have like ways to just like to grow your business and build partnerships and hire people like it's easier than ever. And it's so exciting that we get to reinvent all this stuff. So I'm curious. If you don't mind me asking. I just think I know I'm gonna find this really interesting. I think listeners will as to So you mentioned that you still have self doubts today. Like right, like everyone does, of course, obviously. I'm gonna assume they're not exactly the same as what you were experiencing in the oil in, you know, on the oil rigs. What kind of self doubts Do you have today and how do you move past them?
Rebecca Lima 27:59
Yeah, and That just gave me chills, um, in the very best way. But it's because, um, you know, I come from a mechanical engineering world and all I've known is engineering slash, like, hard labor and and work like that. And then I went to go build an app around airports which, like I went to aeronautical school. So that was like, in my realm, right? Like That was my comfort zone. I wanted to be an aviation I want I knew that life. I am now in this like, worlds where I don't know anything. Like I feel like I've done all this research on the beauty industry and the personal care space and wellness and well being and I just feel sometimes that I'm not qualified for this for like having the startup and I know that the best startups come from pain points and it is You don't need to be an expert in this field because sometimes you, you know, you become jaded and, and then from there you kind of lose that passion that you that got you started in the first place. So, to me sometimes it's like, I don't know the logistics behind starting a beauty company like I'm just doing it. And sometimes I feel that, you know, I'm just not capable of taking it all the way through and the follow through and, and those are the fears that creep up on me. Because when someone asked me like, Oh, well, what's your background? And I say mechanical engineering, and they're like, well, then how can you be qualified to do this job? I say, because I'm a serial entrepreneur, and I'm always questioning things. And this is something that really bothers me, and no one solved it. So I'm the person to do it. And it's almost telling mice. It's me. How To tell myself this every day and write it down, like I have a journal that I write down in every morning.
Rebecca Lima 30:07
Because if I don't tell myself that no one's going to do that for you, like, no one's just gonna randomly say like, hey, Becca, you know, you're on my mind today and yeah, that might happen sometimes, but you need to constantly back validate the fact of why you're doing it going back to going back to why you started and going back to gratitude. And you know, kind of saying like, yeah, I I've done this, this and this, why shouldn't I be capable of doing what I'm doing now like I am more than capable than then starting this I and I know that once I continue on this path and move past this fear, things will open up doors will open up the right people that have the the knowledge that have the background that I need will join my team will be Part of the movement like, that's what I bank on, you know, and that's the mindset that I have to stay in. Because if not, then I just dive into, you know, staying in my, my state of fear and what happens? Nothing, because because if we live in that state, we're never going to move forward. We're never going to push past and people aren't going to see it. It's so transparent. And so, yeah, I just, it's a different type of fear. But it's the same debilitating, paralyzing thing that creeps up on you when you least expect it so.
Laurence Bradford 31:42
Yeah, well, first of all, I appreciate how long vulnerable you've been in this answer. I think it's, I think, just gonna resonate with some people and some people are gonna totally relate. I know I can I can relate in many ways. And you mentioned journaling, I actually do. It's not a physical journal. It's on my phone, but Do something somewhat similar every day, I was wondering if there were any other like tips or kind of, I don't want to say strategies but you know, things a person can do to help themselves get over these fears and these feelings of self doubt and not belonging and questioning themselves in their capabilities. And this could be stuff that you do personally or things that you just know have worked for other people.
Rebecca Lima 32:21
Yeah, for me, like I said, I journal almost every day I sometimes, you know, there's days where I don't even have the opportunity to journal because I'm so like, I'm not one of those people that are consistent with like a morning routine. But when I do find that time and that space, like, I literally quit, like I asked myself questions like, why are you here? Like, what? Why did you wake up this morning? You know, and if the quiet and if the answer doesn't, you know, it's not aligned with why you started, you shouldn't be doing it. And that's kind of of how I do my mental checks, like, you know, is this moving the needle forward? If Am I pushing past this fear? Like, why am I not sending this email? Like I asked myself these questions, sometimes physically out loud, like, why am I not sending this email? Like, is it the fear that's blocking me because I know that there's going to be judgment on the other side, whether that's good or bad. Like, I ask myself these questions all the time. And I'm constantly challenging myself and in the day to day to move past things like I like I write down, you know, like I write I actually wrote this down the other day, emotion is energy in motion. And that is like what I live off of now.
Rebecca Lima 33:51
Like, I have to put energy into making things happen and everything else will follow. And it's taking that first step. It might be the The hardest email you've ever said, but taking that first step will allow you to, to say, okay, that wasn't that bad. So the next email I send shouldn't be that bad. And, you know, it's all just like coaching yourself through the day sometimes and it's exhausting, but, but it needs to be done because it's, especially if you're an entrepreneur, right? Or especially if you are tasked with something like a new project at work, like you are the leader of that task. You are the leader of that assignment. I'm the leader of my company, I need to work past it. No one else is going to be like, hey, Becca, like work past that, like, No, you have to motivate yourself. So it's constantly coaching. It's literally questioning why I'm not doing the things that move the needle forward. And it's writing it down. Like it's writing down my fears. Like, I write down You know, I write down in my journal every day like, you're not alone. This is your fight. You have to work through it like, and it sounds so cliche or It sounds so like dramatic but it's true like we fight our demons inside of us every day that that that voice in your head that says you can't do it. That's a fight. That's an that's a mental fight that you have to work through. So yeah, I don't know. I just that's what I do every day mentally coach myself.
Laurence Bradford 35:35
Yeah, no, I do. Yeah, no, I do like not maybe not to the extent and when you when you're chatting, I could again relate in so many ways. And I love the example you gave of like the email because it's weird. I'm just realizing this now as you're saying this, but there are things that I don't do that I put off doing. Usually it's like replying to someone through email or some other task that maybe won't take a while and it's important that I do it and I know why it's important, but then I just said, don't do it. And it's almost like I'm sabotaging myself. And I'm like, why, like this, this is negative self talk. I don't want to do that. And I'm like, Yeah, like, why am I being kinda like an idiot right now? Like, this is such an easy thing. It would take me 1020 minutes to do this thing. I haven't on my to do list but I keep kind of like making excuses to not do this thing. What is my issue with this thing? And like, why am I and sometimes maybe this thing these things could be things that actually don't move the needle forward?
Laurence Bradford 36:32
Or sometimes maybe like for me, I find a lot I spend time doing the things I enjoy, which is like I think a lot of people too, but there's important things that I should be doing I don't enjoy as much either they're really really important and I kind of like D prioritize them. Anyway, this conversation is like making me really motivated though. I just have to say that and and I love the like really thinking of like, you know, why am I not doing this? Like what's the reason for this? And you know, I think it could be sometimes like a small like, oh, like I have to call my credit card company to sorted my billing address, which is like, Oh, just like a task, but then there's these really important things you don't do either. And it's like, why aren't you doing them?
Rebecca Lima 37:06
But it's interesting because I saw I recently read a book called do the work and it's probably so I'm not a reader. I don't read books like really people get at me for this. And this is like the shortest book. It's probably 100 pages you can get there in two hours. Well for me, because I'm a slow reader. But but it's, it's called do the work. I forget. I think his name is Steven something. And it's all about fear. It's all about resistance. It's this. This unseeable like this thing that you can't see right that you can feel that you feel on you, but it's this resistance that will get to you and it's resistant, internal resistance where you bottle this up, like you said, mentioning about the credit card company right well That's something that like, what, there's obviously a trigger in there for you not to do that, right? Because that requires you learning information that you don't want to learn. Right? So it's like a mental block sometimes that is resistance. And it comes at you from, you know, friends and family. It comes at you from internal fears it comes at you from just like random people. And it's something that, you know, he says, like slay the dragon. Like, you have to slay the dragon every day. And it's, again, sounds so dramatic, but it's so true. Like these internal battles that we're having with ourselves are real, like they're real things and, and it makes people paralyzed sometimes. And it's almost like you have to slay the dragon every day. Like even if it's calling your credit card company like that's your dragon of the day.
Laurence Bradford 38:57
Yeah, yeah. Oh my Gotcha what you said like there's more to it and like the one thing I'm thinking of that like has been on my list of things to do forever. It you're like you're so right that even though it's like a small thing, this phone call it has to it, there's actually like deeper meaning beneath it of why I'm like not doing it and putting it off and like, Oh, it's not that important. Sometimes I think these things like not the credit card, I'm thinking of other things in my life, like certain emails and stuff. I think it's kind of like guilt because I was supposed to do something, and I never did this thing. And then I feel guilty and I just don't want to get back to the person. Because even though like I'm just being mature, and I should just respond and be upfront and honest about why didn't do the thing and whatever. Anyway, yeah, this is a very eye opening course. This is so for the listeners, this is in the morning, so I feel like I'm good. Urg you know, well, late morning, so I think I'm gonna have to change a few of my to do's today. I have this conversation. So thank you so much, Rebecca, for coming on the show and sharing these tips about your experience. This was great. We're gonna include links to With all these things and resources that you mentioned in the show notes, where can people find you online?
Rebecca Lima 40:05
Yeah, so I'm on Instagram. I'm really active on Instagram. And my handle is at @rebecca R-E-B-E-C-C-A-L-I-M-A. And you can visit my company at www.thelieu.com. And we're also on Instagram @thelieu.nyc. So yeah, that's where you can reach out to me and I'd be happy to answer any emails, or DMS or, you know, LinkedIn requests. I'm here to help.
Laurence Bradford 40:46
So awesome. Well, thank you so much again for coming on.
Rebecca Lima 40:49
Yeah, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed this conversation.
Laurence Bradford 40:53
Yes, me too. Thank you.
Laurence Bradford 41:00
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Imposter Syndrome From Working in an Environment Where You’re Different
Dealing with imposter syndrome has been somewhat of a lifelong experience for Rebecca.
In high school, she was the only girl on the robotics team, which was her earliest introduction to mechanical engineering. This trend continued in college, where her mechanical engineering course of study contained one girl to every eight guys. However, her early exposure to male-dominated environments proved helpful during the adjustment period. “When I first went to my school, it was kind of scary, but I had been in this world already. So I kind of knew what to expect.”
Perhaps it was only fitting that after college, Rebecca joined the oil & gas industry—another area that’s short on a female presence—as a sales/production engineer. “I was on the production floor, working with my hands working with the guys,” she says. “And I feel like that was my testing point. Working in oil, I would come on to the job and there were times where I actually had to leave a job site because I felt unsafe, where men were coming on to me.”
The most intimidating moment during this period came when she was assigned to a job in Alaska, replacing a production engineer who had broken his femur when a barrel of oil fell on his leg. “I was like, wait, you’re gonna send me there? I was freaking out.”
Sure enough, she continues, “I got harassed and cat called and had to kind of show my dominance in a way that in most work environments would not be the norm. It tested me at a really early age to develop really, really, really tough skin. I’ve been called every name under the sun, and you kind of just have to wear it as armor.”
While Alaska was a tough time, she says, “That was also the moment where I knew that anything else that I did, I could handle it. It literally primed me for this moment in my life, where I’m sitting in investor meetings, and people are doubting my skills and doubting my abilities. I’ve been tested to my extreme limits early in my career, that now it’s like, all right, well, that wasn’t that bad.”
Not only has Rebecca been the only woman in the room; she’s been the youngest at the same time.
“Most of the people that I worked with were in their late 40s and 50s, and they are taking advice and leadership from a 22-year old that just got out of college. So imposter syndrome hit me early on, because I was like, What am I doing? How can I tell these people what to do? They’ve been doing this for 30/40 years, and I have to be the one to tell them. That was really eye-opening.”
The twist ending is that Rebecca has now founded a female-focused startup called The Lieu, specializing in fresh-up beauty bars for women in the workplace.
Due to her background, this poses new challenges too! “I am now in this world where I don’t know anything. I come from a chemical engineering world. And all I’ve known is engineering/hard labor and work like that. I don’t know the logistics behind starting a beauty company. I’m just doing it.”
Now that we’ve established how ridiculously qualified Rebecca is to speak on this subject, let’s get into her advice! This is broken down into two categories: overcoming imposter syndrome in the short-term of the moment, and working on killing your own self-doubt in the long term.
Tips for Dealing With Imposter Syndrome in Difficult Times
When you’re in the thick of a situation, there are some strategies you can use to push through. Whether it’s as intense as Rebecca’s experiences, or imposter syndrome in engineering or tech, these tips can apply to anyone.
1. Use your fear
“When I feel fear inside of me, I embrace it full force,” Rebecca says. “I use it to my benefit, instead of letting it cripple me. So as soon as I feel fear, I’m like, okay, time to switch gears and get ahold of it. Because if not, it can cripple us, and it can make us fearful of that for the rest of our lives sometimes.”
2. Do what you’re there to do
“You have to establish yourself,” Rebecca says. “Like, ‘I’m here to do a job.’ I embraced my power, even though I was a 22-year-old, and my colleagues took advice and leadership from me. You need to constantly validate the fact of why you’re doing it, and say yeah, I’ve done this, this, and this; why shouldn’t I be capable of doing what I’m doing now?”
3. Demand respect
“I just stepped into it. I had to, because if not, then I would never be respected in the field and I would never establish myself. So early on, I had to set the rapport with my crew. And once I set that rapport, everyone respected me. Like I was one of the guys and then from that point on, it was like, oh, Becca knows her stuff. So ask her, she’s the one that you go to.”
4. Know that once you get through it, it will be better
The hardest point is at the beginning, Rebecca concludes. Make it through that, and that’s enough. “As hard as it was, I almost had to eat it, eat the anxiety, eat the fear just to make it through. It’s kind of like a cakewalk for now. I mean, it’s not easy. But now it’s almost like, well, we’re just going to embrace this different chapter in my life. Sometimes those fears still creep up, but you just have to work through it and move through it.”
The more you practice these things, the more natural they will feel. And along the way, you’ll be able to work on your core mindset as well.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome by Crushing Your Internal Self-Doubt
Overcoming imposter syndrome is as much about mindset as it is about action, if not more. Here are Rebecca’s tips for cultivating that mindset of confidence.
1. Remember what you do have (skills/passion/etc.)
If someone ever questions what makes you qualified, make sure you have an answer!
You certainly don’t have to be an expert for this to work. With Rebecca’s beauty company, she says that she’s asked how she’s qualified to run this company coming from such a different background. Her answers: passion, entrepreneurial skills, and problem-solving.
The idea for The Lieu was born out of a problem that she personally encounters every day. “I live in New York and commute every day, and had to carry all my stuff with me: a change of clothes, my makeup, my hair stuff, to look presentable for back-to-back meetings. So I really got into this idea of like, what if there are locations where you could freshen up on the go for a busy woman? That would be perfect. And I’m a logistics person by nature. I love solving problems, and this is a problem that I face every day. It was really near and dear to my heart. And I know that the best startups come from pain points.”
If you’re truly passionate about something and willing to work at it, that can even be more valuable than decades of experience.
2. Journal/coach yourself
“I journal almost every day,” Rebecca says. “I do my mental checks. Is this moving the needle forward? Am I pushing past this fear? Why am I not sending this email? I ask myself these questions, sometimes physically, out loud. Is it the fear that’s blocking me because I know that there’s going to be judgment on the other side? I’m constantly challenging myself and coaching myself. Writing down my fears and working through it.”
3. Remember that emotion is energy in motion
“I actually wrote this down the other day: emotion is energy in motion. And that is what I live off of now. I have to put energy into making things happen, and everything else will follow. It’s taking that first step. It might be the hardest email you’ve ever sent. But taking that first step will allow you to say, okay, that wasn’t that bad. So the next email I send shouldn’t be that bad. It’s coaching yourself through the day sometimes, and it’s exhausting, but it needs to be done.”
4. Take responsibility for your fear/anxiety
Remind yourself that you’re the master of your own mind and have to work past your problems. For Rebecca now, she says, the motivation comes from leading a company. “I’m the leader, I need to work past it. No one else is going to be like, hey, Becca, work past that. You have to motivate yourself.”
5. Slay your dragon
There’s a book called Do The Work, which is all about overcoming fear and resistance. The author calls it “slaying the dragon.” Those internal battles you have every day from imposter syndrome in tech or another industry are your dragons. You might have a new dragon every day. Find them. Slay them!
Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t an easy feat, but you can take small steps to move toward it every day.
Links and mentions from the episode:
- The Lieu
- Do The Work (This is an affiliate link. If you click it and buy a product, I may receive a commission.)
- The Lieu on Instagram @TheLieu.NYC
- Rebecca on Instagram @RebeccaBLima
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