Because you deserve to be wherever you want to be.
I watched the British Vogue documentary the other day. As the camera panned down the hallowed hallways, I felt a slight pang.
It reminded me of how my 19-year-old self felt in that environment. Scared, intimidated and, secretly, somewhat undeserving.
Vogue is a pretty “privileged” place to be. The intern before me had been an actual Lady, after all. While many people’s fathers were Dukes or Old Etonians, mine was a former postman. There’s no Bass family crest to be found here.
And that was just the beginning.
Here, in no particular order, are a few of the other places I’ve felt like I didn’t quite belong:
At a table full of Oxford-educated men at a tech company. Arriving in New York alone to assist at a magazine. Sat in business class for a work trip. Managing a team of people who were all significantly older than me. Attending an interview at a finance company armed with a fashion-focused portfolio.
Can I get candid?
I’ve started jobs and had my lunch in the bathroom because I felt uncomfortable. Kept the tags in clothes I couldn’t afford just to “fit in”. Spent an obscene amount of money buying rounds of drinks to seem like a team player. I could go on…
But I’ve grown up since then.
And I’ll let you in on a secret: you belong wherever the hell you want to be.
It’s all too easy to feel like you don’t deserve to be somewhere because of your age, your gender, your socioeconomic background, your race or your experience.
But you do.
You deserve to be sat right there, fulfilling and surpassing your dreams.
You deserve to be the first female at the table. The first black CEO of an antiquated company. The first person without an expensive education to make it on an elusive grad scheme. You deserve it all, and then some. Tell yourself that every single day. Go and show those motherf*ckers. And when you get there? Help the next person up, too.
You don’t need permission or acceptance. You don’t need to convince anyone that you fit into their world. You simply need to build your own.
Show up. Never give up. And start getting used to the sound of your own voice in meetings or awkward situations, a little more each day. Be proud of your background. View everyone as absolutely equal – not above or below you – but equal.
Take up the space you deserve, my friend. I see you. I love you. I am you.