Guest columnist Anju Jaggi questions whether her heritage has shaped her lack of self-belief
When a well-respected colleague asked if I’d contribute to a leadership piece in Frontline to celebrate South Asian diversity.
I had the usual reaction – why me, surely there is someone better, I’m not sure I’m good enough?
I recall one of my first appraisals as a junior physiotherapist congratulating me on my hard work ethic and conscientious attitude and how important it was for me to have more confidence and belief in myself.
I’m sure most of you will agree that lots of factors shape us; personality, parents, peers and society. Up until recently I had not realised how ethnicity may have shaped and even influenced some of my own behaviours.
It was when I was discussing promotional aspects with a Black, female leader and inspiring mentor, that our conversation made me think. She highlighted how heritage may have shaped my lack of self-belief, the need to work harder and not being good enough for that role.
With Asian immigrant parents, I’d grown up seeing the challenges they had with racism at work, promotions and opportunities. This had unconsciously instilled some of my own beliefs, confidence and attitude.
So how did I achieve what I have, being one of the first consultant allied health professionals at a national hospital, president of a society, sitting on national committees and becoming a trustee of a charity. Well I’m sure some of it was my heritage – hard work and striving to be better. However a lot of it was because I had mentors who encouraged and believed in me.
We all need people who believe in us whether that’s parents, a teacher, a friend, a colleague as well as believing in our self.
A little bit of encouragement can go a long way. Of course having role models who look similar to you can help but encouraging each other whatever the colour or gender is what’s important.
Self-reflection, and understanding our own behaviours as well as others, develops you as a leader. Creating diversity is about recognising individuality and embracing differences, appreciating everyone’s journeys will be different, we just need to facilitate people in different ways so we get the best for all.
It is great to see our society acknowledge and begin to address the diversity and equality issues within our profession. So stop questioning your inner confidence, take the opportunities and apply. Society is believing in you so believe in yourself, whoever you may be.
More about Anju Jaggi
Anju Jaggi is a consultant physiotherapist and deputy director of AHP research and development at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. She qualified from the University of East London in 1992 and focused her career on shoulder dysfunction from 1997. She is known internationally for her expertise having presented at scientific meetings, provided training, collaborated on clinical trials, and served on national committees.
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