Join Ryan Pedersen at Twin Cities Startup Week to understand what imposter syndrome is, why it hurts, and how to overcome this pattern of thought.
Imposter phenomenon, imposter experience, imposterism. It goes by many names, but imposter syndrome is the same whether you’re a designer or developer. If the voice in your head has ever whispered to you, “You’re a fraud,” you may have imposter syndrome.
“With imposter syndrome, you might feel like everyone else is more skilled and talented than you are, and they’re going to find out you’re a fraud,” Ryan explains.
Many skilled, talented, and highly competent people- including Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor!– have dealt with imposter syndrome. It’s not about who you are- it’s about the way you think. In fact, being in a high-skill field might make you more prone to imposter syndrome.
“You go into a position where you accrue skills over time, like design or development. You see others who are exercising those high-level skills and feel like you can’t catch up. The anxiety builds over time and eats away at you,” Ryan elaborates. “It can happen anywhere. When you’re working with a lot of other skilled people, you start to doubt yourself.”
Imposter syndrome looks different for everyone. You might be a hypercritical perfectionist, a hard-driving superhero, an isolated soloist, or unconfident expert. In Ryan’s presentation, he’ll explain these subtypes and how you can identify their behaviors.
The good news: if you worry that you’re the imposter among us, there’s hope. Ryan will discuss strategies and solutions for imposter syndrome at his upcoming presentation. His advice?
“Feelings aren’t facts. If you weren’t that skilled, you probably wouldn’t have gotten so far.”
Ryan adds, “Being willing to talk about it with family, friends, and coworkers helps. Be open and recognize that you’ve accomplished things, and don’t fixate on small mistakes. Be kind with the words you choose to speak to yourself.”