Hey you! You’re exposed! We know you are a fraud! You’re don’t deserve any of the success you’ve achieved! Do you recognize the fear of being exposed as a fraud? I do. Even as I prepare and present this session, I feel that you’ll expose me of not being worthy of talking to you.
With fifteen years in IT and a successful career as a world-class infrastructure engineer, a speaker at many industry conferences, a blogger, analyst and technical marketing freelancer for Silicon Valley Startups and a CTO of a 1200+ infra and software engineering company, I can definitely say I suffer from impostor syndrome, and by extension, perfectionism.
And it doesn’t go away with success. The opposite seems to be true, actually. I’ve learned to harness it, spending a lot of time way out of my comfort zone to figure out how to come to terms with it and use it for good. Maybe the fact that I experience the syndrome makes me more humble, which makes me more valuable as a leader.
I’m here to show the little things I did differently every day: 1. How being kind to yourself is key. Forgive, don’t judge. Accept who you are. 2. Learn about your internal convictions and expose these to the world authenticly and honestly. 3. How complimenting yourself and others goes a long way 4. Build a case for yourself by keep notes of people saying nice things about you 5. Self-doubt is a powerful tool as a leader, if used consciously 6. Focus on (professional) relationships, not on technical merit 7. Harness feedback, even it’s scary
With these small, incremental improvements, I now live in a self-inflicted, perpetually non-existing comfort zone. I’m constantly in the imposter zone, because I’m constantly doing new things, learning new skills, meeting new people. And I love it! It has brought me many smaller and larger victories, a career that’s led me to new and unexpected ventures and most importantly, a network of friends and relationships I otherwise would never have had.