LIVING WITH IMPOSTOR SYNDROME (AND SUCCEEDING ANYWAY)
How to put that voice that says you're not good or smart or experienced enough in its place — permanently.
According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of us suffer from "Imposter Syndrome," the fear and feeling of being a fraud.
The other 30%, in my opinion, are psychopaths and sociopaths ;-)
Now most of you know me, and you know my “status” in the world of UX. I'm damn fortunate to be able to claim that:
- I have 30 years helping global organizations improve product design + user experience.
- I ran my own firm for 10 years and sold it in 2007.
- I give keynotes + lectures across the globe.
- I have more than 280,000+ online students and thousands of followers around the world.
- I’ve become a ‘household name’ in UX.
- I get email and DMs daily filled with praise from students and clients and people I’ve helped.
And yet, I’ve been wrestling with Impostor Syndrome my entire life, since I was old enough to be conscious of having artistic talent.
And I’m 52, so that’s at least 46 years.
I have always had great difficulty internalizing and accepting my self-worth and my success.
I have always been exceedingly hard on myself.
And yet, as I said above, every single day of my life, people say the most kind things imaginable to me, sharing in great detail how I’ve helped them, what they were able to accomplish with my guidance or advice, how much it means to them and how they couldn’t have done it without me.
Now again — this literally happens every day. All day in some cases. Emails, DMs, social media, public testimonials, etc.
You'd think that would absolutely erase any self-doubt I have for good, right?
Nothing is ever good enough for that voice. It tells me nearly every day that I’m completely full of shit and people will eventually find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing. It tells me I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It tells me my accomplishments are just the result of blind luck instead of ability.
All of which jives with the vast majority of research on this topic:
Impostor syndrome hits good, kind-hearted and successful people — high achievers — the hardest.
The truth I will tell you is this: the more you achieve, the louder that voice gets.
But while that may sound like bad news, it isn’t: I am living proof that there is a way to put this thing in its place, to deal with it and transcend it and succeed despite it.
I don’t possess any unique or special knowledge or power or talent that enabled me to do this; I simply adopted a number of rules and techniques that allowed me to have the kind of life and career I wanted.
So if I did it, you can too.
This is how.