PTPA #009: My Experience Dealing with Impostor Syndrome.

Oct 22, 2022

Read Time: 4 minutes

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Today's issue is sponsored by Product Faculty. Beating impostor's syndrome is more manageable when you are prepared, and Product Faculty helps you crystallize your advanced PM skills.



If anyone tells you that they've never felt impostor syndrome, they are lying. 

We've all felt impostor syndrome at some point in our lives. It’s that feeling that creeps up reminding you that "you might not be the right person to do this", even if you are.

Feeling this is so common that “how to cure Impostor Syndrome” is one of the most common Google questions around this topic. Spoiler: There’s no cure.

It's so common, that there are thousands and thousands of videos on YouTube on how to overcome it.

It's so common... that when you feel it, you feel ashamed to talk about it...

Last week I was one of those who searched for this question on Google. My impostor Syndrome kicked in harder than ever and common techniques like reviewing the facts, letting go of perfectionism, and celebrating small wins were not working. Every nerve of confidence that I'd built shattered in a matter of hours - and I didn't talk with anyone about it.

Not knowing what to do, I turned to the community for advice - the best decision I could make. 

While there are many “common” ways to deal with Impostor Syndrome, today I want to share with you the ones from the community that helped me through this week in case you need them today, tomorrow,  or whenever your Impostor Syndrome kicks in.

1. Make a plan

Impostor syndrome may kick in because you don’t have a plan (yet) for the work you are doing. 
I found that making a plan specifically to gain more knowledge and reduce the feeling of not being “the right person for the job” was what helped me the most.

What steps do you plan to take to gain more knowledge about the role, the tasks, or the job you are doing? 

For me, it was a combination of dividing my plan into Research, Action, and Review.

  • Research: What data am I looking for?
  • Action: How do I plan to use that data? (e.g. create a new Strategy Document)
  • Review: By when and with whom do I need to review this?

2. Surround yourself with the right people

Regardless of your impostor syndrome, it is always good to have your board of advisors to guide and support you throughout your career. 

But when you are feeling anxious and trapped, surround yourself with people who believe in you and with people who will help you improve. 

You can’t be at your best at work (or outside) if you don’t take care of yourself first… And sometimes, being on your own is not enough to pick yourself up.


3. Realize that no one has any idea of what’s going on

It’s easy to see someone speaking in a room and thinking “They know exactly what they are doing”. The reality is that they don’t - nobody does. This simple fact is insignificant in our daily lives but becomes critical when Impostor Syndrome kicks in.

Confidence comes with building expertise, talent, and wisdom, but in the end, everyone is doing their best with what they’ve got. 

The next time you feel entrapped by your impostor syndrome, don’t forget that we are all doing what we can and that the best defense mechanism we have is to never stop learning.

4. Don’t overthink it

Having a moment of Impostor System takes us into a spiral of thoughts that seems to never end. And while it’s easy to miss the light at the end of the tunnel, this too will pass. 

But the real strength in this time doesn’t come from knowing that it will pass. It comes from understanding that everything and anything is possible because it will pass, then it becomes your superpower.

Impostor Syndrome will come and go with every new job, project, and adventure. While feeling it is never a pleasant experience, it’s good to remember that it’s not just about how to live with it, but how to use it to your advantage.

For me and my chaotic week with Impostor Syndrome, the community came to my rescue with 4 great tactics:

  • Make a plan to learn more.
  • Surround yourself with people that believe in you.
  • Realize that no one has it figured out, we are all on the same boat.
  • Don’t overthink it, understand that it will pass, and use that to your advantage.

May this help you in your current or next moment when you have to deal with your Impostor Syndrome

See you next week!

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