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Welcome Wednesday: Battling Imposter Syndrome!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I was chatting with some people the other day about Imposter Syndrome (I don't remember how that topic came up), and I made the recommendation that they should really check out Mike Cannon-Brookes TED Talk on the topic.  I will also say that anyone here who has not seen it, should take a few minutes and go watch it.

My question for you this week: Do/Have you suffered from Imposter Syndrome? and, how (if possible) have you managed to battle it?

If you have not suffered from Imposter Syndrome, please feel free to offer some tips on how you manage to be confident in your abilities.

Personally, I have suffered from this in the past, and it was amplified by working at a company that wasn't as supportive as the company I'm with now.  What really helped me battle back against this was earning a couple of Atlassian Certifications.  Having an outside source that validated that I actually knew the subject matter I thought I did really helped me build my own confidence in my abilities and empowered me to share my thoughts and opinions more in meetings.

I'd love to hear from all of you in the comments!  Have a great rest of the week everyone!

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Hi @Jimmy Seddon

It's a great question! I already suffered from Imposter Syndrome. And to be honest, it's intense work that never ends. I compare this when we're underweight but still find a reason to want to lose weight; it doesn't make sense, but my experience is pretty related. There's a mix of anxiety and inner feelings; we need to sit down with them all, look at each one, and calm the unbridled emotion that leads to distorting reality; because:

  • I don't need to compare myself with others
  • I'm unique and have my own life and experiences
  • I recognize my value
  • I'm good enough
  • I have enough
  • I do enough

It's a quick summary of all I've been learning from it. It's great to share, learn and help each other continuously.

Likewise, have a great rest of the week!

Thank you for your post! 😃👏🏽🙏🏽😊

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Jimmy Seddon
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 01, 2023

Thank you @Patrícia Fortunato Montenegro!  I LOVE that list.

The last three points seem like a great mantra!

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Sure, I'm glad you loved @Jimmy Seddon

It's my daily mantra 😃🙏🏽☀️!!

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Doesn't everyone battle this demon on a daily basis like me?!?

I am not sure there is a silver bullet for imposter syndrome and it is something I battle through my career. 

Some things I have done to quiet this demon:

  1. Building self confidence - I occasionally lack the confidence in my professional and personal life. This is usually encountered when approaching new engagements, building new teams, and/or managing teams where I am not the smartest (I am sure there are others and just as sure as they are infinite in length). Experience, being technically savvy, and a constant desire to learn/get educated have helped me here. When it comes to leading smarter people for me, I get out of their way and let them do their job. I do not need to compete with them for the title of "smartest", I need to know how to help them achieve the larger goals, their career aspirations, all while getting the benefit of learning from them.
  2. Be helpful where and when you can - we each come to our professional and personal lives with a set of skills and talents. Being helpful, taking on tasks to help learn, and allowing others to take a leadership role while you follow their direction and learn is another tried and true method for me. While I may not know how to split atoms, I can assist in the effort, learn along the way, and build insights to help me tactically and strategically lead the team.
  3. Fake it till you make it - can work in some situations. While this is a stop gap approach, it is not a long term solution, can lead to false expectations, and can ruin your brand. "Fake it" is a way for us to realize our shortcomings, gaps, etc. and helps identify the areas we need to hone. You will be amazed how quickly you can pick up new skills/talents/knowledge when you are in the fake it phase.
  4. Be self aware - know your limitations. To that end, be in an environment that fosters learning, encourages growth, provides mentorship and advocacy, understand failures occur but allows you to take those lessons learned forward to ensure you do not repeat them. Know and appreciate your value.

The above have helped me, perhaps they will benefit you as well.

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Taranjeet Singh
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 01, 2023 • edited

@Jimmy Seddon That's a great topic, @Jimmy Seddon !

Although I am not sure what the formal definition of "Imposter Syndrome" is, but looking at the experiences shared in this post by you and other leaders, I can perfectly relate that I have experienced this syndrome in almost every job in my career.

The only way I knew and ever used to battle it was to continuously learn new skills and knowledge needed for the job, whether you learn them by self-study, or from others in the team by observing, watching and closely working with them (which is a rare opportunity these days, especially in remote working scenarios and when your company or team expects you be be a self-starter and an individual contributor). 

But I feel that while there is no limit to learning new skills, there is a limit to your individual learning capacity when the technology and skills are rapidly growing, and no matter how much you learn, you will still find some people in your personal and professional life whom you will find much smarter than yourself. Moreover, there are very less companies these days (at least, I have never found one out of those I have worked for so far!) who would actually understand or recognize your value and would actually support you or spend on you to continuously learn in order to gain the lacking skills and overcome the "Imposter Syndrome". So, it is very important to talk positive to yourself regarding your current abilities/skills so that you don't lose your self-confidence and value.

And, so I believe the battling techniques or mantras suggested by @Patrícia Fortunato Montenegro (Thank you!) are the ones that I agree with completely and would help me in battling against the "Imposter Syndrome" better going forward. So, I would like to reiterate them for my own learning and memorization:

  • I don't need to compare myself with others.
  • I'm unique and have my own life and experiences.
  • I recognize my value.
  • I'm good enough
  • I have enough.
  • I do enough.

I wish you all the best in your daily battle against this syndrome, and hope you win this battle.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

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I try to overcome it by returning to this community after many years... and earning a badge ;)

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Mastery builds confidence—good choice with doing the certs to make that!

Like Jimmy Seddon likes this

Hearing this question causes me to reflect on the fact that I sit in a back bedroom of my house and wonder why they pay me to click on web pages all day. Am I doing enough? Am I really contributing to the company? 

I assuage these concerns by trying to find ways not just to do my job more effectively but to make it easier for people in the future (maybe me) to do my job.

Documentation, automation, making each change in a way that makes it easy to track and update, keeping the system updated and happy (maybe computers can't be happy but they sure can be unhappy). 


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I always have to remind myself how much I've already learned and how far I've come. I actually am capable of doing the work and do belong on the team. It's the daily reminders that help me battle my imposter syndrome. 

Amanda Barber
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 02, 2023

I feel this big time! I left my teaching career 3 years ago, so I constantly question my abilities in everything I do. It was hard leaving something I felt competent in (heck, I'd wager to say I was even good!) 

My desktop background is a reminder to me every day, but I could always use more help with this battle!smaller BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SUCK AT SOMETHING NEW.jpg

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Fabulous it @Amanda Barber

I'm so glad and grateful for it, Taranjeet! Taranjeet Singh - Thank you, and thank you again @Jimmy Seddon 

Let's do it again 😊🙏🏽😃

  • I don't need to compare myself with others.
  • I'm unique and have my own life and experiences.
  • I recognize my value.
  • I'm good enough
  • I have enough.
  • I do enough.
Like # people like this
Summer_Hogan
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 02, 2023

Great subject @Jimmy Seddon! I agree with many of the sentiments above! I typically do not have imposter syndrome because I try to remember the points above, which are great and the additional ones below! 

  • Go into the room you aren't supposed to be in! Involve yourself in things you may think you aren't supposed to be involved in! 
  • Be you! You are enough! 
  • Be confident in yourself!
  • Don't care what others think of you; it only matters what you think of you! 
  • Your thoughts and experience are just as valuable as others are!
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Graham Twine
Rising Star
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Feb 02, 2023

Now I know what imposter syndrome is ;)

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It's a double edge sword having one side empowering you with the confidence you need to thrust yourself forward and get out of your comfort zone to take on new challenges that you know you can succeed and deliver.

On the other hand, you also may at times hesitate and think twice about this opportunity Infront of you and if you can really move forward and encounter with high achievements and success.

Your just gonna have to feel the room around you with as little time you have been given for discovery and trust your gut and skills to quickly make that call.

To make things worse, that's the easy part; and you would also need to work your way through sluggish feelings to get up and do the work. 

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Adam Nichols (DISH)
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 06, 2023

Great video by MCB.  He is such an incredibly humble and amazing individual. Love the concept that when you feel like an imposter, don't freeze, harness the feeling, and keep going, dig in, learn, and move forward!

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Nikki Zavadska _Appfire_
Community Leader
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Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 07, 2023

I was feeling really out of place when I was starting to work in tech. Everyone seemed to know the best and I just didn't know where to start.

I would like to say it got better but 😅 you what they say: "The more you know, the more you don't"

 

Here is what works for me:

1. Continue learning

2. Listen to others and ask questions

3. Ask for help

 

Shifting my mindset away from "what others think about me" allows me to be more vulnerable. And that also brings team closer together. 🫶

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Hemant Khot
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Feb 08, 2023

Nice

Tom Zhu
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 08, 2023

The hardest enemy to conquer is our heart , it’s more harder for the rich and powerful people, i think the way to keep confident is do everything by our heart instead of caring about what other people think.

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Airyn
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Feb 08, 2023

Thanks for sharing Mike's TED talk. Very inspirational! 

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Well this post seems like a well timed one. I have just started my first official job after graduating and it's been a month ever since. It's funny, however, thus I joined the Community 10 minutes ago in the hope of being able to solve my work-related jira tasks, which oftentimes lead to the notion of imposter syndrome. 

I was thrown into an environment of colleagues with years of experience and given the fact that there is basically no concept on the expectations and skills I need to achieve in order to do my job properly, the imposter syndrome is more present than ever. Most of times I feel completely out of place and I feel like the constant thinking about the imposter syndrome prevents me from actually focusing on what I could do, step by step, to develop the necessary skills for my job.

 

I would love to give some advice to those, who feel similar but I haven't figured it out yet.

What seems to mitigate the imposter syndrome to some extent:

  • You got this job for a reason and there is a need for you to be here
  • You cannot understand every process within a short time. Don't overthing the lack of knowledge and accept it as it is
  • Simply said - just stop caring so much. Your life does not depend on it. Allow yourself to take the needed time
  • Your colleagues have no reason to have negative or harmful intentions towards you
  • Worst Case (kind of stoic approach): Let's assume it will not work out for you at a current workplace. The experiences you made will not be taken from you and are valuable. Take them with you when applying for the next job. This is NOT a big deal

Kind Regards and all the best,

 

Karol

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