Imposter syndrome


Imposter syndrome is something that comes up here every now and again. I’ve certainly suffered from it myself.

Here is a great article that landed in my inbox today:

Any advice for a Career Change into UX in Melbourne, Australia?
Information that will change our lives!
Im a terrible artist and sketcher, but a good designer and photographer
Information that will change our lives. ;)
With very little experience, is it too early to start applying to jobs?

I’ve certainly had my fair share of imposter syndrome throughout my academic and professional life. I don’t think it ever goes away, however it’s toned down a little as of recent. But I think the way I’ve been handling it is to be honest with myself. There will always be people who are better at things than you. That’s a fact - however instead of thinking that you will be caught out, instead change your view point to “I could learn so much from them”. People love talking to those who are genuinely interested and let’s face it - we all like the attention when someone asks for your opinion :wink: Great article @HAWK


I also really like the approach in that article of encouraging a culture where people share the things that they had to overcome in order to get where they are. Like you just did. So thanks. :slight_smile:


Such an awesome article! Thanks for sharing @HAWK.
As a graduating student I feel this way most of the time. Job interviews are a time it shows the most. It’s tiring sometimes to do all the prep work till feel like I’m not one (defensive pessimist).


Great article!

Imposter syndrome is an evil little beast that I have spent several years fighting off. I’m getting better at it but it still rears its ugly little head from time to time. Every success feels like a fluke and every mistake - even the little ones that everyone makes- feels like confirmation that I am indeed stupid and don’t belong where I am.

I’ve heard it described as an ‘inner mean girl’ and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. The beast is never happy and I’m still learning how to stop beating myself up.

I used to be someone that apologised for EVERYTHING. Small mistakes, not understanding something, breathing… I felt like the biggest waste of space and the biggest inconvenience on the world. The thing is, none of the things I apologised for were actually things worth being sorry for! So I’ve stopped that. I now only apologise if I have done something that truly warrants an apology and I only say it once and then we move onto to fixing the issue. A few people have since told me that I’m not apologetic enough now - it could be that they are accustomed to me apologising all the time and the change is a shock, it could be about them needing something from me that I’m not giving them or it could be something else entirely. My point is, it’s no longer entirely about me and my failure to be a ‘good person’. And I can’t please everyone.


Hi Ashlea,
Yes, as we change and grow, the people around us need to change and grow with us, or not - but either way it isn’t for us to worry about. We can change only ourselves. :slight_smile:

To me, it sounds like you’ve done a lot of hard work to quiet the “inner mean girl” and that deserves a lot of kudos!


I decided to write my own post on the subject. Let me know what you think :slight_smile:


Love it. I’ll tweet it out to our audience later this week. Go you!


I was amazed to find out how much this plays a role in peoples lives when doing things in our field and other like web development. I remember a couple of years ago I was in an earlier web dev boot camp and they had a full two day course on this!

I suffer from it time and time again but tend to get a handle on it pretty quickly.


I tend to get it the first time I do something new.

I also think I’ve read a few times that it tends to affect women more than men.


This is an excellent article. Thank you for link.


You certainly have no reason to feel like an imposter @annabelle_andre! You’re great!! :grinning:


People at the top of their game still get imposter syndrome too. Here’s a short article posted by Australia’s ABC on Friday:


This is quite useful, I constantly have to cut back on the self-discounting. After years of schooling really focusing on human factors, it can be difficult to translate the lessons I’ve learned into terms that are authoritative with a different audience.

Another beautiful example of impostor syndrome comes from Neil Gaiman:

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”


That’s so cool.


I know someone collecting data on this atm - if you want to help in their study but answering some questions.


I realize this is an old topic, but I came across a new article about this today and I wanted to share. This one is directed at academics, but I think it’s still relevant.

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome