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From Imposter to Leader: Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome. We’ve all been there — it’s a persistent, internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud. Or maybe you feel like you’re winging it and that everyone else knows what they’re doing — except for you. You’re not alone! We've collected stories and testimonies from executive leaders to learn how they overcame imposter syndrome.

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That’s what I spent my time thinking about walking up and down during lunch; there’s these tremendously smart people around me who are incredibly well accomplished. Are they going to ever figure out that I’m not as smart as them, and if so what happens next?

Chris Young

Even high achieving and successful people sometimes feel like imposters — and it’s not limited to women. Men experience imposter syndrome too.

We recently hosted a virtual event with Mel Scott, “Counsel” podcast host and Megaport’s senior counsel, for a conversation with AccuWeather’s CLO and GC Jennifer Chung and Ironclad GC Chris Young. Together they shared their stories and best practices for overcoming imposter syndrome.

Key takeaways

Here’s some really important things you should remember:

  • This feeling is real! It sometimes just bursts onto the scene after something happens at work or in life, or maybe it’s always been creeping around in the background. Notice it and talk about it, but know it’s a feeling and can be managed.
  • Find your competencies, lean into those, and look for management tools for any related anxieties. For me, after much trial and error: I journaled (helped me see in words my successes and gaps for development); went into talk therapy (had to go through a few false starts before finding someone I liked); took up yoga (for the thinking time); took cooking classes (to create delicious things with my hands, to remind me of the feeling of being competent).
  • Mentor others. Your competencies, expertise and experiences become plainly obvious when you’re talking to, advising and helping those coming up a few years behind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Imposter to Leader: What We Learned About Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Dive into something interesting

  1. Bet on yourself.
  2. Set reasonable expectations with yourself and be patient.
  3. You’re doing the right thing if not everyone likes you. It means you’re making decisions and making an impact on a broad issue.

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