Recently, our Women at NERD employee resource group hosted their fourth learning series, where members of the NERD community teach a skill or share their expertise so all can learn something new.
The topic: imposter syndrome, or the feeling that you are not worthy of your accomplishments or position.
A panel of NERD employees shared their experiences and strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome. Read on for tips from some of the panelists.
Hitakshi Nanavaty, Senior Program Manager
Tame your inner critic.
“Believe in yourself; your achievements are not by chance. Believe in others, especially those who take bets on you. Those people likely have accountability to their shareholders to deliver results, and they would not take a bet on you if they didn’t see the potential in you to help them/their organization succeed and reach even greater heights.”
Delaram Keller, Senior Machine Learning Scientist
Ask for feedback.
“Sometimes asking our colleagues or manager to provide us feedback can help us identify if we are dealing with negative thoughts about ourselves. Cognitive distortion can manifest as “catastrophizing” (My manager didn’t give me a good review, he is thinking about firing me), “Mental Filtering” (we only see our mistakes and not our accomplishments), “Mind reading” (my co workers think I am not competent), etc. one way to challenge distorted thinking is to challenge it by providing evidence. We can use the feedback we get from our colleagues as evidence that our thoughts about ourselves are exaggerated or distorted.”
Eric Frackleton, Senior Software Engineer
Everyone’s path in life is different.
“Growing up I was often the one kid in class whose family never owned a computer, so it can sometimes feel weird that I ended up as a software engineer. For me, it’s helpful to remember that there’s no one right way to get to where you are and your past doesn’t have to define or hold back your present.”
Kristen Laird, Program Manager
Examine the circumstances.
“Imposter syndrome can flare up during times of change, like starting a new project or new job. Recognizing the circumstances that are contributing can help reframe your perspective.”