"We're Not Worthy": Overcoming and Escaping Impostor Syndrome

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Presented at the 2014 IA Summit

"We're Not Worthy": Overcoming and Escaping Impostor Syndrome

  1. 1. #ImpSyn “We’re Not Worthy”:! Understanding & Escaping! Impostor Syndrome Lori Widelitz-Cavallucci Amy Silvers ! IA Summit 2014
  2. 2. #ImpSyn @lwcavallucci!@A_Silvers! #ImpSyn
  3. 3. #ImpSyn “I feel like that every day.”!
  4. 4. #ImpSyn “(T)hese women find innumerable means of negating any external evidence that contradicts their belief that they are, in reality, unintelligent.”! ! —Clance & Imes, from their 1978 study
  5. 5. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn “Impostor Phenomenon designates an internal experience of intellectual phoniness.”
  6. 6. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn “I’m not as capable as people think I am.”! !
  7. 7. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn Any praise and recognition leads to discounting the success.
  8. 8. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn “My success is due to luck and nothing else.”!
  9. 9. #ImpSyn #ImpSyn Outperform
  10. 10. #ImpSyn #ImpSyn Avoid
  11. 11. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn “She only got ahead because she's hot and her boss wanted to do her.”
  12. 12. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn SERIOUSLY????
  13. 13. #ImpSyn Totally Scientific Survey Conclusion: ! A lot of people in UX-related fields feel like impostors.* ! ! *At least sometimes.
  14. 14. #ImpSyn
  15. 15. #ImpSyn 17# 29# 53# How#do#you#think#your#skills#compare#to#the# skills#of#the#people#around#you?# I"am"less"skilled"than" the"people"around" me." I"am"more"skilled" than"the"people" around"me." My"skills"are"on"par" with"those"of"the" people"around"me."
  16. 16. #ImpSyn “I often feel like I'm just making it up as I go along, so worry that I'm not ‘good enough’ to compete with those who've spent more time in teams and have worked with official job titles and the recognition it brings.”
  17. 17. #ImpSyn “I feel more below the mark more with other designers outside of work. I guess I feel that there's so much praise for a certain type of designer, one that is a consultant, works at certain agencies, and/or writes books and blogs.”
  18. 18. #ImpSyn 29%$ 50%$ 21%$ "I$can$give$the$impression$that$I'm$more$ competent$than$I$really$am."$$ Does$this$statement$describe$you?$ Yes,%this%describes%me% accurately.%% This%might%describe%me% at%5mes.% No,%this%doesn't%describe% me.%
  19. 19. #ImpSyn “I feel constrained, like I'll never be able to be a "real UXer" -- I don't have ecommerce or product experiences, so how do I know that my skills are really as good as I think they are?”
  20. 20. #ImpSyn “Sometimes, I feel like my career is an exercise in ice skating up hill: there are constantly new skills to learn, new lessons to learn, new tools to master, and there is a lot of pressure to be good at a lot of things.”
  21. 21. #ImpSyn 45# 27# 25# Have#you#ever#worried#that#people#will#stop# respec7ng#you#or#think#less#of#you#once#they# get#to#know#you#and#see#your#work?# Yes,%I've%worried%about% that.% I%haven't%worried%about% that%exactly,%but%I've%felt% something%similar.%% No,%I've%never%worried% about%that.%
  22. 22. #ImpSyn “It's a sort of continuous feeling that my education and experience aren't good enough, that I don't actually know anything more than anyone else does, and that by writing or giving talks or workshops that I'm just a fraud. And, of course, everyone will realize it soon, or they're just being too nice to point out that I don't know what I'm talking about.”
  23. 23. #ImpSyn 48# 51# 46.5% 47% 47.5% 48% 48.5% 49% 49.5% 50% 50.5% 51% 51.5% Yes# No# When#people#compliment#you#on#your#ability#or# performance,#do#you#ever#think#they’re#“just# being#nice”?#
  24. 24. #ImpSyn “I don't think I am as talented as people tell me I am. I constantly doubt myself. Every year at my yearly review, I'm told I'm doing great when I think I'm doing just ok. You would think I would gain confidence and learn from this but I still constantly doubt myself.”
  25. 25. #ImpSyn “I know that I'm not, but I spend most of my professional life feeling like a complete fraud.”
  26. 26. #ImpSyn Frank Gehry ???
  27. 27. #ImpSyn
  28. 28. #ImpSyn
  29. 29. #ImpSyn “There are no information architects. There are no interaction designers. There are only, and only ever have been, user experience designers.”
  30. 30. #ImpSyn “All this talk about being a unicorn I think contributes to a feeling of inadequacy for people who aren't.”
  31. 31. #ImpSyn
  32. 32. #ImpSyn “There's always something new to learn that pulls you out of your comfort zone and makes you feel uneasy, but to me that's the fun of it.”
  33. 33. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn What's the worst thing that can happen?
  34. 34. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn Don't equate expertise with infallibility. We can be both.
  35. 35. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn We only see what others want us to see, including insecurities and fears.
  36. 36. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn Behaviors = changeable ! Attributes not changeable
  37. 37. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn "just" ! "only"
  38. 38. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn Get one! ! Be one!
  39. 39. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn Stay humble! ! ! Be brave!
  40. 40. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn We are all in this together.! ! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
  41. 41. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn –Irene Au “Put one foot forward at a time. Tune in, listen, be in the moment.”
  42. 42. #ImpSyn#ImpSyn –Pamela Druckerman “Everyone is winging it. Some just do it more confidently.”
  43. 43. #ImpSyn @lwcavallucci!@A_Silvers! #ImpSyn Thanks for listening!

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