Letting Go of Self Doubt and Your Inner CriticFeatured

I so needed to hear this today. I have been the only designer within a company for a couple of years and just got a new job with a highly skilled design team. I'm starting to freak out and already putting everyone else on pedestals. Thank you for this!
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
You've got this! You're a part of this highly skilled design team because * you * are highly skilled and because you bring something the team needed. I'm rooting for you!
MadisonMcCall's profile thumbnail
Such a great post! It’s been a year of imposter syndrome for me and I’m really trying to be more open about how I’m feeling with those I trust and trusting of positive feedback.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing, @MadisonMcCall. Finding your people, building trust, and letting yourself really listen to feedback doesn't always come naturally. It's a skill we often have to practice. I know I sure did! I love having my imposter syndrome support squad now -- people I can go to, be transparent with, and ask them to help me see what I'm not seeing.
NavazBatliwalla's profile thumbnail
God I’m the queen of imposter syndrome! I love this. Actually going to print it out. Thank you 🙏
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Adjust that crown and remember you are more than capable!! Cheering you on from over here.
ElleDM's profile thumbnail
I loved that you included the last section for managers. Too often, I've worked for opaque organizations where leadership is focused on being infallible rather than a beacon of growth. I try to embody the transparency I want to see, even if that honesty feels out of place.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thank you, @ElleDM. So relatable. Too many organizations put managers on the untouchable pedestal and it's such a missed opportunity to lead by example (as a real live human with real human experiences) rather than perceived (and often harmful) perfectionism. So many high fives to you for modeling the behavior and leadership you want to see. We're all rooting for you. Thank you for being vulnerable and standing in integrity!!
KateLGrant's profile thumbnail
Such an awesome post! I think that everyone suffers from imposter syndrome at one point or another no matter how far along they are in their career. It's great to see people talking about this further and opening up the conversation.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thanks @KateLGrant! It's so common. I remember one of my mentors telling me a story about someone on the board of directors feeling nervous about giving a presentation because of her own imposter syndrome. I thought, "her? really? how?!" and it was such a normalizing moment. A lot of us experience it and it comes and goes throughout our careers -- and we can learn how to manage it!
JanelleFontana's profile thumbnail
This spoke to me on so many levels - thank you so much for sharing!
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thank you, @JanelleFontana!
TinaReis's profile thumbnail
Hi @hannahlake, thank you so much for sharing this! I can relate to a lot of what you write, I have been struggling with this myself. I've been googling imposter syndrome a lot these past weeks because I wanted to find some advice on how to battle it, and came across this article: https://hbr.org/2021/02/stop-telling-women-they-have-imposter-syndromeTo sum it up, it says that imposter syndrome is the result of workplaces where women are confronted with microagressions, and that by giving it the name imposter syndrome it is individualizing the phenomenon to the woman itself (especially because it sounds psychological), instead of addressing the wider context.Reading your post, you're addressing this also, in your advice to the managers.Do you all have any positions on this? The article definitely shifted my thinking a bit, though the question remains, what do we do with this information? Even though it might not be an individual problem, I need an individual solution, so to say, because I can't change the wider structure. Then all the advice given under the label "imposter syndrome" does help me.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Hey @TinaReis! Thanks for sharing here. 100% yes. Our workplace environment absolutely shapes, creates, and highlights our self doubt. The systems and structures in place prioritize certain people, skills, attributes, and experiences while marginalizing, othering, underprioritizing, and even harming others. And you're right, these systems are wide and deep and we must change them AND we still need tools to manage ourselves through the bullshit, because we're still impacted by them daily and have to detox from our imposter messaging that we learn from all of it. So like many things, it's an inside job and a change-the-status-quo job. Calling it out, discussing it with our teams, supporting others, and deeply examining our team culture is where we start.
KateT's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much! I feel like a bit of an imposter on Elpha because I am in information science - aka, librarian! I often feel like I’m just faking the more technical aspects of my job, especially since I come from an arts background. Yesterday I was told about a position with a company doing library software project management and I immediately heard that voice of self doubt. I know that I am competent enough to learn new skills given the time, but worry that I won’t understand all the jargon and will seem ignorant. Anyone have tips on how to see my soft skills as a benefit I can bring to a more technical team?
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Hey @KateT! I can relate. For most of my technical career, I've been the program manager, senior planner, process manager, etc. leading a team of deeply technical people who are the best at what they do. I felt a lot of imposter syndrome and anxiety-producing comparison feeling like I had to know what they know to be taken seriously. But remembering that diverse skill sets are what make teams successful really helped me. I couldn't write the code or technical specs, but they couldn't connect all stakeholders and bring competing priority decision points to leadership the way I could. They had intricate product expertise, but I could see five steps ahead and identify implementation problems. So yes, you absolutely have important and valuable skills that a technical team needs! I wish soft skills were renamed critical skills. :)I know it's been a couple months since your post -- any update? Did you go for it?!
KateT's profile thumbnail
Thanks, @hannahlake! That's a good point, soft skills folks can really help unite different talents. I ended up deciding I wasn't ready to work and travel as much as that job required, but it definitely opened my mind to a broader array of work I can try.
shreya's profile thumbnail
Much thanks for sharing. Much time I need to read this.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thank you, @shreya!
mbmoore's profile thumbnail
This was a great read. As a female professor in computer information systems, it's something I struggle with often. I've also had a non-traditional career path and returned to work after my kids were older so I'm older than most newer faculty as well. It's not so much that I don't feel confident in myself (though there's always room for improvement) but the fact that there are some students who are biased against me because of who I am and it's hard to maintain the condidence I need to overcome that and maintain my authority in the classroom. I am currently reminding myself that I just passed my latest review with all "excellent" ratings and I have been reccommended for promotion (official in a few weeks).
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing your experience, @mbmoore. Keep us posted on the promotion!!!
mbmoore's profile thumbnail
I got my letter and my promotion is official and so is my 10% raise.
hannahlake's profile thumbnail
Yes yes yes!