Confronting Imposter Syndrome

By Cindy F. Solomon

I’ve had the privilege of coaching, mentoring and advising people at different points in their careers because they want to enter product management, move on to other positions or companies to advance their careers in tech, and/or forward their startups.

I initially was surprised to discover that even the most technical, high performing and successful people who already had proven their exceptional competence, received funding and desirable compensation, still suffered from an internal, hidden  fear that they didn’t do enough, didn’t know enough, didn’t measure up to their peers. Not only women or under-represented people in tech, but also white men with all the pedigrees to have landed them already in desirable positions. It became clear that this fear had nothing to do with either their own accomplishments nor other people’s approval.

This is not only an individual nor a woman’s specific issue. Scott Hanselman wrote a great piece, entitled “I’m a phony, are you?” and the commentary on his post from 2011 is still relevant.

I began posing casual discussions at my favorite unconferences including ProductCamp, LeanCamp, She’s Geeky, Silicon Valley Code Camp, as well as formal conferences like the Product Summit to raise these issues that have been framed as Imposter Syndrome.

I pulled together some background, definitions and excellent video of Denise Paolucci addressing the issue with links for discussion, and her suggestions for combatting it.

valerieyoungOne of the books I included in the slides is The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It.

I’m very excited that the famous author,  Dr. Valerie Young, is speaking at the Tech Women of SVForum event on Tuesday, March 29 entitled “Why Smart People Feel Like Imposters and How to Thrive in Spite of It”.



Register now to join me for this important discussion!

Find out more about the event.


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