Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

I mainly hear about imposter syndrome in the development community. When you want to strive and be the best and contribute to the community, but you hold back because there's always another developer better than you.

It's real in business too. I feel it every time I read a book about creating a vision and leading. A nagging feeling that I don't have the right acumen... I don't have an original idea... I don't have what it takes compared to all these other folks running similar and more successful companies.

I always think about a comment my artist friend told me years ago - there's no new idea under the sun. Everything he creates in his art is borrowed and inspired. The artist brings together what he loves from many different areas - what speaks to him - and creates his unique work.

I was recently speaking to a business owner friend who shared a similar sentiment. When you walk into an organization and see something you love, a better way to do something, you don't just walk away - you learn about it and figure out how to adapt it into your business to make it better.

He agreed with me that it's OK to have a borrowed vision, a conglomeration of insights from many different sources. The fact that it's going through my brain, my translation, and being executed by my unique team means it has its fingerprint.

Braden Keith