#SXSW2015 Speakers on Social: Combating the Imposter Syndrome

Curious about how to combat the imposter syndrome?

SXSW Interactive speaker John Hagel (@jhagel) of the Deloitte Center for the Edge Innovation joined Marc Andreessen, Nilofer MerchantTimothy Whalin and many hundreds of others in tweeting about a recent post on Medium by Julie Zhou titled "The Imposter Syndrome: Mastering the Art of Pretending".

In the post, Facebook product design director Julie Zhou recounts her struggles with the imposter syndrome, first early in her college career and then again when she accepted a technical position at a start-up company.

Zhou explained that her initial strategy for coping with the imposter syndrome was to pretend to be someone she wasn't in order to fit in and not be found out as the fraud she imagined herself to be.

Now, with the benefit of experience, Zhou writes that if she was able was to go back in time and give her younger self advice on how to combat the imposter syndrome, she would recommend these three tactics:

  1. "Look at events with a best-case instead of worst-case interpretation. Or just ask."
  2. "Focus on the strengths of being different rather than the weaknesses." 
  3. "Find people you can admit your insecurities to."

After describing the experiences that informed her thinking about these tactics, Zhou concludes by acknowledging that even though she still feels like an imposter sometimes...

"Here’s the thing though: it gets easier. You start trusting yourself. You’re an imposter less and less, and you’re yourself more and more."

VIDEO: Escaping the Imposter Syndrome

And while we're on the subject of the Imposter Syndrome, watch this talk by web developer Roseanne Fallin titled "Escaping Imposter Syndrome" delivered at O'Reilly's Fluent 2014 Conference.

WYSKR at SXSW Interactive 2015 

In the run-up to SXSW Interactive, WYSKR is keeping an eye on the content being shared on social media by the event's speakers. When particularly noteworthy content is shared by a speaker, WYSKR will share it with you, along with video content of interest.


Because great events curate great speakers, and great speakers not only know great content when they see it, they also often take the time to share it with others via social media.

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