The co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes tells us how Imposter Syndrome has been with him from the beginning of his career and has never eased.
First you became aware, then you can start to develop
We upgrade our computers once every few years and operating systems and applications every second day. Yet we tend to forget the mindware that operates our everyday lives.
The quality of our communication is not completely in our own hands. How we listen to, interact with and understand others is not just our conscious decision. And even if we’d like to tell ourselves otherwise, we don’t have complete control over our own behavior.
From our childhood until today we have picked up different rules, beliefs and habits which have quite a determining role in defining how we will behave in any given situation. The good news is, that we grow and change throughout our lives. It is possible to consciously affect this mindware. That is why the most important work to develop your communication skills is done by developing your mindset.
Start with these
“The central task of psychotherapy with impostors is to lessen the client’s dependence on others’ positive evaluations for his or her self-esteem and to build a more internalized sense of self-worth.”
In short, a person suffering from Imposter Syndrome is not able to see themselves as skilled or able – despite that fact that they may be managing their work and life just fine.
When caught up with imposter thoughts, a person creates themselves a completely unattainable and unsustainable ‘competence ideal’. Trying to live up to this ideal feeds the creation of yet more imposter feelings.
We think we can want everything, and that we don’t have to pay anything for the things that we want. We also think that if we don’t like something, it necessarily means we don’t want it. But these are all misconceptions.
Values define and guide everything we do. Yet we spend very little time to examine what it actually is that we find valuable. Now is just the right time to do that.
How bad is your imposter syndrome? Do the test and answer to the questionnaire. I’ll raffle a sturdy pile of books among all attendees. Thank you for your help!
What if not is a semi insane question. It works like this: what if this thing I’m familiar with would NOT be that which I think it to be right now.
Shame makes us think we are bad, guilt helps us grow, humiliation makes us angry and embarrassment makes us laugh in the end. Each is a vital feeling, though you can get stuck in shame and that is not a good thing.
Human beings come with three different triggers that activate when we receive feedback. Either we feel that the feedback is unreasonable or simply wrong, it comes from a wrong person or it threatens our identity.
These too are worth your while
Though we consider ourselves rational and thinking creatures, we have quite a collection of biases and misleading heuristics. It’s necessary to become aware of the weaknesses in our thinking to be kinder and more understanding towards yourself and others. Kahneman, Nobel price winner in economics, will keep you humble.
One of the many unhelpful thoughts, that nests in our head, is that vulnerability is weakness. When in fact admitting and showing your vulnerability makes you courageous, trustworthy and attractive. If you try to live your entire life hiding your vulnerability, you end up not living fully.