Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

with Alicia Liu

Now Playing

Impostor Syndrome

The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon causing one to feel like a fake.

Alicia Liu

Software Engineer, Entrepreneur, Writer

Lessons Learned

Impostor Syndrome happens to people whose skill level & qualifications are good but feel fake.

Women in tech experience Impostor Syndrome more due to vast industry underrepresentation.

Dunning-Kruger Effect shows that the lowest performers vastly overestimate their performance.


Lesson: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome with Alicia Liu

Step #1 Impostor Syndrome: The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon causing one to feel like a fake

The Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that people can experience and what it does is it causes you to feel like you're a fake, so an impostor. It actually happens to people whose skill level or qualifications are actually quite good. But they always feel that they're actually faking it, that their accomplishments are not real, that they're somehow pulling the wool over other people's eyes that are just getting by on something that isn't real even though it is. They actually are good, they have the skills but they themselves don't see that.

Impostor Syndrome can be experienced by a wide range of people. It seems to be more of a response to something rather than a personality trait. I think in tech women tend to experience it more because women are vastly under represented in tech. So when you don't see role models or when you don't see the people who are really successful in the field and they don't look like you, then it can make you feel like you're not really meant to be here, that you don't belong. And it can have this affect where you feel like you got in by some kind of fluke and I'm not supposed to be doing this, I’m not supposed to be good at this. And that can really take its toll.

Impostor Syndrome is related to the Dunning-Kruger Effect which is this cognitive bias that these researchers from Cornell Dunning and Kruger discovered. So they did this test on students, and they gave them different tests to do like around reasoning and different things. And they found that the students who were very low end, the lowest performing students actually vastly overestimated how well they did. They thought they were above average. They attributed that to the skills that the students need to perform well on the test is the same skill that they need to properly evaluate how well they're doing. So without that quality then they don't perform well, and they're not able to see that they don't perform well.

So you can see this in the wider world with American Idol, you see terrible people get up, and they seem to think they're really good, right? While everyone else in the audience is going "What?" and then the other effect they found was that students that actually perform extremely well on the test tended to underestimate their skill level, because that thought that everyone else actually did better than they do.

Copyright © 2024 Startups.com LLC. All rights reserved.