Episode 54

Imposter Syndrome

Published on: 2nd November, 2021

Today we tackle one of the most commonly asked questions in our new hire orientation. How do I deal with Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments. -HealthLine

We start the episode covering what Impostor Syndrome is, how you can recognize it in ourself and others, and how to overcome it. If you or someone on your team is struggling with Impostor Syndrome, this is the podcast episode for you.

Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hit the subscribe button or reach out at [email protected].


Igor Geyfman 0:05


Robert Greiner 0:06

episode 54 Yes, what's up y'all

Igor Geyfman 0:10

Who would have thought?

Robert Greiner 0:10

Who would have thought? Yeah, I might have bet against it.

Igor Geyfman 0:15

What? What was the number like most podcasts only last seven episodes?

Robert Greiner 0:20

Yeah, seven or eight? Yeah, pod drift. That's a term, pod drifting. I guess when you just don't post another episode.

Charles Knight 0:26

I was a little worried and a little bit worried in the summertime when we all took off and we got out of our weekly rhythm of recording and stuff and posting. But here we are again.

Robert Greiner 0:38


Igor Geyfman 0:39

That was like, absence makes the heart grow fonder sort of deal.

Robert Greiner 0:43

I definitely missed it. Yeah, we don't record I miss it.

Charles Knight 0:46

Me too. It is easy to say. Yeah. Let's just push next week, though. It's very easy to do that. Because there's always something else to do. But yeah, here we are.

Robert Greiner 0:56

Here we are.

Charles Knight 0:57

And we've got a topic for today,

Robert Greiner 0:59

which is from our new hire questions.

Charles Knight 1:02

Yes. So yep. Yep. So we are I polled a group of folks that went through our, you know, onboarding process. This probably sometime in the summertime, we've had several classes this year, I can't remember which one and ask them a couple of questions and the topic of imposter syndrome came up. It's actually something that I talked about in my onboarding presentation about imposter syndrome. In my presentation, I have this graphic from a Twitter account called red pen black pen. And it's the birth of imposter syndrome. We'll link to it in the show notes. But it's got a fish with legs just emerging from the ocean onto land and staring up at a erupting volcano. And it's got a little thought bubble that says I have no idea what I'm doing here. I'm totally out of my element. And when I saw that, it was it was really funny. So I included in my my presentation. But what it's speaking to is that, hey, imposter syndrome. It sounds like a disease. But I really truly think everybody experiences it in some form or fashion. And it's pretty core to our human experience. That's what we want to explore today. I think what I want to do is start with that question to y'all. Do you all see imposter syndrome as something that is just universally human? Or is it something else that's temporary or that only certain people experience?

Robert Greiner 2:30

I think it's a human condition.

Igor Geyfman 2:32

Do we want to define imposter syndrome? Because I don't I don't think I know exactly how we're defining it. Is that okay?

Charles Knight 2:40

Yeah, okay. Yeah, let me do that. So, imposter syndrome. It's funny, they actually have a different name for it, which I've never really heard of, until I looked this up. Perceived fraudulence.

Robert Greiner 2:52

Hmm. Sounds much worse.

Igor Geyfman 2:54


That's right.

Robert Greiner 2:57

Oh my gosh!

Charles Knight 2:57

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence involves feelings of self doubt, and personal incompetence. That persist despite your education, experience and accomplishments.

Robert Greiner 3:11

Is this is the opposite of a Dunning Kruger effect, right? Where the less good you are at something, the more competent you think you are.

Charles Knight 3:18


Robert Greiner 3:18

Like he just told people, are you above average driver? A most people think they're above average drivers, right?

Igor Geyfman 3:25

Yes, yeah.

Robert Greiner 3:26

This is the other side of that spectrum.

Charles Knight 3:28

Mm hmm. The more you doubt yourself and your abilities? Yeah, it's the opposite.

Robert Greiner 3:33

That's a great irony, the more credentialed you are, the more competent you are, the more you realize you don't know. And then therefore, can get spun into a cycle of I'm not good enough to self doubt those kinds of things, when actually are more than capable of doing the work.

Charles Knight 3:49

Yeah, the downward spiral there is. It's exactly right. You feel the self doubt, you feel like you're not good enough, smart enough. And so then you end up working harder, and holding yourself to even higher standards, which will lead to success, which then feeds the feelings of self doubt, and it repeats. And it's insidious, pernicious thing that I what I tell in my dolphin school class or the our onboarding class, is that I have a very vivid memory of this imposter syndrome. In our recruiting process. I remember getting a call from a recruiter, and them saying that, hey, I made it through the second round of interviews, and then I'll be getting an offer. And my very first thought was, huh, I fooled them.

Robert Greiner 4:37


Charles Knight 4:40

I fooled them into thinking that I'm going to be a great consultant. And so anyway,

Igor Geyfman 4:44

You have been fooling us for a long time now,

Robert Greiner 4:46

Charles Yeah. The ultimate fraud. Yeah. You've watched for one day from college. Vice President Yeah, I guess we'll catch on Sunday. Yeah.

Charles Knight 4:54

It's not perceived. fraudulence, it's actual fraudulence Yeah. Call the FBI or something

Robert Greiner 4:59

that competent. it would take to fool everyone for how long has it been 16 years. 15

Charles Knight 5:05

15 years.

Robert Greiner 5:06


Charles Knight 5:07

Thank you.

Robert Greiner 5:07

That's a feat in and of itself. Yeah. It's like, if you think the moon landing was fake, and you have to realize how difficult it would have been for a government entity who hired people and has blueprints and prototypes and factories and like, hangars and all those things like it would have been easier just to send people to the moon than to fake it.

Charles Knight 5:25

Yeah. True.

Robert Greiner 5:26

You don't feel that way anymore. Do you?

Charles Knight 5:28

No, I don't know that

Robert Greiner 5:30

you stamp that out early on?

Charles Knight 5:32

Not early on.

Robert Greiner 5:33


Charles Knight 5:33

no, we can dig into that a little bit. But it's what I talked about in my talk is that fear can be rooted in imposter syndrome. That's like that, that feeling of self doubt creates fear. Like when you're in an outside your element, I like this fish that has evolved into some sort of land walking, air breathing animal. And so I don't have the self doubt, like I've had enough success. And I guess I've had enough people around me mentors, friends you to tell me that I'm pretty competent at what I do. That I don't feel that self doubt. But I absolutely feel fear when I'm out of my element. It's just I don't think it's rooted in that that specific definition of imposter syndrome around despite your competence and experience and successes. You doubt yourself. That makes sense?

Robert Greiner 6:24

Yeah. And you asked the question earlier, I think two questions One, does everyone at some point suffer from imposter syndrome? And then two can you overcome it? And you are a data point that says that you can?

Charles Knight 6:36

Yeah, and N equals one? Yeah.

Robert Greiner 6:41

100% of Charles's I know, over imposter syndrome. That's not true. I don't I think I know more than one, Charles. But I do think everyone is affected by this. I will say though, if you think about behavior profiles, introverted, extroverted tasks are detail oriented or not. I think there are certain behavioral makeups genetic hardwiring that makes you more prone to imposter syndrome. If you're super extroverted and not very detail oriented, it seemed kind of assertive. On the dominant scale, I think you're probably much less likely to much, much less likely to feel like an imposter than someone who is hyper detail oriented, super conscientious, and is very aware of where their sort of field of competence ends. But I do think it is a human condition everybody experiences it can experience it. And then to your point can overcome it.

Charles Knight 7:32

I don't know. I don't know, dude, I guess I was thinking about that, too, that there are a lot of people on that Dunning Kruger side of the spectrum. Yeah.

Robert Greiner 7:41

That's for like individual competencies, right? Like, you're not everybody's good at something. And so when you get over that hump, I'm that way with golf. Like I think I'm much better golf and chess, for sure. I think I'm much better than I am. Even though I intellectually know that I'm not good at either by a margin, like I'm pretty terrible at both, actually. I just like them. But then when I go to engage in those hobbies, it always runs much worse than had played out in my head. I think that's, it's not just you feel like an imposter and all things forever. It's when you're faced with a given situation, I could be wrong. I also have no background or training or experience in this to make the kind of assertion that I just made so

Charles Knight 8:25

that it may not matter. It also may not matter if everybody experiences it, because certainly people have and, Igor, I want to hear your thoughts on it. Because you asked for a definition. I hope I gave you one that was helpful. And then we should talk about, yeah, what if we find ourselves feeling this self doubt? What do we do to get out of it? I think that's a good next thing to jump to. But Igor go ahead.

Igor Geyfman 8:50

I think this is also another instance of N equals one Roberts description of this, you know, mythical person who is extroverted, low detail, highly assertive,

Charles Knight 9:03

doesn't that sound like Robert, by the way.

Robert Greiner 9:04

That's me. Right.

Igor Geyfman 9:06

It actually is Robert. And it's also me. We both have these traits. And I have to tell you, I've never experienced imposter syndrome. I know really,

Robert Greiner 9:17

I thought you said that when you were? I'm not trying to call BS. I'm trying to dig in. Didn't you say though, before when you created a piece of art? That yes, you thought it was trash, even though you might have gotten paid to do it and got a good review on it or whatever it is that the same thing is that

Igor Geyfman 9:33

well, when I was like, Okay, I'm gonna say that I never had imposter syndrome. And then as I was thinking that in my head like a minute ago, the exact thing that I thought about was there's that artwork thing, Igor, is that imposter syndrome? And maybe I never felt like a fraud though. It was I never felt like I was presenting myself as competent or something like that. In any way. And an art is different, because it's just different, right? Because art is subjectively interpreted by individuals in a way that a lot of other things aren't judged that way. Somebody either makes a basket from a three point line or doesn't. And you can say, yeah, that person's like very skilled when you're creating something. I think that judgments a little bit harder. I guess the judgment is, how many people I don't know, buy or consume the thing that you've created. But it doesn't really have to be that way. And so I discounted that phenomenon as not being imposter syndrome. I can be wrong, maybe that is imposter syndrome. And I shouldn't discount it. But that example is actually probably one of the only times when I've felt that way.

Charles Knight:

Yeah. So Igor, if you were a paid artist, and yeah, you've had some gallery showings and stuff like that. If in that situation, if that was your experience, and then you have that feeling of self doubt and fear, would you say that you were experiencing imposter syndrome?

Igor Geyfman:

Yes, yes. And to this day, I bet that I would feel that way, if I had not gone into consulting, and design and those other sort of things. And if I became an artist, and I was doing gallery shows and stuff like that, I guarantee you that 20 years, I've been doing this for 30 years, right? Like I've started, whatever you want to call it, like formal training in the arts, before I was seven years old. So I've been I've been doing this for 30 years now. I guarantee you, I would feel like a fraud. Today, doing gallery shows.

Robert Greiner:

What's funny on that, too, is, so I put together our podcast logo. And I remember sending you the first draft. And I was pretty proud of it. So this is one of those things like my competence was low is low. And you sort of picked a bunch of stuff on it. And I was thinking, Oh, cool. Igor is really good at this stuff. I'm glad I sent it to him. And so it's funny that I thought, I think I'm much better at art than you think you are at art, even though I'm terrible.

Igor Geyfman:

Well, that's, that's a different thing. So I feel like from a design standpoint, yeah, like I'm, I'm on the right, half of the normal distribution curve. But I really disconnect art and even like the technical execution aspects of art, from like, design. And yeah, I design used to be called commercial art, a long time ago. Graphic design anyway, and and by the way, people, what people think of as art nowadays, people think back to the Renaissance or Baroque period, and they think of the Sistine Chapel, and Michelangelo, laying on his back paint, painting, the chapel, and so on. Michelangelo was a commercial artist, the sort of ecclesiastical church body was paying him money to basically decorate their church. That's no different than Apple paying land or somebody else like that, to design their logo for them. And so what's interesting is that a long time ago, everybody was a commercial artist, because nobody could really just create art for their own purpose, because that's kind of not how it works. Like, you have to really work to survive. And if you weren't doing something useful, you didn't have the opportunity to create. And but today, we consider that art, right, we look at the Michelangelo's David, you look the Sistine Chapel. And nobody would say, Oh, that's not art. But it was definitely like commercial, hired for money, pay me to decorate this object, or create this decorative object,

Charles Knight:

there was something that I want to dig into, it's probably off off the imposter syndrome piece, which I'm totally fine with. I want to go back to something you said around art is different, because it's subjective, which I understand and agree with. But also there is a general acceptance of that there are certain people that have more refined taste, and and therefore appreciation of what is created. And so that so even though it is subjective, there is still a critical mass of people generally agree that Michelangelo stuff is really good, and that Monet had some really interesting phenomenal innovations and technique and stuff like that, that produced wonderful art. And I don't know, I'm trying to think if there's something outside of art, but you see it in cooking, right? In food in cuisine, which to me, it still falls within art, where there is this? Yes, anybody can do it. There is a lot of subjectivity to it. And there's there are people who have in who set the tone for what, I don't know. I keep coming back to taste. I don't know if that's how you think

Robert Greiner:

I think this is good to dig on. And I would say it's very important to have good taste to be good at something. We could just call it creative output, which could be a painting. It could be an accounting spreadsheet. It could be a block of code. It could be a Twitter post. There's all sorts of things that we produce that require a level of creativity even, even science, right, going to the scientific method, generating hypothesis, thinking about how the world works. There's some creativity in there. And so that falls in the line of creative output. So, in the vein of cooking, I could never be an exceptional chef. I think because I have no taste when it comes to food. Like I, I know when I'm in a fancy restaurant, I like steak. I have no like deep appreciation for food. It doesn't really resonate with me, I don't think I could translate that into any kind of cooking career or excellence. I make some good breakfast tacos. I make some great salsa, or there's a few dishes that I make that I really like, but I don't know the taste doesn't match. They're an Ira Glass. I don't know if we talked about this quote before, but he's on NPR. Y'all know who Ira Glass, This American Life. Right. And so he has this quote, are really, really quick. But he says nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone told me, all of us who do creative work, we get into it, because we have good taste. But there's this gap. For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good. It has potential, but it's not. But your tastes, the thing that got you into the game, it's still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoint you. A lot of people never get past this phase they quit. Most people I know who do interesting creative work went through years of this. And so it's this dichotomy, this gap of you have great taste, which is what interested you in the subject matter to begin with, but yet your output, your skills have not caught up to that taste and your taste continues to grow. Yeah. And so that's there's some disappointment that lies into that which I felt on the podcast for sure. I felt in my career, I'm consistently disappointed in output that I create. But if I look back in this, we'll get into our sort of remedies later, where I was at five years ago, and where I'm at today are those a light year of difference between those two, and those that resulted in incremental steps over time. But definitely a ton of stuff that I created that I was less than proud of.

Igor Geyfman:

I lived that the Ira Glass quote, and I have worked with a lot of designers that have lived that quote, too and most designers are limited by their taste. And like, I know that I'll never break, like the top 10% of design. And it's because I don't have the taste level for the top 10% I can probably break top 20. But in my and so when you tap out at your taste level, your skills have nowhere to grow, if that makes sense, right? Like, they just think your skills can only match your taste level. They can't really or at least in design, they can't out match your taste level. And I worked with some young designers who had amazing top 10% taste, whose skills were bad, who at that time, I would say technically, we're definitely not as good at design as I was. But I knew that as they kept working on it, if they kept working on it, that their taste level would allow them to be like really exceptional. And so there's also some people that worked really hard and really wanted to be great. And they just didn't have the taste to let their skills and their hard work. Pay off. And they really struggled. They really struggled.

Charles Knight:

So when we talk about taste, do you all define it as the ability to discern what is good or not? Is that a fair definition of taste?

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, but like, then the question is good for whom? You know,

Charles Knight:

yeah, there's this like,

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, let's say, taste and design is like your visual taste, Robert was talking about food before. And that's how we literally think about the sensation of taste. Somebody has really sensitive taste buds and olfactory senses. And they're really able to taste nuances and combinations in a way that gives them like a leg up. And then because they have that heightened sense of food taste, then they're able to produce things that people that don't have such a high level of tastes to still really enjoy. And I think in the visual sense, it's the same sort of way. You just have a visual sense for things and people tend to like it. Right? Give you have really great taste and you produce something to that standard. You can be pretty sure that a lot of others are going to think that this looks good. They can pinpoint. They may not even think that something looks good consciously, but they'll pick it up off the shelf. Let's say if it's some sort of made up or something like that. Or they'll gravitate towards using one application over another application, even though they roughly do the same sort of thing for some unex unexplicable reason, but that reason might just be that it's more visually pleasing, or whatever it is. It's the reason why so many people like, mid century modern furniture, it's like, it's the style that's like, hard to not like, so yeah, so taste, the real question is tastes like, it looks good, or it tastes good, or it sounds good. But for whom, and, and I think it's just like, the more people that would agree that something is good. Like, the more the more of those folks you can capture, probably you can say like, the better your taste is,

Robert Greiner:

I see it as the ability to perceive, appreciate and understand the nuance of excellence. Okay, so if we went to the symphony, and they played Beethoven, I would generally appreciate it. It sounds good that people are playing the instruments are very talented. There's some, whatever the auditory version of aesthetic says, it's just the pleasing thing to listen to, you're there with a group of people who are also appreciating it. And you're generally there and you have a good time. Which by the way, I would, I did the same thing with food, right? Like I just mentioned that there's layers and layers of nuance into these master Symphony works, including some math behind like how your ear is shaped, and how the sound travels and all of those things. Which, if you have great taste, the way we're thinking about it, you can appreciate those multiple layers deep when you and I pass a billboard, Igor you have a different experience and a different nuance of how the design sticks out to you, or a new website or whatever, than I do, even though I may look at something and appreciate it. And so I think that taste factor is really being able to go multiple levels deep in your appreciation of what's Excellent. And that's why also the work is that you do is disappointing if you have great taste, because again, it's outpaces your output. So I like what you said I'd also maybe add to it, that it's that ability to perceive the layers of excellence.

Charles Knight:

This is why I love having coffee with you, even though this is virtual, because we have ventured into the realm of the philosophy of aesthetics. That's where we have landed right now. And we started with imposter syndrome. So this is just this is incredible fun for me. I'm learning a lot.

Robert Greiner:

Can I give you another example? Maybe I cut you off? I think there might be a delay here.

Charles Knight:

Nope. Go ahead.

Robert Greiner:

Okay. Amazon has these series called All or nothing, which follows us professional sports team around for a season and has an inside look into the players and their lives and the games and the locker room and the training. It's narrated by John Ham, or Ben Kingsley. So it's got like really high production, quality, great narration. And there's one for Manchester City, which is a European soccer team at the top of the Premier League. So one of the best teams in the world. And I don't have a deep appreciation for soccer, like my daughter plays soccer. I played it growing up. I understand the positions, but I don't really understand the fluidity of the game. I don't get what's happening. And their coach Pep Guardiola, who is a soccer mastermind, and is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in history is talking to his team about and he's got the whiteboard up. And he's moving the pieces around the magnetic pieces, talking to the team about how to handle a situation. And he keeps talking about like a lane, like a side lane or an alley or something. And I was like I didn't understand what he was talking about. But I kept thinking, This guy's a really great leader. Like he's asking for more from his team, he's giving them feedback. He's all in on their performance and trying to make them better. And so the whole thing I was watching, I watched all or nothing, because of Pep Guardiola and how his leadership style translated through the entire series. And so for me, I would say I have a certainly have a more refined taste around leadership than I do soccer. You could bicker about whether or not I'm good at it. But I know nothing about soccer and I get paid to do leadership stuff. So there's at least some data to back that up. And so I experienced a whole season of all or nothing from the lens of leadership. And so I think that's an interesting take there were even the same piece of work you do and interpret differently based on your interests and expertise and things like that.

Igor Geyfman:

So maybe I'll go back. So now that we like leered into this kind of tangent, I'd like to get a ruling from the judges me throwing out those created works Was that was that imposter syndrome?

Charles Knight:

I will say based off of the definition that we start with. No, it's not. And that's a that's a little nuance that I've taken away and I've learned from this discussion about imposter syndrome. I think before I was conflating fear that we experience as part of our normal day to day on the job experience with imposter syndrome, probably in my experience, it has been imposter syndrome because I have had that self doubt about my ability to be a good consultant. But in your case, I would say no, right? Because you weren't identifying as marking yourself as an artist. It was a hobby. Maybe instead, yeah,

Igor Geyfman:

I never felt like a fraud. Yeah, maybe that's the feeling that people rail against when they think of imposter syndrome. It's like, boy, I feel like a total fraud here. And people will catch on. And yeah,

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, someone's gonna bust in the door, and was some FBI agents and point at me and say, You're a fraud. You tricked everyone? I can't believe you did this. You're not nearly as good as you. You've said, You Are you tried to come across, you know, this kind of thing? Yeah. Yeah, I agree, Charles, I don't think that was imposter syndrome.

Igor Geyfman:

I give this advice to people sometimes. And I'd like to hear your thoughts on actually, if you think this is good advice or not. But I think of like, your skill and the presenting your skill, kind of like running away from a bear. And it doesn't matter who the fastest is, you just can't be the slowest. And so a lot of especially designers that I worked with, they're so worked up about, oh, my gosh, I'm going to go in there, and I'm going to present and it's going to be so bad. And they're gonna know, that I'm no good at and my advice was always, you just have to be better than everyone in that room. Like, as long as you're better than everyone you're presenting to. They actually can't discern any level above that. Not really, right, maybe in some strange direct comparison that they would have to do, but not in that moment. And I don't know how I feel about that advice. But it's advice that I've given a lot. And it's advice that I've given to myself, as well. It's just,

Robert Greiner:

that is interesting. I get a little nervous before, like public speaking. And I do well, I feed off of the crowd a lot, that probably has something to do with extraversion. But I typically feel a point in the presentation, usually around five minutes in where I'm like, Okay, this is going well. And a lot of that has to do, I think, with what you said of I don't know that I'm thinking I'm better than all these dummies in here. But I generally feel like what I'm saying is make making some hitting some kind of points that I'm not ashamed of, or things like that. There. I do have some quantitative imposter syndrome, sort of self assessment questions, which, which might help. So this is from psicom.net. It's like a mental health resource. I don't know how good or valid the site is, but they have a lot of stuff here on loneliness, habits, being happier at work, those kind of things. And there is a Do you have imposter syndrome quiz that you can take? And so if you're saying yes, like always often to these kind of questions, there's a good chance that you're dealing with imposter syndrome. And I think Igor, this will probably prove what the example that you outlined before was was not imposter syndrome. You're ready.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah. Ready.

Robert Greiner:

Okay. I believe the success I've had is a fluke. Even when I do well, I don't think I really deserve it. I worry about feeling overwhelming shame if my incompetence is ever revealed, I worry that people will find out. I'm not as smart as they think I am. I downplay my achievements. It's hard for me to accept compliments. I feel uncomfortable with praise. I compare myself to others. I feel like failing is not an option. I hesitate to brag about my accomplishments. I feel like I'm making it up as I go. Success doesn't always come easy for me. I have to work at it. There's a few more. But I think the first few are, were illuminating. I think the success I've had is a fluke. I don't deserve. I don't deserve it. Even when I do well. I worry about overwhelming shame if my incompetence is ever revealed. I think those are sort of the root feelings that we're talking about here.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, I want to I guess I just realized as we're talking that we're trying to tease out what is imposter syndrome or not. But for those people that are feeling like a fraud, or even just afraid, you know about their ability to be successful. I think there's probably some practical advice that we can offer. And Igor going back to what advice that you shared, I had a neutral reaction to your advice, but upon reflection, I do think it's, I do think it's good because I think one of the one of the one of the not symptoms because this is not an illness. But one of the things that happens when you have this imposter syndrome is that you set higher standards for yourself. ever higher standards. you work harder and harder to try to achieve it. And the advice that you gave is, hey, calibrate that, okay? What is really the standard here that you should be measuring yourself against, I think is a really good, it's really good advice to give. Because it, you don't have to be the world class expert in something in order to stop feeling like you're a fraud. Because that's what that's how I find real value.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah. Like you can provide so much value at your skill level, that's what it's about, you don't have to be at like the top 10% skill level, to, quote, start providing value for people as as soon as you're able to share something with another human being that bring brings them some sort of, you know, positive outcome, you've created value. And it doesn't matter, like what your overall worldwide world ranking is,

Charles Knight:

that that's probably my advice, then I'll say this, and then y'all can share some quick advice here is, if you're feeling this way, whether we call it or define it as imposter syndrome or not, you should probably seek out others that you trust, mentors, friends, coaches, peers, leaders, managers, whatever, and help get an outside perspective on two things. One, is your skill level and your competence. And two, what is that standard that you should be holding yourself against? And really, just try to get clarity through others and ask people that you trust, because you're not going to believe it? yourself. So if you talk to a trusted mentor or a friend, and they validate your competence, and they help you see what the standard you should be comparing yourself to, is overtime? I think that's the way out of it. I think it's that sort of intervention that's required to break out in this cycle.

Robert Greiner:

I think that's guidance number one, for this podcast. I completely agree with you there. How many people have you coached in your career that think they're doing a horrible job, they're doing much better than they think they are? And when they say when they give reasons why, like, where did that standard come in? That's not at all what we've been talking about, you're actually, you're doing really well in these areas. And your combined demonstrated performance is quite solid. And I think having that conversation, showing an objective standard that you can anchor to instead of one that you're making up, and constantly moving the goalposts is really key. So yeah, I think that's great trust in other people's expert judgment of your performance, who are really good at judging that performance. If Gordon Ramsay says your dish is terrible, it's probably not. Igor what do you think I have a couple?

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, I'm just gonna touch back on unlike the value thing. And I think that if you're, if you feel or you can ask and find out if that you're providing value to the people that are consuming your work, then I think, to me, it's probably hard to feel like a fraud. In that case, maybe you still can. But boy, if somebody values and appreciates the work that I'm doing, and it's bringing goodness, into their, into their business or into their life, or whatever avenue you're trying to affect, how can I be fraudulent, right like that now, if they aren't getting value, or if you're convincing them that they're getting value, and they're actually not getting value? Absolutely, that is fraud, and you should feel fraudulent, but that's not what we're talking about here. And, and just one more point, sometimes someone who's really good at something, let's say top 1%, they can walk into a room, and they can alienate the people in that room because those people aren't ready for that level of standard. And then they don't make any those people don't make any progress because they listened to some 1% standard. And they're like, yeah, like I'm out. And they just don't do it. And so sometimes somebody can that's at a really high level of competency, even if the audience isn't in the right place. And that person doesn't know how to calibrate and communicate to that audience. They can very quickly alienate those people and provide no value where somebody's less skilled, they wouldn't propose that standard. And the folks in that room would gravitate towards their solution or proposal or whatever it is, and they'd be able to make some progress, maybe not to the level of standard that the one percenter suggests, but you know, it's still progress over no progress. So some of the things about

Robert Greiner:

nice, you have a couple of them will wrap up. Yeah. Cool. So, a couple things. Maybe, again, what we're talking about here are thoughts and ideas, take what's useful. Leave what you think isn't. One thing that could work is taking on more. You get better when you do things. That's how humans work. Making progress is important. creative output is the thing that will make you better actually is important. For instance, I was terrible presenter early on in my career, and did this thing to where I was always like, move my mouse around and click, and so it was very distracting on the screen. And so I would, for instance, volunteer more to present our weekly status to our manager, something like that. And I would focus on just not touching the mouse. And then I would focus on something else. And then eye contact, and over time, those little improvements build up. And so if you pair that with Charles's advice around, seeking objective feedback, you can get better really quickly just by doing more, even though it feels uncomfortable. Which leads me to the second point, maybe it would help to redefine your head, that feeling uncomfortable, or like an imposter is a good sign. It means you're focusing on something that matters, that's important to you, it could be helpful to reframe that feeling as a positive indicator that you're growing, you're entering a space that causes you to be uncomfortable and grow. Doing that over time. Making progress over time always has good results. And then finally, think about your talent stack. We've covered this before, you don't need to be the best public speaker, you don't need to be the best team player or developer, or accountant or whatever. You're building a collection of skills. We don't just value one skill from you, we value your collection of skills, your talent stack, that's what makes you unique, and allows you to contribute in a way that is valued by the market by your team by organization. And so building a broad set of talents that are accretive to your role to your job to the things you want to do is very important. And so maybe think of it as a portfolio or a collection of things that you're good at. And not just on the one thing that you don't feel like you're good at. So there you go. Lots of advice. I hope the new fans that asked the question, get some value from this, Charles, thanks for asking, too. I think this was not originally on our radar. So it's cool to know what people are interested in learning more about.

Charles Knight:

Yeah. As always, I learned something from y'all in our conversation. So thank you.

Robert Greiner:

Cool. Actually had coffee at Ascension yesterday. I thought about both

Igor Geyfman:

the good old days.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah. Oh, let's come. Yep. All right. Great hanging out. Thanks for making time today. Thanks.

Charles Knight:


Robert Greiner:

All right. Bye.

Igor Geyfman:


Charles Knight:


Robert Greiner:

That's it for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee or drop us a line at [email protected]

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About the Podcast

Wanna Grab Coffee?
Join us for weekly discussions about careers, leadership, and balancing work and life.
A podcast about all of the topics we discuss during our mid-day coffee breaks. We bring you stories, thoughts, and ideas around life as a professional, leadership concepts, and work/life balance. We view career and leadership development as a practice that spans decades and we are excited to go on this journey with you.