The Reasons I Love my Imposter Syndrome

Rear view of woman sitting at her desk working on three screens


Having Imposter Syndrome makes you an Imposter, right? Of course not! In fact, stats show over 70% of people have experienced imposter syndrome at least once in their lives (and I suspect the true figure is even higher).

But first, what is Imposter Syndrome? It is the feeling that you don’t deserve your success, that you are not capable enough, and fear you will be found out. It’s that anxious feeling in your stomach and your inner critic working overtime.  

During my 12-month internship, I went through the first 6 months of my career with deep imposter syndrome. I was working at a company I spent my whole life dreaming about, faced a steep learning curve, and struggled both with the question of whether I was a “diversity hire”, as the only female intern on my team and with the pressure of feeling like I needed to represent my entire gender well on this stage.  

That is all to say, that I understand the feelings and intricacies of Imposter Syndrome as a woman in tech. 

But what if I was to tell you Imposter Syndrome isn’t all bad – in fact, I love my Imposter Syndrome now! 

What my waves of Imposter Syndrome teach me carries with me throughout every day, every challenge, and every future opportunity I look towards.  

So, what have I taken away that is so impactful? 


When I was going through the deepest point of my Imposter Syndrome, I had no idea what I was experiencing. All I knew was that I felt bad about myself and that I didn’t want anyone to know how I was feeling because I thought I was alone.  

Many things helped me overcome my waves of Imposter Syndrome, but what initially helped me feel less alone was the simple fact that I found out there was real name for it. 

Knowing there is a name, backed by studies, articles, and resources, speaks to how common these feelings are in every industry, level, and role. It’s not just me or you that experiences these things – it’s basically everyone. We are all just trying to do our best.  

In my research, I was able to reflect on myself, my behaviors, and my natural tendencies that helped me recognize, understand, and adjust my thinking and actions.  
One such thing was that common patterns have been found between people who have faced Imposter Syndrome: 

1.      Perfectionists set a very high bar for themselves, and any mistake can make them question their capabilities. 

2.      Experts feel like they need to know everything before they apply for a new job, speak up in a meeting, or hesitate to ask questions for fear that they might look like they don’t have all the answers.

3.      Natural geniuses feel like if they struggle to pick something new up then they aren’t good enough and are an imposter. 

4.      Soloists feel like they have to accomplish tasks on their own and if they ask for help, then they are a failure or fraud. 

5.      Superhumans feel like they have to push themselves harder than everyone else to prove they are not imposters. They must succeed in all aspects in life and may feel stressed or overwhelmed if they aren’t accomplishing something.  

How many of these traits do you identify with? Common traits like these and more come up time and time again in different studies or self-development books. They build on the narrative that Imposter Syndrome is highly prevalent in our society among all people. 

But more importantly, it helps me recognize where some of my inner critic thoughts are coming from which gives me the power to adjust my thinking consciously and deliberately.  

Which leads me to my second lesson… 


What people like to gloss over, is that Imposter Syndrome never really goes away. It comes back in waves when you face new challenges outside of your comfort zone.  

Frankly, it is a GOOD thing when you experience Imposter Syndrome. That’s right – I said it! 

Imposter Syndrome is like growing pains – uncomfortable at the time, but ultimately lead to something much greater.  

You don’t achieve dreams or become the best by doing what is comfortable and familiar. 

Imposter Syndrome means you have done something that has rewarded you with an opportunity to take the next step toward your goal. 

It means you are in a room with people who you can learn from and are on a path where you will come out stronger, smarter, and more capable than you ever have been.  

How exciting is that! 

When I feel my imposter Syndrome cropping up, it means I am doing something right. And to gain clarity and direction, I lean into those feelings to ask myself a few questions: 

·        Why am I feeling this way? 

·        What would make me feel better? 

·        What motivates me to overcome this? 

·        What lessons do I want to learn? 

·        What skills, experiences, and unique traits can I lean on to help me get through this? 

·        Who can I ask for help? 

·        What resources can I use? 

Framing Imposter Syndrome as a positive and asking yourself these questions puts you back in control. It allows you to take deliberate action toward the outcome you want.  

Not only did Imposter Syndrome teach me the power of perceptions, it also taught me about trust. 

Woman working with colleague on laptop reviewing code


Imposter Syndrome can have many facets, but often the primary underlying feeling is a lack of confidence in a new domain.  

So just go out and gain some confidence…simple right? Of course, it’s not that simple.  

While you and your mentors can try to reassure your rational brain that you are capable, the most impactful change is going to happen from within.  

This next lesson fundamentally shifted how I view myself, and what I can achieve, and gave me something I can always lean on while my domain-specific confidence is being built up to fit the new challenge. 


When I was given a new task at the start of my internship, I always thought to myself my “gosh I have no idea how to do this”. There is no answer sheet, this was me diving into unknown territory.  

But my mentor was always so assured that we could find a solution. Knowing my mentor also struggled during the first part of his career and seeing all the amazing thing he was able to achieve since, made me start to emulate their confidence outwardly (even if I wasn’t feeling all that confident on the inside). 

After completing a few challenging and critical path tasks, I started to realize that all these problems are solvable and that I really could do it if I put my mind to it.  

I began proving to myself that even if I wasn’t sure of myself or didn’t know the solution, I could learn and deliver whatever it was that was asked of me.  

It is the underlying confidence in myself that enables me to pick up work in new areas, say yes to challenges, and keep trying even if at first I don’t succeed. 

With that confidence, you begin seeing how Imposter Syndrome can actively help you in your career.   

Smiling confident woman stands in front of whiteboard


When I feel my imposter syndrome coming back, I return to a lesson I learnt many years ago “Remind yourself of your own successes and how far you’ve come”. When you are learning and growing at an accelerated pace where everything is always new, it is hard to recognize just how far you’ve come.     

But more than that I remind myself that I am on my own journey with my own skills and experiences that make me valuable.  

Comparison is the thief of joy… and also a great trigger for a crisis of confidence.  

I mentioned that I really struggled with my imposter syndrome during the first 6 months of my career. Thankfully, by the end of my 12-month internship, the lessons learnt above left me feeling more confident and assured of myself than I had ever been before. I had done it – I had successfully completed my internship at Microsoft and been offered a grad role! 

After my internship in the UK, I went on to do a second at Microsoft in the USA. In my intern group, there were 3 interns from Harvard and everyone else seemed to be from Stanford, Carnegie Mellon… Basically all the top universities in the USA.  

Meanwhile, I went to a university that no one had heard of outside of the UK.  

It made me doubt myself and my intelligence – I could feel my Imposter Syndrome coming back.  

So, I stopped, reflected, and recognized what gave me an edge. I had over a year of international job experience and even shipped a product – that isn’t something most US interns could say.  

That internal acknowledgment is not there to make me feel superior, it is a recognition that I can bring experience and perspectives to the table that others may not have.  

And more than that, it is an appreciation that our stories are unique – the obstacles, opportunities, and motivations will be different from others.  

What makes me special and what I am passionate about is different from the next intern. It is the collection of our experiences that means we will be able to come together to fill each other’s gaps to build something designed with everyone in mind.  

Have confidence that you are capable and are making progress towards your OWN version of success. 

Once I started to own my journey, I was better able to identify gaps where I could apply my unique talents to create a greater impact on the company. 

Facing my Imposter Syndrome with curiosity and a positive mindset has helped get to know myself by, in some ways, forcing self-reflection. I learnt what is important to me, how I work best, areas I can grow, and how to recognize where my USPs could help myself and my company progress. 


Overcoming your imposter syndrome is an iterative process and one that may never go away. In my journey, every new phase of my life or career opportunity brought on a new form of my imposter. But we can learn to remove its control over us with conscious mindset changes and actions. 

Just remember, the most powerful, impactful change is going to come from within you.  


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