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Ladybug Podcast

Three Tips for Managing Impostor Syndrome

Ali Spittel
Passionate about education, Python, JavaScript, and code art.
Updated on ・2 min read

Have you ever been scared to contribute to a conversation or publish a blog post because you were worried you weren’t qualified enough? Wondered how you got to the point you’re at in your career because you feel you don’t belong? Or that you’re a fraud? You’re not alone! So many developers encounter imposter syndrome, no matter their career stage.

This week on the Ladybug Podcast, we discussed our strategies for managing impostor syndrome. Here's a summary!

Tracking your Wins

When you have career wins, like solving a difficult problem, having a positive review, or somebody saying something nice about you, write those wins down, take a screenshot of an email, whatever it might be, and create a folder on your computer. Having that is so helpful on bad days when your impostor syndrome is acting up. You can go through them and be like "Okay, I actually do really great work. So this, this will pass."

This is also a great strategy for keeping track of negotiation points for raise and promotions!

Another great post on this topic:

Focus on your journey

Stop comparing yourself with others! It's so tempting to look at what other people are doing and to wish you were where they're at. People tend to think that everybody’s starting from the same place, and they’re definitely not. They tend to only see the good side, not the struggles those people overcame to get to where they're at. But, only compare yourself to where you were yesterday.

Be open about it

Most people are going through impostor syndrome in some form or another whether you have two years of experience, or you have 20 years of experience. It is always going to rear its ugly head in some form. Being open about that fact and discussing your struggles allows others to relate to where you’re at, and it normalizes that struggle.

For example, here's Kelly's journey with impostor syndrome:

You can listen to the whole imposter syndrome episode anywhere you listen to podcasts, or on our website!

Discussion (21)

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simonswiss profile image
Simon Vrachliotis 🏄🏀💻😍

Started teaching advanced level React training workshops for senior teams in a very large company, and I have been consumed by negative thoughts in the last couple of months.

Realistically, I am probably less experienced with React than a large portion of my audience, so the thoughts are somewhat justified..

BUT, and I must remember this, I was chosen to run these workshops for other reasons: a friendly, positive personality. Empathy. The fact that I used to be a school teacher.

This post reminds me to focus on those positive factors to cheer myself up, so... thank you! 🤗

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codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne • Edited

Awesome, practical list. Remembering that you do awesome things is crucial.

See also my in-depth article about the origins of impostor syndrome and how I deal with it.

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danjconn profile image
Dan Conn

Great points and it was an awesome episode. Thanks for tackling such an important subject.

I still get imposter syndrome despite having 23 years code experience and 7 years commercial full time experience.

I've got better at dealing with it, but it still comes back now and then.

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syntopikyle profile image
Kyle Walsh

Thanks for this write-up. Imposter Syndrome can be so tough to manage! I've had my ups and downs related to it, so a distilled list like this to reference when its a slump is a really helpful formalization.

One of the worst-feeling experiences of recent memory for me was sharing with a superior in a 1-1 setting the feelings of imposter syndrome, and the response being disgust and the reply "maybe it's true, then? Imposter Syndrome is a weakness and and a problem". That definitely hit me pretty hard, but falling back on wins and remembering things I've done well in the past was how I got over that initial horrible-feeling gut punch.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I just referenced this on the article I published. Great write up!

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel Author

Awesome, thank you so much!

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prelias profile image
Paulo Roberto Elias

Very nice tips

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erikwhiting88 profile image
Erik W

Thanks for writing this and for always being so open. This is definitely a hard thing to talk about sometimes, so articles and podcasts like this are always so helpful and appreciated.

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel Author

Oh totally! It's something I've battled with a ton, and I think it helps everyone if I'm honest about that. Same with the other hosts :)

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sebbdk profile image
Sebastian Vargr

All the best devs are imposters. :)

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seankilleen profile image
Sean Killeen

Thanks for the shout out! :) Happy you found the post useful, and I hope it helps others feel less like an imposter.

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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel Author

Such an awesome post, thanks for writing it!

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar • Edited

Great post!

Here is my favorite tip above all:

Be a Rockstar Developer

There is nothing worse than developers deceiving themselves that it's just a syndrome when they're actually not good.

If they ain't be able to create apps, they should start learning.

If they can't build simple products, they should be getting used to starting their own products.

There is nothing wrong with admitting weak points and working on them.

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lkopacz profile image
Lindsey Kopacz

Why are you using "he" here?

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emmabostian profile image
Emma Bostian ✨

Agreed, should be he/she/they :)

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar • Edited

Hmmm I don't get your point... but, that's what we were taught at school, to use "he" when referring to an unknown third person.

Is there a better way to refer to an unknown person?

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emmabostian profile image
Emma Bostian ✨

You can say "they" :)

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yaser profile image
Yaser Al-Najjar

Been edited 🙂

I just looked that up and understood that it's related to gender inclusive lang issues...

Sorry for not being aware of those (before), and thanks for letting me know.

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emmabostian profile image
Emma Bostian ✨

Thank you! :D