On Impostor Syndrome

I’ve had a big week this past week and thought I’d share. I got a new job! I’ll be starting a new role within LinkedIn in Business Development. The role of the team is to create and scale partnerships and programs that enable LinkedIn product teams to maximize the value that LinkedIn delivers to its members and customers. The team helps create ecosystem strategies, execute partnerships, and manage these partnerships and programs.

Sounds awesome right?!

The support I’ve received over the past week has been remarkable. Friends and colleagues reaching out, the VP of the division posting on LinkedIn, and getting a warm welcome in our first official team meeting. It honestly feels overwhelming. It has been almost a year and a half of building relationships, side projects, and interviewing for this role to finally earn a spot on the team.

Despite the external objective “success”, a number of insecurities have arisen since I’ve gotten the job. I wanted to write about one of those insecurities and how I’m thinking about overcoming it. I plan on using this blog as a space to be fully authentic with you, the reader, because most of our lives we only share our highlights.

Am I as I good as I’ve been saying I am?

Going through interview is similar to a sales process. As an interviewee, you must seek to understand the team’s pain points and adapt your “pitch” accordingly. Whether through structuring your stories well, asking the right questions, or following up via email, a lot of going through an interview process seems like a sales process.

The biggest insecurity that was triggered over this past week is doubt over whether I believed my own sales pitch. Some would call this “imposter syndrome” defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. 

How am I working through this?

  1. Be genuine early on. Despite the storytelling mentioned above, I was always honest with my strengths and opportunities for growth. This occured mostly through coffee chats with the hiring manager and folks on the team, where we were able to get to know each other as individuals, trust one another, and each share genuinely where we were at.
  1. Talk about your feelings. I know there are others who feel this way as well, because I’ve been openly speaking about this. Having close friends to share these feelings with is so important -moreso for you to understand how you feel about the situation itself. 
  1. Focus on intentions and be kind to yourself. We all have high expectations for ourselves. It’s important to take some time, recognize how far you’ve come, and appreciate yourself for all of that hard work you’ve done. After this, reorienting yourself to be focused on the intention of what you do rather than the outcome, has been a helpful mental tool to work through these insecurities. For example, if I want to do well in this role, I could set a goal for myself (an outcome) of getting promoted in x amount of time. Focusing too much on this outcome will inevitably impact the intention of that same activity. I believe it’s better to focus rather on the intention, i.e. what are you doing every single day, that leads to eventual success, than to focus on the success itself as the goal. It gives me a level of peace to know that everyday I’ll work hard, meet great people, and learn a ton. With that as the intention, the goals will come, the objectives will be hit, but they were not your number one focus. 

In summary

If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout these past few years is that everyone is dealing with their own stuff – despite the role, titles, status they may hold. No matter the age, no matter the external success, we are all simply trying to do our best. Acknowledging this in others can help you build more empathy for yourself as well.

One thought on “On Impostor Syndrome

  1. This is so thoughtful Jay! We are so excited to have you on the team. I think it’s clear that you will have plenty to contribute and we have so much to learn from each other. Thanks for sharing.

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