On Becoming CTO

Blog / Is Imposter Syndrome Actually Good for You?

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Given my blog-pivot to my evolution into management, it feels right to open things up by shining a light on the concept of starting new things. I want to look at how I felt on my first day as a newly minted CTO. The elephant in the room is Imposter Syndrome.

You can downplay it, if you want. Sure, I'm the CTO but I'm also literally half of the company. There's nobody under me. Yet.

But consider this: I've yet to see a scenario that you could plausibly find yourself in where your imposter syndrome might actually turn out to be true.

  • New job? All of the people you interviewed with seem to think you're qualified!
  • First speaking engagement? You were chosen over probably hundreds of others.
  • Failed to reach a personal goal? You're ambitious and set challenging goals. No shame there.

You have real value, and your imposter syndrome is anxiety for a future that will probably never come. If you push through that anxiety and do the best you can, you'll probably find that you're doing a great job.

I'm starting to wonder if imposter syndrome is nothing more than a sign that you're pushing yourself to grow. A personal barometer for finding the edge of your comfort zone. If you frame it that way, it becomes a positive thing. A useful tool on your belt.

Imposter syndrome is real, and the way it makes you feel can really affect you. But just like stubbing a toe in the dark, if you choose to accept it and move on with your life, you'll still get to where you were going.