Overcoming The Impostor Syndrome

by Jason Falls |

It takes a bit of ego to blog, write books, give speeches and the like. You have to have enough confidence in what you have to say to hang it out there because you’re opening yourself to criticism. But it’s human nature to have self-doubt. Regardless of how much you prepare, how smart you are or what brilliant revelation you unleash on the crowd, you’re always second-guessing yourself, even if just a bit.

When Jay Baer, Amber Naslund and I sat down to talk about The Now Revolution, they said they were relieved I liked the book. I knew where they were coming from. When I give talks in front of the two of them, or other contemporaries I consider über smart, I’m a nervous wreck. Amber pointed it out as the Impostor Syndrome. You’re irrationally afraid you’ll be found out as not smart, qualified, enlightening, etc.

Someone's an impostorIt’s that fear that drives some of us.

In March, I attended the Dachis Social Business Summit in Austin, Texas. With great presentations by outstanding intellectuals and thought leaders in business, not just social media, there was plenty of brain food on the buffet. While talks from J.P. Rangaswami from Salesforce.com and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research stood out, the thought that percolated for me was that these folks aren’t saying anything many of us don’t already know or believe. They’re saying it in unique ways and with nice research on the back end, sure. But even at an exclusive, high-thought-level event, I heard too much THAT we should be social as a business and very little HOW we do it … or help clients or executives cope with the stress of change if they’re uncomfortable with it.

Seems to me that in a room full of it-getters and believers, we’d hear less rah-rah and more how to implement, operationalize and create an environment for social business success. While Power of Pull author John Hagel did touch on his premise of small changes in the right places as the most effective way to fan the flames of organizational change, I didn’t takeaway how to look for the places to implement them, or examples of how the philosophy might work. I’m sure he’d tell me to buy the book.

Several weeks and dozens of conversations later, I’ve been able to find the takeaway from the Dachis event. It’s an important one and the same Jay and Amber took away from my reaction to their book.

We’re smarter than we think.

All of us.


About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).