Takeaways for tackling Imposter’s Syndrome with Sahana Sekaran, Director of EU North for Contentsquare

Notes from the imitable Hannah Silverstein.

Fake it till you make it is some of the worst advice you can give to people 

Repeat it until you believe it. 

Repeat it until you believe it is all about being yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy but also a solid route to imposters syndrome. Instead, taking a moment to appreciate YOU and what you can do better than anyone else: that’s magic.

  • Embrace that, be your true self, giving it your all. 
  • Stop trying to be like someone else. Being someone else will make you feel MORE unlike you. You have to get comfortable with yourself
  • What’s your edge? A 5-minute exercise to describe what makes you great, and so good at your job.
  • Managers: Just talk about it. Everyone experiences it. Talk about it. 


Learn that you earned it.

How many of us feel like it’s just dumb luck that we ended up where we are? It’s easy to make that assumption.

Instead, taking a moment to step back and think… “you know what, I earned this through hard work” – that’s huge.

Sahana recommended:

  • Add positivity in your day. Congratulate yourself. Write it down, share it with someone 
  • Appreciate what got you to now. The things YOU did to get you there. Write it down.
  • Share your knowledge. Share with other people what you know. Present, share, have conversations.
  • Managers: nail feedback, positive feedback. Not just the constructive stuff. 


3 pieces of advice for feedback:

  1. Make sure the person is prepared for feedback. Ask them if it’s the right time for feedback. Unless it’s positive feedback. Don’t hold back with that, just give it there and then always lots.
  2. Use the three-step feedback method: tell them their value, give them the example, tell them how that made you feel.
    • For example: “James you have amazing leadership qualities, your team sing your praises, and that makes me feel so proud that I have someone like that in my team.” This will transform your feedback.
  3. PR the shit out of your team, reputation is the new confidence. People find it hard to should about themselves, so as a manager, you should make it a habit to share it with people. Shout about them. Encourage your team to post about it. 


Practice it until you perfect it. 

Practice, practice, practice. If you have a talk that you’re nervous about, practice it! Same goes for almost anything. Practice it to the point of almost boredom!

Sahana recommended:

  • Train yourself to say yes to scary things more often: practice practice practice. Practice on someone. Peak it out loud in words, use someone’s ears. Have a go on a task that isn’t on your job description. If you want to learn about something, ask. Reach out to people on linkedin, ask for help.
  • Acknowledge that your brain says no before you do
  • Ask yourself three questions:
    • Am I doing this alone?
    • What’s the worst that can happen really?
    • What’s the best that can happen?
  • Say yes to things! You will start to love it.  Just saying yes to things, and being brave with it is great, say yes and worry about it later
  • Managers: Ask don’t tell. Don’t be a parent. Get them to ask questions, get them to come up with solutions. Don’t tell them. Be their cheerleader. Encourage, motivate.
  • With my team, I take people for half an hour, challenge them with something new, encourage them to try in a safe space. Help them say yes without the pressure.

The 30 days of Good Habits Challenge

(available as a PDF download here)

30 Days of Good Habits Challenge