We're all Impostors


Casey Hunt


<- good luck with this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Sr. UX Developer, RetailMeNot


Not true. We met at a conference.


impostor syndrome:

defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.

proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.



Impostor feelings

Feeling like a fake
Attributing success to luck
Discounting success

"I am afraid people will find out how little I know."

"Right place, right time.

"It's not that big of a deal."

"I didn't really do much- it was mostly the team."

a hybrid said:

Cross-field impostor syndrome is the worst because I feel like I've pulled a fast one on everybody. [Developers] barely have the tools to evaluate this whole other field. I keep waiting for some designer to stand up during one of my talks and say "Um, quite frankly, all of this bullshit is nothing more than your opinion."

What's more, I often feel like I was given the stage by accident... So few are even given the opportunity. Am I doing my opportunity justice? Or did they waste a slot on me simply because I come from foreign fields and make pretty slide decks to illustrate my points?

"I am the champion of mediocrity"

- Adam Savage, Mythbusters
SXSW Interactive 2014

"the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease.

I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler."

- Albert Einstein

Neil Gaiman

Sonia Sotomayor

Emma Watson


2 out of 5

successful people consider themselves to be frauds


70 percent

Of all people feel like
 impostors at some point


High Achievers

Marginalized groups

Extremely common

for both demographic groups to 

doubt their abilities


there isn't one


All through my life I've had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, something big, even sinister, and no one would tell me what it was.

"No," said the old man, "that's just perfectly normal paranoia.

Everyone in the Universe has that."

- Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Coherence Therapy

Your brain isn't broken. You don't have a disorder or pathology.

Identify your triggers and disassemble them.


writing Therapy

You can't dismiss your accomplishments if you've written them down.

Remind yourself of your worth in your own words.

Moore, Lynda L. (1986). Not as Far as You Think: The Realities of Working Women.

hedonic Adaptation

What you have/achieved is quickly adapted to.

Stop focusing on what you need to have/do next.


practiced gratitude

Consistently manifesting gratitude for what you have/accomplished.

Believe you and your life are fan-fucking-tastic.


Hello, my name is Casey

I'm an impostor



By Day...

By night...

For Sale!

In Being All of These Things

I am None of these things.


(Fear Of Privilege Being The Reason I Am Where I Am Today)

Don't stop at
'thank you'

Thank you… 

That means a lot to me because

"i really admire your work."
"your style is just the coolest."
"you seem to have such confidence."

Be Open

ask for help

Be honest

Surround yourself with good people

Everything you say.

Everything you do.

It is valuable.

We're all Impostors

By Casey Hunt

We're all Impostors

Impostor Syndrome effects nearly all of us. Especially those of us that fancy ourselves hybrids. I can't fix you, but at least you won't feel alone.

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