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Overcoming a CTO's Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome – it's often associated with newcomers in the tech world, those taking their first steps in their careers. But what people don't often talk about is how senior developers, managers, and even executives can experience this nagging doubt. I'm no exception, I've faced my share of triggers.

Interviewing or managing older professionals used to set off my imposter alarm. It's natural to question if you truly belong in that room, especially when you're younger or less experienced. But here's the thing – you do belong. Age and experience don't define your worth.

Public speaking is another battleground for imposter syndrome. The fear of saying something foolish in front of an audience can be paralyzing. But here's a truth: most people in the crowd won't notice your mistakes because they're too preoccupied with their own concerns. So, don't be afraid to speak up.

Transitioning from a hands-on engineer to a manager can be daunting. One piece of advice that helped me was realizing that as a manager, my role shifted. I'm no longer a player on the field but a coach. I'm not here to score goals myself, but to ensure the team succeeds. Hiring experienced developers and positioning myself as a guide rather than a star player made this transition smoother.

Another strategy is understanding that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It's not about being better in every aspect; it's about recognizing that you bring valuable expertise to the table, just like everyone else. It's a two-way street of learning and growth.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect is acknowledging that you played a significant role in creating the company. Your vision and leadership brought the team together. This realization is tough to swallow, but it's essential. It's a reminder that you're not an imposter; you're the driving force behind the venture.

Lastly, as leaders, we must be open about our imposter syndrome. Sharing our own struggles can build trust and confidence within the team. It shows that imposter syndrome is something everyone faces, regardless of their position.

So, let's embrace the imposter within us. Instead of trying to banish it, let's learn to coexist with it. It's a journey of growth, learning, and becoming authentic leaders, imperfections and all.

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