Overcoming Imposter Syndrom as a PM

Having good mental health is as important an asset to any PM as data skills and tech know-how. Impostor syndrome is the feeling of not being good enough, or that you’ve somehow blagged your way into your job. Don’t worry you’re not alone!

According to a report conducted in 2021, around 40% of Product Managers experience impostor syndrome frequently or all the time. With that, there are different types of imposter syndrome in product that range in sentiments around;

  1. “What I’m not good enough?”
  2. “What if my product isn’t good enough?” and so on…

How do you as a seasoned or even associate PM tackle impostor syndrome in your day-to-day? In what ways do you make sure your mental health is in check? Do you validate your ideas and next steps?

Here are some actionable steps that you can take to start overcoming self-doubt and impostor syndrome:

  • Talk to someone about how you feel
  • Ask your manager for a performance review
  • Set up a landing page for your side project

Do you have other ideas? Drop them below

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My two cents on this topic:

It all starts by recognizing the impostor thoughts and challenge it! Try to find out why you think this way and ask yourself if the thought of not being good enough might be wrong.

Also it’s important not to compare yourself to others. Stick to yourself and what YOU want and are capable of.

Finally you could help to visualize your successes by writing them down and review them regularly.

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I believe the best way is to actually do a “self roadmap”.

At least that’s what I’m doing myself.

I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m lacking, when I first started as a PM I could barely understand a database structure and my Figma skills were laughable at best, but I had solid documentation, risk management, and BPMN skills background and that was what pulled me through the first couple months.

Now I’m somewhat solid on both Figma and database, to the point I can contribute to the solution without relying exclusively on my team’s expertise. And I’m moving forward to roadmap skills and User Stories which was my previous best asset.

You’re the product, if you’re just starting to treat yourself as an MVP, after all, you got hired so you’re good enough for now.
Keep working on skills (treat those as features) as they’re being demanded, set priorities, and treat certificates and other achievements as Epics, you have to build up to that.
Get your peers’ feedback on what you’re lacking and treat those as User Feedback.

Imposter syndrome will only catch you if you think you’re immovable and defined. If you’re shapeless, adaptable you can deal with anything they throw at you. I’m not saying that this will make you immune to it, but it gets easier.

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