Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Who do you think you are? How imposter syndrome impacts UX professionals

This week I attended the UXPA event about imposter syndrome. It was a bit different from normal, no rush across London to find the event and then the late train home, but a more leisurely walk up the stairs to watch from my laptop and finished in time to celebrate our key workers.

We had two really great speakers to listen to in Jo Franchetti and Chevy Rough.

Jo spoke first on Perfectionism, Imposter Syndrome and Anxiety.

First she gave us an example of how these three things could be impacting our lives and what could happen if we do not do something about it.

She then got into the details of what each thing is and how to deal with it.

Imposter syndrome - you probably think you do not deserve whatever success you have had, or that you have got there by accident. You can not believe your colleagues do not know and might not ask for help fearing you will give yourself away.

Perfectionism - you set impossible standards, setting yourself up to fail. You do not know how to start or finish your project - you can not find the perfect way.

Anxiety - it is normal to feel it sometimes but it becomes a problem if you are feeling anxious all the time.

So what can you do?

  • You have to learn to be kind to yourself. This take time and practice.
  • Recognise the bad thought patterns and start to act on them. Follow your thoughts through to their logical conclusion.
  • Accept that you are good enough.
  • Take time to reflect - focus on facts not assumptions.
  • Learn how to self soothe.
  • And lastly change where we look for validation - look for internal validation not external.

Next up was Chevy talking about Burnout in the Creative Industry.

He blew our minds to start with by telling us that chess masters can burn 6000 calories during a game! The energy needed by their minds to play at that level while just sitting there!

He talked us through the principles of wellbeing - Stress; Rest and Energy.

Stress - not all stress is bad - it is how we grow, how we get better, but too much stress is bad.

Rest - there are different levels of rest from sleeping to walking in the woods. Rest is when we get stronger.

Energy - 20% of the calories go straight to the brain! So if you do not have enough energy you are going to find focusing and self control hard too.

It is only by being aware of these things that you can start to do something about them.

These were two brilliant talks, this post does not do them justice, which I found very relevant, and I think many people watching also found useful.

If we do not look after ourselves we cannot be our best selves whether that is doing great work or being fully present when with our loved ones.

Learning to be kind to ourselves and talking about the issues we are facing are things we need to learn to do and encourage in our teams.

I have to thank both speakers for being so honest with the stories they shared. I am so glad we still got to have this event even in these unusual times.

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