Episode 51: Imposter Syndrome with Joep Piscaer


December 8th, 2020

34 mins 23 secs

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About this Episode

This week we welcome Joep Piscaer, who has grown his career by moving up the ranks in a technical organization, from sys admin to CTO, and now is an independent consultant focused on creating content in the devops space.

Throughout his career, Joep has struggled with Imposter Syndrome, and despite numerous indications to the contrary, he has had to work on how to control his impulses to hold himself back. We invited him on for this very open conversation to help listeners understand that imposter syndrome can happen to any and all of us.

Joep’s definition of Imposter Syndrome is “the feeling that you’re not as good as the people around you”. He realized that he compares his life with other people’s Instagram lives, and has learned how to use his imposter syndrome to drive success. Imposter Syndrome rears its head when you’re asked to be an authority. Joep knows that when he’s doing something new, he’s going to feel that Imposter voice.

When he hears that Imposter message in his head, Joep now leans in to do the thing. So if he’s worried about going to a conference, he goes. And then he writes down all the compliments he gets and reads them to fight off the negativity. His hope is that by reading positivity, it will combat the negativity.

Joep teaches about giving compliment; they’re not all created equal! Make compliments specific, timely, and show that you’re paying attention to the person you’re complimenting. We compare Joep’s compliments to the Nurtured Heart parenting approach, both to show people when they are seen., but also, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. False compliments are the worst!

Learning to give compliments helps with receiving them, but sometimes it’s not easy. Joep still struggles. He writes them down to take the emotion out and make it into words, which are easier to absorb. No matter what’s happening in your head when you get a compliment, the best response is always, “thank you”.

We all have an internal measuring stick, and people with Imposter Syndrome have unrealistic measuring sticks. Joep talks about shifting it a tiny bit every day, and how that will help you retrain your brain and your measuring stick. Our bodies react to imposter syndrome as well, and Joep recommends physical activity and getting away from the technology or social sites that make you feel like an imposter.

Joep fought imposter syndrome with drones; he started flying his drones and learned to get better at it over time. He’s now learning to cook and he’s exploring getting better at things as hobbies, where the stakes are not as big as in his career. When he saw himself pushing himself to be the best at his hobbies, he challenged himself to pull back and just enjoy the learning and process of doing the activity. And in his hobbies, practicing at failing in is one of the keys!

When you feel like an imposter, being vulnerable with yourself and others is even more difficult. Joep says that vulnerability is about knowing what you need and when you need it. Joep now works with a coach. and we talk with him aboout learning to practicie vulnerability without destroying trust. Joep also relied on his Board of Advisors to help him explore vulnerability without feeling too vulnerable.

Joep Piscaer on Twitter: @jpiscaer
Joep’s NextBuild talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl21zya4i0g