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We all can admit that at some point in life we have struggled with Impostor Syndrome and PPCers are no different. In this week’s session, Julie F Bacchini tries to find out how impostor syndrome is affecting experts, how do they cope, have they found any resources that are helpful in combating this, and more.

Q1: Do you ever suffer from some version of Impostor Syndrome?

Yes, I do suffer from Impostor Syndrome sometimes. @NeptuneMoon

Yep! When I was more in account management, it used to be this notion that I just wasn’t good at my job. Now, I’m leading a team and it’s the notion that I’m not a good leader. @adwordsgirl

Oh, absolutely. @jennifer_lash

Only every single day I show up for work…getting it about even being involved in. @JonKagan

Ever time I try to write a bio for a conference, or when I judge an awards ceremony I get writers block because I hate writing words that people might pick apart. @jimbanks

Me when someone might figure out how deeply wrong it was to ever listen to me. @JuliaVyse

No. Too arrogant. It’s a problem. @360vardi

All the time. And then the temptation is to worry that perhaps I’m simply mistaken with labeling it as Imposter Syndrome, and what if it’s actually Dunning-Kruger… and then it’s 4x Imposter Syndrome, ha! @PPCKirk

On days when we struggle to crack an ad account. Have to give myself a little pep talk and know we can not help everyone nor can we make ever account work. @duanebrown

I don’t actually get this very much. I’d say in my long career it may have manifested more in feeling the need to over-achieve, not really beating myself up for being ‘good enough. @ynotweb

Yes, but mainly in topics that I don’t have a ton of experience in. I’ve really gained most of confidence in my paid search experience in the past couple years. @ValenciaSEM

From Day 1 till now. It’s like an annoying involuntary maths equation – the more people believe in me = the less I believe I’m myself! @TheMarketingAnu

I appreciate you posting the wikipedia summary bc I don’t relate to the “fraud” aspect (fear of being exposed) as it’s commonly discussed. But I def attribute my “successes” to luck when I have to talk/think about them (despite working hard for those achievements) @akaEmmaLouise

Sometimes, but I’m such a numbers person that I can usually talk myself out of it by looking at the performance I’ve driven. #ppcchat Me calculating my worth. @FindingAmanda

Sometimes. Especially when dealing with a vertical or market where I have less experience in. But I try and remember all the bad accounts i’ve seen by other “well known” agencies. @Realicity

All the time. Especially when I’m on a losing streak with sales or account results. It’s a big part of the downward spiral at times. #ppcchat (late to the party here) @armondhammer

Q2: Are there particular situations that you’ve noticed tend to bring it out for you?

Public industry trade forums. @JonKagan

Large presentations most often. @PPCGreg

When writing bio’s never know if I use the first person and whether it’s ok to use words like “guru” “expert” Self proclaimed or otherwise I don’t like it. @jimbanks

Use to be when I was a cocky little Canadian and “could predict” how account performance would go. Duane’s 20 were awful. Now it’s more if something is not clicking and I struggle on an ad account. @duanebrown

Continued Platform changes hit hard. You can be an expert in something that changes on a whim, & suddenly a newb knows where to find this/that button in the UI while you’re lost… and you feel like your years of experience is down the drain. @PPCKirk

It tends to happen at random for me. If I’m looking at particular work or doing a talk I can focus on the task, but day to day at work it’s like, why did they hire my dumbass? @JuliaVyse

When I’m around other people I consider experts. @ynotweb

For me, it is often when I’m pitching or prepping for a speaking engagement. Or when I’m working on something that is not as familiar for me. But also, could hit at a pretty random moment? @NeptuneMoon

Mostly in doing consultant work or when I don’t know the background of the person I’m talking to. I start to second guess myself or fall back on “it depends” situations. @ValenciaSEM

When I’m working on a project where other stakeholders don’t have experience in paid media in order to gut check me, so I’m in a position where I’m making all final calls. @AllyQuilty_MKTG

For me it’s mostly when I’m around peers I consider to be experts and when discussing things I have less experience in…I get the feeling that there are other “better” people to be speaking about things than me. @jennifer_lash

Talking to people who have (or at least exude) a LOT of confidence is the biggest trigger for me. Esp when I don’t agree/see things differently. Makes it hard to believe I actually know anything, and maybe everything I’ve learned/experienced is wrong? @akaEmmaLouise

Honestly, it’s something that occurs most days. There’s no one particular trigger. @adwordsgirl

My imposter syndrome is strongest with new clients and setting up tracking…that scary time before the numbers are trustworthy. @FindingAmanda

Mostly public speaking, interacting on social media or even sending an email. If I’ve putting myself out there & there is a medium for the recipient to feedback – I’m there checking my phone or looking out every 2mins to see when that dreaded feedback will come. @TheMarketingAnu

I try to console myself by validating that my lived experiences are real and the learnings associated with them are also legitimate. Someone else’s lived experiences can also be real and valid without invalidating my own! @akaEmmaLouise

When things aren’t going well operationally, I wildly fluctuate between Mr. Pink’s “professional” attitude and “Oh god, I’m the problem” @ferkungamaboobo

Sales. It takes a bit of swaggy to do sales well, and that isn’t my natural mode. I tend to be self-deprecating. So forcing myself to “brag” really makes me feel kinda sus. @armondhammer

Q3: How does Impostor Syndrome manifest for you? Does it make you feel a certain way? Or do or not do certain things?

Makes me second guess a choice in that account that is not working. Then I remember all the ad account we have one awesome work on. I ask myself, if things were going well. What would I do. I keep trying until something cracks….or we hit 90 days on an ad account. @duanebrown

I rewrite things a ton of times instead of just accepting it is what it is and if someone calls you on something then who cares. @jimbanks

I’d say this holds me back from larger speaking gigs- the more people, the more I feel the need to over-prepare, i.e. “What if someone asks a question that stumps me?!” Its too stressful and not worth it! LOL @ynotweb

Mostly it just makes me keep my mouth shut in group settings, but also makes me obsessively check for responses/feedback when I do put myself out there. @jennifer_lash

For me it will crank up anxiety, and all of the lovely feelings that come with that for sure. If it is speaking thing I might think “no one really wants to hear me talk about this” or for client work worrying that what I’m doing/telling them to do is all wrong. @NeptuneMoon

Ooh yes, in the most inconvenient ways and times! my hands start shaking and if i need to speak i hear my voice shaking (even when it didn’t). I also unfortunately tend to notice more all the people who are “not paying attention”. @TheMarketingAnu

I try to think of all the awful accounts I’ve seen managed by big agencies and that usually helps me not dwell on it too much. Thankful to have clients that care about me and really are kind. Definitely lucky as it makes the hard performance times easier. @markpgus

Mostly it leads to inaction (i.e. being quiet in convos, not tweeting/commenting, etc). When it comes to speaking engagements/pitches, I used to overshoot my actual expertise in order to “prove” that I had something valuable to share and was worth selecting to speak. @akaEmmaLouise

Procrastination. Definitely procrastination. @AndrewCMiller

For me it manifests in a certainty. a complete dread that I have or am about to, break and ruin everything. @JuliaVyse

My imposter syndrome makes me generally anxious and I find myself putting off tasks related to finding new clients. I’m trying to hold myself accountable to goals so I can’t weasel my way out of it. @FindingAmanda

Sometimes it turns into a bit of procrastination. @AllisonMiriani

Fortunately, I discovered that approach was too anxiety-inducing so now I only talk about topics I feel comfortable with (i.e. thought of Q&A isn’t intimidating) and trust that it will be valuable to SOME attendees, even if not groundbreaking for all of them. @akaEmmaLouise

For me, it manifests in procrastination and a lot of negative talk in my head. @adwordsgirl

I freeze up and focus on what isn’t working, leading to my mantra of “reward the good” being useless because “nothing is good” and “it’s because I don’t know what I’m doing” Even though I look back and see that often, I’ve flagged the issue as a potential challenge. @ferkungamaboobo

Talking to people that are overly confident on topics I believe to be incorrect sometimes has me start to second guess myself. It’s especially hard if they’re upper management. @ValenciaSEM

It’s a motivation sapper in a big way. I’ve been known to just jump on a game for a bit to get a bit of that good feeling, but I know it’s vapid and not really fixing things. Which makes me feel like more of an imposter. spiral. @armondhammer

Q4: How do you cope with a bout of Impostor Syndrome?

I just keep moving and make sure I’m being thorough in my approach/rationale. I have found at times it does push me to work harder! @AllyQuilty_MKTG

Take a deep breath. Remind myself that things that are easy or obvious to me, are not necessarily to others. And, that I have been doing this for a long time and I do know what I’m doing. Also, I triple check stuff and/or ask a friend for a 2nd opinion. @NeptuneMoon

Take a deep breath and calm tf down. Then look at it as learning opportunities to research/dig into the things I’m less confident about to build confidence. Surrounding myself with supportive peers to ask questions and learn from has also been a huge positive impact. @jennifer_lash

Bounce ideas off a co-worker. @AllisonMiriani

@FindingAmanda mentioned data earlier, which is always a useful place to start. Remember or look at things you’ve actually accomplished and don’t minimize the fact that you did actually accomplish them. @akaEmmaLouise

This too shall pass. @ynotweb

I try to focus on something I think I am good at for a bit (I’m lucky in that I rarely feel bad about everything all at once) @RichardFergie

I like to look at specific wins or projects I’m proud of. and when that doesn’t work, I sort of decide ‘well, they need me to do this, so I better do it, even if someone else would be better.’ very Joseph Campbell hero’s journey. @JuliaVyse

We all need a pep talk and a cheerleader. Something I try to instill in our team. It’s ok to fail and get back up. I have to tell myself that includes me. Everything won’t be a home run. @duanebrown

It probably sounds a bit geeky, but I run everything through Hemingway Editor (on a Mac) it turns a lot of the words into the right context and eliminates words that are fluff. @jimbanks

One of the best ways for me is to update those stats on my resume. The client that was up 200% – well now it’s 213%, which means I’m doing something right. The client whose site speed dropped, that led to X% more conversions YOY now that I have the data. @ferkungamaboobo

Small Steps and Little Things. I’m not, we’re not, no one, is a Superhero, so understanding that is important. Also, Neil Patel. Not to throw shade, but he built himself a high reputation in SEO and likely used others work to do so…@Realicity

As simple as it sounds – deep breaths. And consciously making sure i am not rushing what i am saying or writing. And yes to @ynotweb – “THIS TOO SHALL PASS” is a constant help as well. Got it on my phone’s background. @TheMarketingAnu

Humility is also a useful antidote for me. Talking to people I trust to verify my thinking. Reminding myself I don’t have to be perfect or infallible to be useful/impactful/worthwhile. Continuing to learn and study and grow. Being okay with not knowing it all. @akaEmmaLouise

Look at my past accomplishments and let my results speak for themselves. @ValenciaSEM

Take a step back. Go get some boujee take out and think about all the other great accounts/experiences I’ve had. The impressive people that know my skill set well and think highly of me or have brought me along from company to company. @markpgus

I haven’t quite found a solution that works all the time but lately I’ve been using affirmations to help keep my head clear. @adwordsgirl

There’s one more antidote in our biz that I think all of us can relate to. Open that email, we all have 1, from the client explaining how they read a blog post once & now can do this better than you. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to better than that. @JuliaVyse

I also find a lot of comfort in knowing how much content I consume. While there is no doubt that someone could approach an account differently and maybe they have more success, I’m confident in knowing what people are doing and in my decisions. Just remember. @markpgus

Find your “squad” where you can text or DM and get a sanity check. I find that so helpful and am happy to do that for others. We all need it sometimes! @NeptuneMoon

I’d also say diversifying your sources of happiness is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. This extends further than media buying. Work, a relationship, a hobby. While they can carry serious weight putting 100% of happiness/self worth in a single basket is dangerous. @markpgus

If I were to say how I PROPERLY cope it would be different. What I need to do is dive into accounts or other tasks and get real success. Just one little check box starts to help. Blinders toward work. It’s what I need. @armondhammer

Q5: Are there any resources you’ve found that are helpful in combating Impostor Syndrome?

Found no resources – but eager to change that right now. @TheMarketingAnu

Best resources a I’ve found are past accomplishments and building blocks: Blog posts, client results, speaking gigs, trusted industry peers that you share insights back and forth. @Realicity

I rather test the knowledge than the syndrome. For that reason I am always “learning” stuff on Coursera, Facebook Blueprint, LinkedIn Learning I don’t feel I NEED to prove I know a topic and even if I know a topic, there might be context that helps me learn it more. @jimbanks

Perspective and just talking with friends in the industry. Also clients who sometimes will just let chat and or vent about business stuff. @duanebrown

I wouldn’t say I’ve found particular resources for this issue, but therapy overall helped me with this. sort of a rising tide lifts all boats situation. Getting tools to deal with overwhelming situations is a sound investment. @JuliaVyse

I don’t have a particular resource to share, but will reiterate my last answer and that is, find a support system to help you through the most doubtful of times. I hope this community helps with that. But even just 1 person to ground you can make all the difference! @NeptuneMoon

Well here’s a fantastic resource. Thanks @jimbanks!! @TheMarketingAnu

This chat, friends/colleagues, and (as corny as this will sound) reading my LinkedIn recommendations and emails from clients praising me for my work. @ValenciaSEM

Wasn’t inspired by impostor syndrome (rather, my poor memory and the cadence of annual reviews) but I created an “affirmations” folder on my work computer where I screenshot praise/accomplishments as they occur so I can revisit those successes later. @akaEmmaLouise

Not resources for this in particular, but strategies for dealing with stress/anxiety in general help me and also talking to people I trust to bounce my thoughts off of and get outside confirmation from. @jennifer_lash

I know I’m probably going to sound insane but I have this tendency to talk to myself when I get super stressed out. It helps sometimes. Also, talking to friends and my team. @adwordsgirl

I got nothing. Just recommend starting with small steps to build confidence. Just not too small. @ynotweb

@markpgus is the best cheerleader/hype guy I know. @akaEmmaLouise

I am reading this book right now and it addresses imposter syndrome. @marieforleo always pumps me up!… @FindingAmanda

Also, just writing things out…putting my reasoning/plans on paper so I can look at it without it being all jumbled in my head helps make it more objective and less about me. @jennifer_lash

I recommend anything by @JenSincero especially this little gem:… @FindingAmanda

This is actually a great resource. There’s a long story to this, but the punchline is that my kid told me “it feels good to do the right thing” I look for someplace to help, and it’s often right here. @armondhammer

Q6: Most of us are terrible at helping ourselves with this kind of thing, but what would you say to someone else who was experiencing Impostor Syndrome to help them get past it in that moment?

I name the accuser. So I can actually say out loud, “shut up Chad, this is a good idea, and I know it is because xyz” apologies to kind chads out there, but it’s super helpful to make the abstract tangible and deal with it on your terms. @JuliaVyse

Remember my constant cheerleaders and what they’ve said about what i do. I also have this amazing note where in this group of friends everyone had a piece of paper and it got shared around and we said something nice about the name of the person at the top of the page. @TheMarketingAnu

I still have mine and it always makes me smile. I’d say do that with a group of friends!! @TheMarketingAnu

As long as you genuinely mean it, tell people what you think of them. A well-placed compliment, that is warranted, is such a great thing to receive, so know that giving someone else one will make them feel the same way But if it’s not true don’t say it. @jimbanks

I would start by saying “you do know how to do this and stop letting X make you feel like you don’t.” Also, just validating the feeling of uncertainty and then flipping back to all of their awesomeness that way outweighs any of that doubt. @NeptuneMoon

Shut up Chad, this problem is solvable and this is a good idea. @JuliaVyse

Someone told me one time “you are where you are for a reason” and that’s helped as sort of a mantra for me for many situations to remember my hard work and value, I wouldn’t be working with/for people I see as experts if they didn’t also see some promise/value in me. @jennifer_lash

I will never forget what an old colleague told me when I was laid off unexpectedly early in my career: “You know your shit. You will be fine.” and I’ve told many others this as well.  @ValenciaSEM

I tend to constantly remind my friends how amazing I think they are and everything that they’ve achieved at a relatively young age. They should be proud of that. @adwordsgirl

You know what you’ve done and you deserve to be where you are. In fact, there are so many WORSE people out there making more money, having a more significant role, etc and you deserve more. If they got it WHY NOT YOU! @markpgus

If there’s a challenge it’s knowing that others are suffering. The next point of @jimbanks point is that offering genuine compliments should be done regularly and without seeking them in return. You’ll never know when someone needs to hear something. @armondhammer

I like to encourage the women in my office to look at the last 12 months and identify something they’re really proud of to reflect on and share. Can be work, could be anything. @JuliaVyse

Acknowledge your feelings, don’t just suppress or hide from or ignore them. Get them out—either by talking to someone or journalling or just saying them out loud. Then do something you know you can do (make a sandwich, sing a song, go for a walk, whatever) to recupe. @akaEmmaLouise

Q7: Is it helpful to know that you are not the only one who sometimes feels this way? Do you like having these more existential chats from time to time?

I love having these kinds of chats! But less to know others feel this way (I have good internet communities that aren’t afraid of vulnerability) but more to remind myself that I feel this way. And it’s okay to acknowledge it. @akaEmmaLouise

Love chats like this! <3  @FindingAmanda

I think knowing it exists is HUGEEEE. I love that everyone is so open and it’s acceptable to talk about. The fact that I see people talking about it a lot helps me combat those thoughts quicker and more effectively. @markpgus

It is helpful! PPC is hard enough without negativity. Being too hard on ourselves only holds us back. I’m fortunate to work on an amazing team that lifts each other up but I realize many aren’t. Find that team or be that team member! @AndrewCMiller

Yes and yes. @JuliaVyse

I do. I think at some point we should discuss Dunning-Kruger and how we as an industry can call it out in a non-threatening way. I’ve seen a ton of toxicity over on Clubhouse because of DK and its polarised opinions really quickly. @jimbanks

Sort of? Not really? Easy to say “well that person is in the weeds and having a rough day” it’s much harder to say “I’m just in the weeds and not completely out of my depth lol look at the little boy typing on his little keyboard, thinking he knows anything.” @ferkungamaboobo

I do like these kinds of chats! I like the perspective it provides and think it’s just healthy to acknowledge that those feelings exist and talk about how to approach them. @jennifer_lash

I do like having these existential conversations but I don’t necessarily find comfort in the fact that other people feel the same way. @adwordsgirl

Absolutely. It’s great to see some of the big names on here that regularly speak at conferences feel the same way as some of us lowly conference attendees. @ValenciaSEM

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