Thoughts on Imposter Syndrome, In summation; Imposter Syndrome is the consequence of poor support.

Imposter Syndrome is the consequence of poor support.

Now, that's quite simply put in 8 words but we are complex things and so it's not that simple is it?

Without assigning blame we can see a few scenarios that could be improved and where improvement ownership exists.

Someone might be so excited to start a new role that everything is exciting and yes, yes, yes let's go go go, that's sometimes infectious and hopefully, that energy stays on track but when people are climatising to new ways of working there is a vulnerability that can grow around these new processes being unknown and that unknown acquires a lot of peoples confidence until it's no longer unknown.

I love working with people who know and don't know stuff, you can trust that they will be the first to tell you 'I'm not sure but I'll have a go' and you can watch these people learn, do their best or flat out say 'nope, this is taking too much time away from me to upskill and I'll need extra real resource on this problem' - for those of you that know me and know that I'm usually working as an independent security consultant it's quite rare that I get to work in groups of like-minded professionals, I opted out of the consultancy mill around 2014.

It's only been in the past 12 months working with an absolute dream team of 'Cyber' professionals it occurred to me that while I can be pretty valuable as an individual InfoSec nomad, teamwork makes the dream work, or more relative teamwork makes sure the nightmares don't come true hah, you know who you are.

What can we do as individuals to limit this feeling getting its hooks in?

Treat it like a business problem, remove the emotion, and provide remediation, mitigating controls and maybe immutable logging of your efforts ( for retrospective security) - what that looks like and how it's executed is really a context-driven view

If we are clear on what we can do and what we are prepared to try the only outcomes are delivery and attempts, that is completely fine, being transparent and communicative about progress, failures bottlenecks and the problem journey

If we know we have a area we are less experienced in, that we are being tasked to attempt or deliver, be clear, highlight the consequences of a failed attempt, reiterate your comfort level and if you can recommend an external for support or even to enquire about pushing the task to those with more confidence in the subject matter and probably more time.

Sometimes, often we are given tasks or we jump at the chance for tasks in areas we have only theorised about, and when we are put to the task we knock it out of the park, but sometimes we're given tasks because there is no one else, and we often don't say no, we just internalise a lot of things and it makes for high-pressure low reward and that extra stress is often self-imposed. learn to say no, learn to say maybe, learn to ask for help. like all good relationships transparency and clear communication win.