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What’s New with Humu—October 2019 Edition

Written by Liz Fosslien

Do you secretly suspect that you’re not good enough to be doing your job? Or that if you took on a more visible role, your coworkers would quickly discover that you’re a fraud?

You’re not alone. Over two thirds of people will experience this kind of self-doubt, known as imposter syndrome, at some point in their careers, especially when they’re going through a transition (think starting a new job or stepping into a more senior position).

If everything above resonates, take comfort: research led by our People Scientist Jen Brown found that there are no—that’s right, zero—objective differences between “imposters” and “non-imposters.” When it comes to promotion rates, ability to become a leader, and performance scores, people who secretly worry they are inept do just as well as their more confident peers.

So the next time you start to second-guess your skills, try these scientifically-backed steps to remind yourself: You got this.

Remember it’s normal to have doubts

Knowing that lots of competent people question their abilities can help you feel less alone, and realize your negative thoughts are not necessarily accurate assessments of reality. If any of your colleagues also experience imposter syndrome, consider starting an imposter support group, which research suggests can alleviate anxieties.

Don’t compare 

When we measure ourselves against others, we often end up comparing our failures to their successes–and of course a gap will exist between the two. Instead of focusing on what someone else is doing, spend a few moments writing down three of your recent wins. Be specific! Think carefully about how and why you excelled. 

Share your feelings

Research suggests that when we learn difficulties are common during transitions, we’re better able to work through our own struggles. If you’ve experienced imposter syndrome, share your story. And if you’re looking to hear about someone’s journey, software engineer Kat Slump wrote about her unconventional path to Humu–and how she overcame imposter syndrome–on our blog. 

Try it the Humu way

Here are a few things we do to stay confident on the job:

People Scientist Nico Thornley keeps thank you notes and gifts (e.g. an unpacked pair of Superman socks) on his desk as reminders of all he does well.

Machine Learning Privacy Lead Aleatha Parker-Wood thinks back on this advice: “Don’t quit until they fire you.” Even if you feel incompetent, do your best until you are told to stop–and if you lean into learning, chances are the opposite will happen.

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers

Each month, we pick a question from a reader and offer tactical tips on how to handle their work-related issue. (If you’d like advice, let us know by replying to this email!) Hamed wrote in to ask: “I recently became a manager. What can I do to support my team?”

This month’s answer comes from executive LaVerne Council, who we were lucky enough to host at our offices for a lunch-and-learn. Her advice? “If your team sees you show up differently every week, they lose faith in you.” To successfully motivate and earn the trust of your team, make consistency a priority. More from LaVerne (including this gem: “Be confident, and remember: later you can take a nap”) up on our blog.

What’s happening at Humu:

When we get together with our advisors, an enthusiastic exchange of ideas is always guaranteed. This month, we’re delighted to share one of those conversations: listen to our CEO Laszlo Bock and Humu advisor and Wharton Professor Katy Milkman discuss the best ways to create lasting, positive change

Laszlo and Katy onstage at this year’s Behavioural Exchange

We were named as one of Gartner’s newest Cool Vendors in their Report for Employee Experience, Fast Casual covered the ways we help drive effective communication at Sweetgreen, Laszlo spoke to Forbes about how our nudges make people 250% more likely to act on good intentions and shared advice with LinkedIn on deciding whether or not to join a startup, our Head of Design Ben Huggins discussed always keeping the human in mind on the Seaworthy podcast, our Chief Privacy Officer Lea Kissner wrote about the issues with deeming design “good” or “bad” in Wired, and I (Liz Fosslien) talked to The Wall Street Journal about how our emotions impact our expense reports.

On the speaking front, catch Laszlo speaking at the Healthcare CEO Summit at the Cleveland Clinic and at Reach Capital’s Founders Day, Aleatha giving a keynote at CAMLIS, engineer Sophie Alpert at React Conf, and Marieke McCloskey, who heads up our UX research efforts, leading a breakout session at this year’s Women in Product conference.

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