Feel Like an Imposter? That’s a Good Sign

Seth Godin at the 2020 Watermark Conference for Women

There are many ideas about how to overcome imposter syndrome, that very common experience of doubting yourself despite how capable or successful you may be. But at the 2020 Watermark Conference for Women, marketing guru Seth Godin offered another way of looking at it.

“Of course, you feel like an imposter because you are one, and so am I,” he said. “How could it be otherwise? If you are going to lead, if you are going to project the future, if you are going to do something that has never been done before, how could you be sure [it will succeed]?”

Godin is the author of 19 international bestselling books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Tribes; the best-selling marketing book of the decade, Purple Cow; and his most recent, This Is Marketing.

“Feeling like an imposter,” he said, “means you are onto something.”

It is important to not only embrace that spirit, he said, but to willingly take risks even before you feel ready—or, as he put it, to push the buzzer before you know the answer.

Playing it safe is simply no longer a good option in today’s work environment, he suggested.

“If you are building a life around ‘What do you need me to do?’ be ready for someone to say ‘I don’t need you to do anything because there is someone one click away who is cheaper than you.’”

So, what’s his recommendation? “What you need to say is: ‘I am leading. I am doing this thing. Do you want to come?’


More from the 2020 Conference

More from the March 2020 Newsletter