How I Was Able To Thrive Despite First Experiencing Impostor Syndrome, With Douglas Ferguson

Candice Georgiadis
Mar 24 · 4 min read

Acknowledge it: Be aware that you’re feeling like an imposter. Naming is something is usually a great first step.

Focus on Your Strengths: Make a list of what you’re uniquely good at. Return to your list when you feel your confidence is rocky or you’re unsure of yourself.

Decide What You Want to Improve: Everyone has room for growth. Decide what skills you want to grow and actively work to develop them.

Find a Mentor: Identify someone that you look up to, both personally and career-wise. Ask them to be your mentor, so you have someone you can talk with when you run into tough moments at work.


As

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I’m an entrepreneur and human-centered technologist with over 20 years of experience. Currently, I’m the president of Voltage Control, an Austin-based workshop agency that specializes in Design Sprints and innovation workshops. Prior to Voltage Control, I held CTO positions at numerous Austin startups where I led product and engineering teams using agile, lean, and human-centered design principles. I graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where I studied math, biology, and chemistry.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

While I was CTO of Twyla, a startup that sold limited edition contemporary art prints, we worked with Google Ventures on a Design Sprint, which we were running to learn more about what customers want and to improve our business model. While, ultimately, Twyla didn’t work out as a business, the huge benefit of this moment is that I got to experience the Design Sprint process from the “masters” and creators, including Jake Knapp. I fell in love with this way of working and this experience lead me to launch my company to help share this way of working with other companies.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We’re not dogmatic. We’re all about bringing together different ways of working and not following one methodology. Instead, we mix and match the right methods to meet the specific needs of our clients. Another thing that makes us stand out is that we are committed to building a community through our work. For example, we’ve started something in Austin called “Control the Room,” which is a yearly event for professional facilitators where they can meet each other and learn new skills.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the experience of Impostor Syndrome. How would you define Impostor Syndrome? What do people with Imposter Syndrome feel?

To me, Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you don’t know enough about the field of business that you are working in and then everyone will soon find out. People with Imposter Syndrome lack full confidence in their skills and background and worry that everyone around them knows more than they do.

What are the downsides of Impostor Syndrome? How can it limit people?

The downsides are that you limit and question yourself when you’re paralyzed by Imposter Syndrome. When you second-guess yourself or get too caught up in your own fears or insecurities, you’re not at your best and you’re probably not taking advantage of some of your biggest strengths.

In your opinion, what are the steps that someone who is experiencing Impostor Syndrome can take to move forward despite feeling like an “Impostor”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Acknowledge it: Be aware that you’re feeling like an imposter. Naming is something is usually a great first step.
  2. Focus on Your Strengths: Make a list of what you’re uniquely good at. Return to your list when you feel your confidence is rocky or you’re unsure of yourself.
  3. Decide What You Want to Improve: Everyone has room for growth. Decide what skills you want to grow and actively work to develop them.
  4. Find a Mentor: Identify someone that you look up to, both personally and career-wise. Ask them to be your mentor, so you have someone you can talk with when you run into tough moments at work.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film…

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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