Man in the Mirror — Tackling Imposter Syndrome

Aarish Shah
3 min readJun 22, 2020
An airport somewhere in Australia — photo captured by me

Here I go with another reflection, my experiement in laying it bare and seeing what sticks.

Thanks to everyone who reached out and engaged with me on my article last week around my own relationship with race.

As some of the images and videos have circulated from yesterday’s marches in London show, there is still a way to go here in the UK.

Today, I thought I’d talk about the man in the mirror, or my long battle with imposter syndrome.

For those that don’t know, that’s the persistent belief that one doesn’t accept their own accomplishments or that they are in some way a fraud.

To be fair, I’ve always been able to coast through stuff. I was always a good student as far as class was concerned, pretty average as far as exams were. I never bought into the culture of cramming we have here in the UK (side note this is why I chose the IB for my kids).

But as I began working, I began noticing (or thinking I was noticing) a few things.

a) I wasn’t putting as much effort into stuff as others but didn’t seem to be getting called out (worst when I was in banking).

b) I was ‘moving up the ladder’ without deliberately trying to.

c) I was getting involved in projects and activities which I didn’t feel I was in any way qualified to.

When I was out in PNG, running companies, I was in constant fear of being ‘found out’, that someone would clock me for not really knowing what I was doing, despite having made some pretty swift and transformational changes in the businesses I was leading.

And then when I returned to the UK, I fell into roles with tech ventures, what I knew I knew from reading some books and articles, listening to people in the sector and just applying stuff I already knew to new situations.

There were definitely times when I felt like I was just making it up as I was going along.

In essence, my imposter syndrome made me constantly second guess myself, assume that my opinion, my view or my knowledge was not valid or even it were, that I didn’t have the authority to express myself.

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Aarish Shah

Generalist | Thinker | Life Long Learner | Writer | Photographer