A cartoon of a black eye mask with scissors cutting around the outline of it on a dotted line. A green and yellow scribble is in the background
Image courtest of Viv Li.

Do you have an unconscious bias against your own achievement?

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been learning about the ‘impostor syndrome’ – which is the unconscious bias someone holds against their own achievement.

Psychologists believe that the condition is more common in achievers who don’t fit the mold. You can think of it as a type of bias that inhibits diversity; for example, through individuals self-censoring their own minority points of view. When working in the tech industry, there are a lot of situations where ‘impostor feelings’ can quietly show up, regardless of whether your role is technical or not. Everyone has their own reasons why they may feel different from the norm.

So if we are to truly harness the benefits diversity can bring, into how technology is conceived and built, then we also need to address this type of self-bias.

Bringing Impostor Syndrome Solutions to MozFest

I’m sharing what I’ve learned and my work about impostor syndrome at MozFest because there’s a lot of underlying synergy with Mozilla’s humanity-first approach to technology. The festival has served as a spark to ignite a fresh narrative around impostor syndrome, as well as to kick start practical solutions.

I am working on ‘Emplumar’, a project to develop solutions for the ‘impostor bias’. We ran an interactive session at MozFest 2022, titled Towards Fair Humans! Uncover Impostor Bias Through Collaborative Mind Mapping.

I also created a virtual experience in Mozilla Hubs: Voices, Masks, & Courage. From laptop stickers to startup ambitions, find out how the Impostor bias falters tech creators. Learn about impostor syndrome experiences by people involved in creating tech from a selection of voices from the Twitterverse.

Be A Part Of The Solution: Take Action Today

The ultimate goal in the work is to develop impostor syndrome solutions and tools that help manage and lessen impostor feelings, with scientific validation and long-term sustainability. There are a few ways you can help!

Use the digital tool! Use early versions of the digital tool and give feedback for improvements.

Contribute your skills. From technical development to non-tech know-hows, we can use your skills! Contribute technical skills to help make tools to manage impostor feelings, or use your various non-technical skills to help us, such as marketing, psychology, legal know-how.

About The Author

As a Participant, Volunteer, and Facilitator, I have made MozFest Home! On the volunteering side, I’ve helped with setting up the in-person venue and managing the food queue. If anyone was in my long line during the peak lunch time, I hope I’ve cheered you up while you wait!

And as a participant, every attendee contributes to the collective knowledge, atmosphere and creativity that makes up the Festival, as well as the momentum that spills into the next one.

Then, as a session facilitator, organizing my own session was a different experience. I wanted to make sure anyone coming to my workshop leaves with a good experience and a new perspective on the subject matter. So I put a lot of effort into content development and session design. It was also important to look after my co-facilitators and help them to gain a rewarding experience.

MozFest Movers: Where Are They Now?

This story is part of the Where Are They Now series, spotlighting ‘MozFest Movers,’ the amazing people and projects that have used MozFest as a catalyst for their ongoing work. The series uplifts opportunities for the internet health movement to be a part of the exciting solutions coming out of this work.

MozFest is part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world. To learn more, visit www.mozillafestival.org.

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