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Everyone Loses When Bright People Play Small

In this very special episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, I interview world-renowned impostor syndrome expert and author of the book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Valerie Young. Valerie shares with us how impostor syndrome found her during her work as a graduate student in education and how that led her to a powerful mission to stamp out impostor syndrome. She and I explore a range of topics from how impostor syndrome affects men, to the role of organizational culture in fueling impostor syndrome, to what we can learn from those who don’t struggle with this issue.

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About My Guest

Dr. Valerie Young is a leading expert on impostor syndrome and co-founder of Impostor Syndrome Institute.

In addition to speaking at over 100 universities in the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, and the UK including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Oxford, Valerie has shared her highly relatable and practical advice to executives, managers, and professionals at such diverse organizations as Google, Pfizer, BP, Facebook, P&G, Intel, Boeing, IBM, Liberty Mutual, YUM!, Molson Coors, PWC (UK), Rakuten, McDonald’s (Europe), Schneider Trucking, Merck, Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, Chrysler, Carrier, T. Rowe Price, NASA, the National Cancer Institute, and many more.

Valerie’s work has been cited around the world including in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Psychology Today, Science, The Wall Street Journal, O magazine, The Daily Mail, The Irish Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Globe & Mail, and on, BBC radio, and Yahoo Finance.

She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she studied internal barriers to women’s achievement. Although Valerie’s research subjects consisted of a racially diverse group of professional women, much of her original findings have proved directly applicable to anyone with impostor feelings.

Valerie is author of the award-winning book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It with Random House now available in six languages.

You can learn more about her work at


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