Overcoming Impostor Syndrome with our SupaAdvisor Pedro Sttau

Last week, our SupaAdvisor, Pedro Sttau (Executive Director for Consumer Banking at DBS Bank, former CTO & CIO of iCar Asia) dropped by the SupaHQ for a fireside chat, where he shared his journey into the tech world and on overcoming impostor syndrome.  

Contrary to what most of us would think or expect, the former CIO of iCar Asia did not graduate with a computer science degree. In fact, he studied Literature in university, but his love lies deep in computer science, and he would code during pockets of his free time.

A firm believer in hard work, not coming from a Computer Science background but wanting a career in Tech meant Pedro had to clock in those extra hours to learn to code on his own and having to work harder than everyone else in those earlier days. 

“I never stop working on myself every single day”

With sheer determination and grit, he carved a name for himself in the tech scene and even started a tech company of his own in Portugal prior to relocating to Asia for work. 

Impostor syndrome

A major psychological phenomenon that Pedro explored during the fireside chat was “impostor syndrome”. There are times we may doubt ourselves and our abilities, even though we have a series of achievements under our belt. However, impostor syndrome stretches beyond self-doubt, it is a constant fear of being exposed as a fraud. 

It is reported that 70% of people have experienced this feeling of unworthiness at a certain point in life, even highly accomplished individuals such as Maya Angelou battled with it and even Steve Jobs, during a talk (as shown in one of his speech below) admitted to not knowing. 

Having come to face with impostor syndrome himself, Pedro shared his account of what impostor syndrome felt like to him,

You’re pretending you know what you’re doing, afraid that you’ll be called out. You want to be honest with yourself, but sometimes you really don’t know what you’re doing. People expect me to be this person who knows what he’s doing.” 

The Authentic Self 

When asked how did he overcome this psychological barrier, Pedro then recounted his breakthrough that happened a few years ago, where he had to deliver a speech at a large tech conference in Singapore. He practised and even attempted to emulate famous speakers that he had seen on Youtube. 

When the day came, as he clenched a paper of his speech and stepped on stage, he blanked out and it was there and then, he decided to go impromptu and spoke from his mind. And it turned out to be the best speech that he has ever delivered. In fact, it was deemed as one of the best talks at the conference!

It was that day, he realised the importance of just being himself. 

“Just be yourself, stay authentic. Because when you’re lying, people know it.”

Pedro and the Supahands team

To sum it up, here’s a recount of what we learnt from our SupaAdvisor Pedro: 

  1. Hard work pays off 
  2. Never stop learning. In fact, learn as much as you possibly can in whatever role or company you’re in. 
  3. People can tell when you’re lying so don’t try to
  4. Stay true to yourself and be authentic

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