Change Catalyst Co-Founder Talks Depression and Imposter Syndrome

Change Catalyst Co-Founder Talks Depression and Imposter Syndrome

The pressure of Silicon Valley can be extremely heavy but, when you add depression, imposter syndrome, and introversion to that equation, an entirely new emotional cocktail is created. Recently co-founder of Change Catalyst, Wayne Sutton, most notably known for its Tech Inclusion Conference, wrote a post on Medium as to how he is going about tackling these issues that have plagued his past, head-on.

Wayne Sutton speaking at Tech Inclusion Conference (Image: Medium)

Here are some key takeaways that were gathered from the post.

Some lessons learned from depression: 
1) Be honest with yourself
2) Once you start feeling depressed, acknowledge it and seek help
3) Find out what makes you happy and repeat it
4) Get out of your comfort zone and do something fun
5) Talk to and trust real friends
6) Work towards security (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs )
7) Seek professional help, therapist

Lessons learned from Impostor Syndrome:
1) Create a mental confidence exercise
2) Surround yourself with positive quotes (Holstee manifesto)
3) Meet with peers and people who are in positions/careers you can learn from
4) Create an accountability network
5) Read: How to Combat Impostor Syndrome by Melinda Epler

Lessons learned from life as an introvert:
1) I’m still learning
2) Read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Book by Susan Cain
3) Read a post I wrote earlier this year: 11 Ways The Professional Introvert Can Practice Self Care In 2017

Interestingly enough, no one would have known what Sutton was going through judging by his outside successes. He states, “in 2012, I had a one-on-one meeting with everyone from Mitch Kapor, David Drummond, Ben Horwitz, Charles Hudson, Jack Dorsey, Shellye Archambeau, Rick Klau, Ken Coleman, Mary Grove, Stacy Brown-Philpot and other household CEOS, tech investors, and executives. I’ve attended some exclusive events, such as TED and several private events,” and not to mention, he put on an extremely successful touring conference with Tech Inclusion.

Sutton went on to say that in the black community this topic is often swept under the rug, referring specifically to depression. “As a black man, the stereotype is to be emotionally and physically strong. You never cry, never complain, you survive, you endure. Showing any sign of weakness says that you’re soft. While growing, I never used words such as empathy, or compassion to discuss my feelings. If I didn’t feel well emotionally, often the solution was religion, medicine or outdoor activities, aka avoidance.”

These topics are something that our community desperately needs to address and I’m happy to see that Sutton is not only being transparent and vulnerable about them but ironically, a leader in the conversation.

Read the article in its entirety here.