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Imposter Syndrome #8

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SeanKilleen opened this Issue Nov 3, 2018 · 1 comment

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SeanKilleen commented Nov 3, 2018

A colleague recently mentioned something in passing. I'm repeating it and my response here, which I also shared with a larger internal group, on the off-chance that it can help someone out.

(paraphrased)

I feel like I suffer from imposter syndrome, which makes me hesitant to be more involved. I'm further from the technical side and i feel like i'm more anxious when approaching it now. I feel like you know a lot more than I do; how can I ever catch up?

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SeanKilleen commented Nov 3, 2018

First -- that's a really strong thing to be able to admit. I still get that feeling a bunch; it's one of those things that doesn't go away entirely but you learn to ignore with time / practice. We can definitely find you the resources to help you get a better understanding of your ecosystem. Recognizing it is really important, and I think calling that for what it is goes a long way.

It's important to note: we all feel it at some point, and getting past the discomfort and moving forward feels rewarding. The more you get used to it, the more you can move past it. A great cycle.

Nowadays, my imposter syndrome is almost fully in the background. A thing came up where I had to use Ruby and I went "well crap, I'm a complete amateur at Ruby". And then I went "....welp guess I'm going to learn a bunch" and got on with it. Do that enough times and all of a sudden you're someone who knows a bunch of different stuff ;)

At Excella especially, we present and market ourselves as experts. I think it's good to internally acknowledge all the things we have no idea what we're doing on. Some of the best technologists at Excella who I look up to and respect have at one time come to me and said "oh my God I don't know anything about [insert tech/concept] or where to start" and we dug in. And you'd best believe I've done that to others. We need to make that visible and help people understand it's normal, but for now I want to say it plainly: it's normal (at least according to most high-performing people I've worked with ever.)

Have you ever watched Bojack Horseman? The cartoon on Netflix? It's a ridiculous -- but also profound -- show (and definitely not PG FYI), and I love it. There's this episode where Bojack takes up jogging and it's killing him and this older character goes running past him up a hill and stops over him. He says:

It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day. That's the hard part. But it does get easier.

It's like that.

--

This is to say, you all have a valuable skillset and are very good at what you do. And if you ever feel like you're faking it until you make it, remember 1) we all are in some ways and 2) reach out about it, embrace it, and get your hands dirty a bit. It feels great on the other side.

Thanks for indulging me. Have a great weekend!

@SeanKilleen SeanKilleen closed this Nov 3, 2018

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