Imposter Syndrome

I have always felt it’s good to try and analyze a situation; to understand cause and effect. So when I recently hit a wall and finally figured out a way over the hump, I spent some time really picking it apart.

So what created this passion in me that has caused me to pursue a deeper understanding of JS? What sparked the drive for me to begin reaching out and start the process building a network? How did I finally connect with these ridiculously intelligent, and successful, UI engineers that can help guide me through this process? 8 years later, I’m finally taking these steps and what can I thank? Imposter syndrome.

For those who are unfamiliar, imposter syndrome describes the feeling that you don’t know enough; that you’re not good enough. That you don’t deserve to be in your current position; that you don’t deserve the promotion. It’s a self doubt that is largely driven by the fact that there is simply too much to learn. There’s some truth there; but the fact is, your goalposts are moving.

When I needed to begin looking for a job, because the startup I was involved with was not going to be able to consistently pay me, I had a bit of a shock. I had grown extremely confident and comfortable in my development abilities… but I was passed up for several developer positions. Why? What was wrong? I’ve learned new technologies; taken on new responsibilities. I’ve spent countless hours hacking away, pushing through frustration in my free time. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t more sought after.

What is simply the algorithm questions during the interviews? Was I not specialized enough? Who knows… cue imposter syndrome. The difference, this time, was my ability to use this horrible feeling to create a fire within myself. A fire and drive to get the job I’ve always wanted. A desire to finally be the developer I know I can, and should, be.

Those who know me personally know that I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression throughout most of my adult life. It took many years to really find a solution that helps me cope and feel in control of my own emotions. Aside from diet and exercise, the thing that has had the largest impact for me is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s truly amazing how this technique has helped me pick apart, dig into, and really understand my own imposter syndrome.

I highly recommend that anyone struggling with imposter syndrome, look into CBT as a potential solution. Not only will this help your emotional intelligence and ability to calmly and efficiently deal with imposter syndrome, but also your every day thoughts and interactions.

I did manage to land a job in technical project management… but more to come on that later!


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