Fighting Impostor Syndrome

impostorSyndromeHave you ever been in a situation where you are speaking about a subject and then felt the sinking feeling of not being good enough to give the information? It's like the little voice in your head is saying "You don't know what your talking about and soon these people will find out." If you have, then your dealing with Imposter Syndrome. You feel that your a fraud. A fake. A hack.

Wikipedia defines Impostor Syndrome as this:

A psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

We've all probably felt it at one time or another but we have to learn to work through it. Sometimes we are tasked with giving a presentation to a group. Now that could mean an one on one with a client. They are paying you to give this information so they have an expectation but you have to have a reasonable expectation with yourself. How much do you know about the subject? I try to be upfront as much as possible. If I don't know I tell them right away. If I know a little, I try and share that. I know a lot, then I share that.

But how much is a lot? That is what you may be asking yourself. We may prop our egos up saying, I did this and I did that. I won this award and I was recognized by that group. At the end of the day, we may still feel insecure about the fact that we don't know enough.

First I would say, that what you know, you know. Don't be afraid to share it. It's something that someone else does not know. Sharing this information can also stimulate questions that they may have which really is very useful to them. They now know where to focus. If they have a question, then they can seek out the answer. And if you can share that answer with them, then great.

I personally am a co-organizer for a local WordPress meetup. At first it was very easy for me to say "You can't help run that! You aren't a WordPress expert! Look how much you don't know!" The thing is, that statement is pretty much right. It's hard to define an expert and there are a lot of things I don't know about WordPress. But, there are a lot of things I do know and I'm willing to share them with others that want to learn about them.

Because I was willing to risk my own ego and step up to the plate, I've found the whole experience to be rewarding since I get a thrill from helping others with any issues or questions that they may have.

Don't be afraid to take that risk yourself and share.

Don't let the voice in your head shake your confidence.

You deserve to tell your story or give your advice. You don't need to beat yourself up thinking that you are not the expert that they believe you to be. In that moment and in that time you are so enjoy it and you may learn something in return!

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Hey, I'm Jeff Freeman

A WordPress web developer from Peoria, IL who likes to travel, and enjoys coffee, craft beers, kung fu, biking and working on interesting projects.

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