Scaling through Imposter syndrome .
6 min read
What is Imposter syndrome?
Do you know that feeling where you just don't feel good enough, like you are not cut off for this even after a series of doing that particular something over and over again? The feeling where you find yourself thinking that I am going to mess this up, I am going to fail this or I'm not qualified enough to take up this role, they should get someone else better to do it. Well, I assure you you are not alone. I have felt this many times than I could count, maybe way more than I even knew what imposter syndrome really was.
A while back, my dad sat me down and told me how I am going to do really great and reach really greater heights. In my heart, I knew this was true but in my head, I wasn't quite sure. I kept asking myself, what if I am not as good as he thinks I am, what if after all these sacrifices, I won't make it?
That feeling I came to learn was called Imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud despite your education, experience, and accomplishments. It's the fear that people will eventually discover your perceived weakness and question your competence the way you do. I once heard my sister speak about it but I never really paid attention, maybe I was too naive to think that something like that would affect me but now it's a whole different story.
Imposter syndrome as a tech student.
I once asked my mentor if I had a problem with self-confidence and he was amused because if there was one person he knew that was very confident in other people and in themselves, was me. I questioned my self-confidence because I felt like I did not quite believe in myself and my capabilities, that I could actually achieve something even when clearly I had. I did not quite allow myself to celebrate my wins because deep down I always felt that it wasn't enough and my biggest worries were always on what to do next so that I could at least feel worthy.
This has really held me back from doing so much as a young tech enthusiast. I have held back from applying for roles that I could totally take up. I have failed to apply for many community programs despite my big yearning for getting into community stuff. Deep down I knew I qualified for the said programs but I still doubted if I could do it.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a post where campus students were needed to lead a community in their various campuses but, I said No, simply because I have never led any tech community and my fear was how do I lead a whole tech community. Surprisingly, I have been a class rep for two years now and have led a group of more than a hundred campus students which by the way is not easy. So tell me why I thought I was not capable of doing this? I don't know that myself.
My friend did not take my excuse and I actually ended up applying and I am currently waiting for feedback. Same way I ended up applying to be a crowdsource ambassador after months of debating with myself whether I could actually be able to spread the crowdsource gospel around despite how interested I was and with all the knowledge I had about crowdsource.
What has helped me so far
Talking about it.
Opening up about my struggle with imposter syndrome has really helped me a lot. I have gained so much reassurance and positivity from people who really know me and have seen what I can do. This has helped me be proud of my progress and challenge myself to do the things I find myself not qualified for or worthy of.
Having accountability partners.
This is the same feeling as being in a community but with way fewer people who relate to the same things as you. Almost as being your brother's keeper. I have accountability partners who push me to be a better version of myself. Keeping track of the progress we make and assuring me of my worth. This helps because I know that they are people who have seen the great strides I have made and the potential I have. Their belief in me gives me the strength to be more assertive in my capabilities.
Learning to celebrate yourself no matter how small the win is or how big the fail is. The little thing that you are able to accomplish is a step toward the bigger goal you have set and that is worth celebrating and being proud of. Gush over it, post on all your socials, give yourself a high five, and shout a big YES!!! because you did it and you deserve it. Understand too that sometimes it won't work out, that you might fail and that is fine because you are human and as humans, we are prone to error. So don't beat yourself up because of it, tomorrow is another day to try working it out. This has been a really big lesson for me.
Keep a record of your progress.
Note down things you have been able to accomplish, congratulate yourself for that then focus on figuring out how you will be able to achieve what you haven't next time. The little progress you have made today is fine, you can do better the next day. Don't put pressure on yourself, that will overwhelm you and you will fail to see what you have managed to do. Every day I write a list of things I want to accomplish and at the end of the day, I tick what I have been able to do and work on what I wasn't able to the next day. This helps me see how much progress I am making.
Declare war on your fears!
If your fears are what is stopping you from doing that thing, fight them! You know that Bible verse, " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"? Live by that. Apply for that job, you might be the next best engineer in the world, Speak at that event, Share that idea with people who can help you build on it and write that code because your fears have got nothing on you! This year I am challenging myself to put myself out there and do what I have been most afraid of doing. I will apply for that internship, lead that community, and apply to speak at an event for the first time. Let's do this!!
I have not yet overcome Imposter syndrome nor do I think it will be easy, but I know I can do this. Slow but sure. Every day is a learning process and we learn by engaging and having all hands on deck. Things take time, some even more time than others but that does not mean that they are impossible. Still, just having faith in yourself will not get you to where you want to be, Put in the work, and that extra mile to a step close to your goals.
To everyone battling Imposter syndrome, you are not alone, so don't let it weigh you down. If you are walking down the right path and are willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress. Remember, It is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger that you realize your true potential.
Thank you so much for reading my article and I hope this helps someone out there.