I was not ready to become the maintainer of Babel
Henry Zhu Apr 10 Updated on Apr 12, 2018
When Babel's creator Sebastian McKenzie started distancing himself from the project he gave me and some others access to the repo/publish rights. I know I was not ready to become the maintainer of Babel. After all, I had never published my own npm package before or explored much of the codebase. But slowly (sometimes really slowly) I got used to it. I recall Kent Dodds saying that if you want to be a maintainer of a project, just act and do the things that maintainers do.
When you are learning new things, you discover how much you don't know. You may find it's not impostor syndrome. You aren't aware of how much everyone else knows and how far you've come.
There are different levels of progression (series of tweets): maybe it's your first issue or comment, first PR, first publish, first repo, etc. The next thing always seems so overwhelming. It's helpful to remember that it means you are learning more. Starting from knowing nothing doesn't mean you are unqualified. If you are in any position at all (bootcamp, dev, contributor, maintainer), it means that someone wanted you to be there. Look to one another for encouragement!
And how do we build confidence? One part is learning to care about what you do deeply but thinking through how you identify yourself and whether you can separate from your work. How do you face feedback, public opinion, etc? For me, much of it comes from learning how to be self-forgetful: not having a high view of myself or even a low view of myself but just thinking about myself less. I can continue to improve my ability to move forward through empathy with others and myself. I try to give myself the room to just be wrong and make mistakes and have an environment for others do to the same. I think in that freedom we can try without fear.
I've heard something I do a lot is say "I think" too much 😁 so that's something I can work on.
We can then begin to see ourselves as developers instead of coming up with reasons to think we aren't good enough. Let's encourage one another in this journey together as one community. Are any of us really ready?