"How did I get to this point in my career? I don't belong here."
"Oh, it was just pure luck landing this promotion."
"Eventually someone is going to call me out for the fraud that I am."
When is the last time a similar thought has crossed your mind? My guess would be at least once in the past year, maybe even the past 1-3 months. Why? Say hello to your new favorite inner enemy: impostor syndrome.
It's the shadow living in the corner of your office, judging you. Except that shadow is yourself. It's that little feeling inside of you that says you're not good enough to do what you're doing. A persistent feeling of inadequacy and insecurity, like someone's going to call you out as a fraud.
Wrong. Everyone feels like an impostor at times. Some may feel totally comfortable speaking with a group of junior devs but freeze up around their peers. Others are fine speaking with their peers, but feel they don't have the authority to speak to junior devs.
Regardless of how many years you are into your career, the feeling of inadequacy hits you out of nowhere. Nobody is immune to it. I've been coding for over 15 years now and it still strikes me, especially as I continue to grow my business. Impostor syndrome just pokes its head into new situations that I maybe didn't encounter before.
Create a folder on your computer. Or if you're more of the "pen and paper" type, find a physical folder. Every time you do something cool - whether it's a project you're proud of, an achievement, an award, a nice email from your boss or a colleague, save it. Put it all in that folder.
Whenever you're feeling down on yourself, go through that folder. This is work YOU did, awards YOU received, kind words sent directly your way. This is all you.
Whether you're just getting started in your career or you're moving on up, just remember when you start feeling that bout of impostor syndrome creeping in:
- You are here for a reason.
- You are smarter than you think you are.
- You are more capable than you think you are.
- You earned this position in your career. You worked hard to be here. You deserve it.
Impostor syndrome is an ongoing battle for many -- it's very common everyone regardless of career experience. When's the last time you felt like an impostor? What methods to do you take to overcome it when it shows up in your life?