Hearing about Impostor Syndrome is nothing new. It's brought up every day by developers on Twitter.
I've known plenty of people who I thought could handle things that left them in fear.
The other way around, it's not so easy. I look at things I want to do, and I evaluate the opportunity, and if I decide I can't do it, I don't. People who know me sometimes offer encouraging words, but I wish they didn't.
Just because there's a thing called Impostor Syndrome doesn't mean it's the reason you can't do stuff. You could just be inadequate.
Reading Disney-powered "if you can dream it you can do it" tweets, empty encouragement and comments from people saying they know you're good at something without any way of them having that knowledge... is belittling.
Impostor Syndrome is getting talked about more and more now, which is great. However, as I can attest from talking about it at this conference series a few months ago, there are still TONS of folks out there who aren't familiar with it, and who have "Wow, I never knew there was a name for this feeling!" moments when reading / hearing about it for the first time. If one person reads something like this, learns about it, and is able to take the first steps to overcoming it, then it was well worth it being scrolled past by someone who already knew what it was.
I disagree with you that encouraging words are belittling – I think you have to try pretty hard to find negative impact in honestly-meant, positive words. I agree that the "if you can dream it, you can do it" thought isn't realistic, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the thought that anyone is inadequate. I believe that anyone is capable of learning anything if they're willing to apply time, hard work, and effort. They won't be great at first, of course, but anyone CAN learn anything. Impostor Syndrome is often (but not always) the thing stopping people from even being willing to take that first step and try something outside their comfort zone.
Frankly, I think it's a shame that you look at opportunities and judge yourself "inadequate" of rising to them, especially when it sounds like you have friends and family who are actively trying to encourage you. It's difficult for a person to judge their own competence in an unbiased way, and we often judge ourselves lower than is actually accurate. Again, not saying everyone is automatically great at everything they do (literally impossible). But, if you were willing to say yes to things you judge yourself "not good enough" for, I bet you would find yourself more capable than you think. Most developers are excellent problem-solvers and know how to take advantage of their resources. Even in a situation where you might not be the ideal candidate for the job, you could probably still figure it out and succeed, regardless. Putting ourselves in those uncomfortable positions is how we learn and grow.
But, I'm just some stranger on the internet. Take this, or leave it – just my $0.02.
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