September 26th 2017 #DevDiscuss - How do you deal with impostor syndrome?

One of the things that gets talked a lot about in our industry is “impostor syndrome” - basically, the inability to internalize our accomplishments and living in persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Shannon asked the twitterverse how they handle it.

To this day, I still struggle with it. I’ve accepted that it’s going to stick around for a long time.

My coping mechanism has 2 parts:

  1. Keep a running list of all the awesome things you’ve done.
  2. Read that list regularly.

It’s not just enough for us to put down what we did and why it was awesome (that sense of accomplishment/”done”-ness is definitely amazing!), but we also need to refresh our memory. It’s unfortunate that as a general rule, we tend to look on the depressing side of things and forget the happy, good things.

Here are the most recent things on my list:

  • 2017-10-03: Figured out how to use function_score and functions in elasticsearch.
  • 2017-10-01: Started work in integrating precalculated scores into elasticsearch geo coding.
  • 2017-09-29: Managed communications with management during a bug-in-production. Learned some valuable lessons in how to communicate during semi-crisis situations.

Every Monday morning, I read the list of things I’ve accomplished. On days I’ve been run through the wringer, I pull up the text file and read through it. It helps, a little. Since I started this 6 months ago, I’ve noticed that impostor syndrome is still there, but it isn’t as severe as it used to be.

Just remember:

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. - Steve Jobs