Over a year ago, I wrote an article titled Voices of Gatsby: Fighting Back Against Imposter Syndrome. The article details some of my experiences dealing with imposter syndrome as a professional musician and the lessons I learned along the way. Now that I work as a software developer, I still have thoughts of feeling inadequate but I have learned how to develop skills on how to deal with those anxieties.
In this article, I will walk you through some methods I use to deal with imposter syndrome that will hopefully help you in your life.
Keep a record of your accomplishments
Something that I have started to do recently is write down some workplace wins in a small journal. Some of my wins have included working through a difficult issue on a project or celebrating the release of a new product with my team. Whether this win is big or small, you should write it down and take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Writing down your accomplishments will be a record of the good things you have done so far. When imposter syndrome tries to rear its ugly head, you will have written down evidence that you are good enough and will be able to silence those thoughts.
Talk through workplace anxieties with trusted friends and family
When you are struggling, the tendency is to keep everything bottled up inside and withdraw from other people. For many years, I have been resistant to talk about my workplace struggles with friends and family but I have learned that struggling alone just ended up making the problem worse.
If you are feeling inadequate at work or with learning how to code in general, reach out to a trusted community and talk about it. You will quickly learn that you are not alone and that community can help you through difficult times.
Talk with your manager
A lot of times we believe that we are doing a worse job than we are. For the first few weeks on the job, I thought I was failing at everything and wasn't going to make it as a software developer. During one of the end-of-day status updates on Slack, our project manager posted a list of questions about how the week was going. I replied that I didn't feel like I contributed anything and felt bad about it. Well, multiple team members reached out to me that I was doing well and that getting up to speed on a new project was no easy task. I even had senior developers privately messaging me that I was doing well and that I shouldn't be hard on myself.
After that day, my manager and I had a good 1 on 1 about my workplace anxieties and that made me feel a lot better about the situation. I was grateful to have people in my corner rooting for me to succeed and listening to my situation when I was struggling.
Imposter syndrome and anxiety affect a lot of people and it is nothing to be ashamed about. Whether you are two days into your tech journey or two decades, it is important to build a healthy community of people around you to lend support when you are going through difficult times.
Oldest comments (3)
What helped me to understand that my worth had NOTHING to do with my level of self esteem is to look at people from the other side of the coin
People that naturally think super highly of themselves but are full of shit. I think for example about Jared Kushner who reads a couple of book about Israel and Palestine, and becomes convinced he will be the dude able to "fix" that decades old conflict.
Those people are very poor judge of themselves, and so are we.
This is so important, thanks for bringing it.
Everyone is winging it at some level. My philosophy is to get comfortable with being an impostor - cause you get this feeling only when you want to do something with your life. And then google and network the **** out of problems/questions.