You may have heard of Impostor Syndrome before. If you haven’t, Wikipedia describes it as a person’s
inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
I definitely feel like this sometimes. I’ve been working as a software engineer for almost 2 years but I often feel like I don’t belong. That I’m not good enough to work with these other engineers.
Experience-wise, I’m not as far along as most of the people I work with and that scares me. These feelings of inadequacy can be debilitating. It can affect my sleep sometimes too. I’ll have all these thoughts race through my head as I’m trying to fall asleep at night.
I often feel I’m the only one who thinks this way. But I’m not. Many people struggle with this feeling and it causes unneeded stress because we don’t feel good enough.
Remember What You’ve Done
Something that helps me when I feel this way is to remember the contributions I’ve made since I’ve been an engineer. I’ve helped solve problems, build user interfaces, fix defects, and provide guidance to developers with more experience.
When I remember these things, I don’t feel like an impostor anymore. My mind becomes calm and I can relax.
I think it’s important to note the difference between wanting to continually learn/enhance yourself and impostor syndrome though. One is beneficial. The other is cancerous.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become better at your craft and to stay relevant but it’s another thing to feel like you don’t measure up to others in your industry.
We have to stop with the negative self-talk and start telling ourselves the truth. The truth of what we bring to the table.