Recently, the editor of SQLServerCentral.com, Steve Jones, shared a video in our team Slack channel that talked about how you shouldn’t feel like an imposter when you get out of your comfort zone. It talked about how incredibly successful people didn’t know how to do what they eventually accomplished back when they started. For example, Jeff Bezos didn’t know how to run a trillion-dollar company when he began Amazon in his garage.
Discussions about imposter syndrome remind me of a book I read several years ago, The Confidence Code. The main thing I learned from the book is that doing things that seem daunting or downright scary can build confidence. One of the most frightening activities for most people is public speaking — feared more than death! That’s why I recommend it to women in tech to build their confidence and to boost their careers. I don’t mean to scare them, but I’ve seen many folks’ careers take off after they start presenting at events.
Another cool thing about doing scary things is that they get to be fun after a while. In my case, I love singing and participated in chorus in high school and college. I was too shy to get a solo and spent my time singing the background “oohs and aahs.” I discovered karaoke about 20 years ago, but it took me quite a long time before I was brave enough to go to a public event. Finally, I was singing the lead instead of the background, and I was hooked! Singing gave me so much confidence that I believe it led to me getting involved with presenting, writing, and teaching.
Other people have said that coaching a team, mastering photography, or leading a user group, for example, is that thing that scared them at first but that ultimately boosted confidence. Once you try something new that seems difficult but succeed, you wire your brain to believe you can do the next item on your list according to the Confidence Code authors.
Did the video Steve that shared cure my imposter syndrome? Not really. I know that there is so much to learn, and the opposite, thinking you know everything, is much worse.