T-SQL Tuesday #122: How I've Confronted Impostor Syndrome
Impostor Syndrome Is Probably Universal
I'd like to think that most, if not everyone, has had thoughts like "what am I doing here," "I don't know what I'm doing," and other thoughts about one being inadequate in terms of knowledge, skillset, and aptitude. And I'd posit that many of us feels this way to some degree or other throughout our entire career!
And here's my brief take on that.
It's okay to feel that way!
Folks often sell themselves short. I've definitely go through this experience regularly. But I've taken a different perspective on it that has helped me along.
Are You Challenging Yourself?
I'd like to think that I'm constantly trying to challenge myself in my career. I try to constantly learn new things and try new things. And looking back, I think the times I've really felt Impostor Syndrome is when I've found myself in a situation where I'm overwhelmingly challenged - keyword here being overwhelmed. Impostor Syndrome is a form of self doubt. And I've often encountered that when I'm facing an obstacle that I have no idea how to tackle.
Two Core Values to Combat Impostor Syndrome
My way of combating Impostor Syndrome comes down to two core values that I hold.
The first core value is "Always Be Learning." I've learned to reframe the overwhelming challenges where I experience self-doubt as learning opportunities. Additionally, I've also remind myself that everyone else is also constantly learning, regardless of whether they recognize that or not. Learning is a journey, and we are all at different places in our individual journeys. And that's okay!
The second core value is "Don't Be Afraid To Admit You're Wrong." One thing that is difficult for all of us, is making mistakes. We experience embarrassment. We doubt ourselves. We feel stupid. But if we can get past those negative feelings, every mistake is simply a learning opportunity. I've heard various quote variations that emphasize that the road to success is littered with past screw ups. Mistakes should be expected and welcomed, because they're opportunities to learn and improve.
Change Your Mindset
I hope sharing these two core values can help you overcome Impostor Syndrome in the way that they've helped me. And I hope this month's T-SQL Tuesday helps us all realize that it's a common experience, and okay to feel this way.
Andy Yun is a SentryOne Senior Solutions Engineer and a Microsoft MVP. He has been working with SQL Server for over 15 years as both a Database Developer and Administrator. Leveraging knowledge of SQL Server Internals and extensive experience in highly transactional environments, he strives to make T-SQL leaner and meaner. Andy is extremely passionate about passing knowledge onto others, regularly speaking at User Groups, SQL Saturdays, and PASS Summit. Andy is a co-founder of the Chicago SQL Association, co-Chapter Leader of the Chicago Suburban User Group, and part of the Chicago SQL Saturday Organizing Committee.