Fixing Impostor Syndrome

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Fixing Impostor Syndrome

  • IMHO, if you have Imposter Syndrome... DON'T fix it.  Don't let it prevent you from speaking or writing articles but don't fix it.  It's a strong driver to be the best you can be.  Use it to your advantage and let it drive you to high quality, well thought out presentations that contain the proof of what you're teaching.  Don't get stuck with repeating other people's opinions.  If you can't actually prove it or cite something where someone else has proven it, don't repeat opinions.

     

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • What a touching article. I'd never head of the "imposter syndrome" but I do feel related. As Jeff mentions, we shouldn't try to fix that feeling, although it is an uncomfortable one at times. I think it helps one to stay humble.

    It often happens people in the organization come to me in order to solve a problem that is not really my domain. For example, asking me guidance on indexes and tuning a query, while I consider myself more of an infrastructure DBA, installing and configuring SQL. But, these people know me as "the DBA" and they rely on me to help them. Even though I tell them that tuning is not my expertise but that I'll be glad to help if I can, it feels like I'm kind of betraying myself as well. Do I know enough to answer their questions? What if I hand them the wrong information and performance even degrades? I start Googling, reading articles, testing. I find all kinds of interesting information from Paul R, Brent O, Jeff M, Paul W, Glenn B, Kimberly T, Aaron B... I can go on :). And I try to learn something, pick things out, summarize... and hand them over the info, hoping it'll be OK. But I never feel 100% satisfied nor comfortable.

    I don't like people addressing me as "the guru", "the expert"... (I really don't), because I know I'm not. Not just talking about SQL, but friends asking me to have a look at their computer for all kinds of issues, because, well, "you work in IT" :). I always respond "it just looks to you like I'm an expert, because we have different jobs and skills". I couldn't do my friend's work. He's a carpenter. I picture myself struggling with my keyboard with only 3 fingers 🙂

    I love learning new stuff or getting a deeper understanding of things I already (think I) know. And I like to share that knowledge. I always wanted to own a blog but then the imposter-syndrome kicks in. Because, who am I to tell others how to do things? There are a lot of smart people out there that know a lot better. And I thank them every day for writing those articles and responding to questions in forums. I learned a lot from them. Respect.

    Btw I just tried to answer a few questions on QOTD. Well, that didn't help getting the imposter-feeling out of the way :). But again, I learned a few things.

     

  • Thank you for this article, Steve. I suffer from impostor's syndrome. There are definite times I've felt inadequate. In fact, impostor's syndrome has prevented me from applying for more than one job in the past.

    But I've got a question for you, Steve. Unless I'm misreading your article, I got the impression you meant to share a link to the marketing article you mentioned being shared at Red Gate, which would benefit technologists. Unless that's an internal Red Gate article where you shouldn't share it, would you please share it with us?

    Rod

  • @thierry,

    Thank you for the kind words... it helps MY imposter syndrome. 😀

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • "Like marketing, there are no shortage of people who think they know it all, or use boisterous, blustery, loud discussion to convince others that they do. "

    The value of an opinion or advice is inversely proportional to the volume at which it is delivered.

    Rick

    One of the best days of my IT career was the day I told my boss if the problem was so simple he should go fix it himself.

  • Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    But I've got a question for you, Steve. Unless I'm misreading your article, I got the impression you meant to share a link to the marketing article you mentioned being shared at Red Gate, which would benefit technologists. Unless that's an internal Red Gate article where you shouldn't share it, would you please share it with us?

    The link was not in the email, but it is in the version of the editorial on sqlservercentral.com

  • The 1st time I came across imposter syndrome was in the context of the  Dunning-Kruger Effect.  I think every normal person suffers from it to some degree or another.

    There are some people who never get off mount stupid.  The danger comes when the confidence such people have is mistaken for competence.  We've all seen Captain Cockup, Major Waste-of-space and General Noisy blowing their trumpet on parade.

    Imposter syndrome can be a blight.  Yes, it can be a driving force but if it gets out of hand it can affect many aspects of your life and in a negative way.  Lack of confidence in yourself manifests in the risks you take, the opportunities you take up, the financial decisions you take. Or more likely the ones you don't.   I know that a healthy attitude towards risk is important if you are to get on in life.

    The problem I find with Imposter Syndrome is that, in your head you known you know your stuff, but your heart doesn't believe it.

    I do wonder if, in extreme cases, psychological counselling might be the way forward.

  • David.Poole wrote:

    ...

    I do wonder if, in extreme cases, psychological counselling might be the way forward.

    I agree with Jeff that it is a good driver, but if the worry does really get to you I think CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) can be effective. YMMV of course.

  • As one who both studied Psychology and has experienced psychological counselling, I would say that usually a good swift kick in the arse is more effective and lots less expensive.

    Rick

    One of the best days of my IT career was the day I told my boss if the problem was so simple he should go fix it himself.

  • David.Poole wrote:

    The 1st time I came across imposter syndrome was in the context of the  Dunning-Kruger Effect.  I think every normal person suffers from it to some degree or another.

    There are some people who never get off mount stupid.  The danger comes when the confidence such people have is mistaken for competence.  We've all seen Captain Cockup, Major Waste-of-space and General Noisy blowing their trumpet on parade.

    Imposter syndrome can be a blight.  Yes, it can be a driving force but if it gets out of hand it can affect many aspects of your life and in a negative way.  Lack of confidence in yourself manifests in the risks you take, the opportunities you take up, the financial decisions you take. Or more likely the ones you don't.   I know that a healthy attitude towards risk is important if you are to get on in life.

    The problem I find with Imposter Syndrome is that, in your head you known you know your stuff, but your heart doesn't believe it.

    I do wonder if, in extreme cases, psychological counselling might be the way forward.

    David, thank you very much for sharing about the Dunning-Kruger Effect. I've never heard of it, nor have I heard of McArthur Wheeler. However, I have known people who have believed themselves to be more competent at something than they really were.

    And I also thank you for what you've said about the potential negative consequences of impostor syndrome. As I've said earlier, I suffer from it to my detriment. I've not applied for jobs I may actually have been good at, because I was too afraid of not being good enough. Also, I've resisted giving presentations at some group meetings (e.g.: my local .NET user group), because I've believed no one would care to listen to whatever I have to say. Even now I don't know how right I was about the decisions I've made to hold myself back. I'm sure I was right about at least some of them, if not most of them.

    But I wonder now what opportunities I've missed because I didn't trust myself.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    Thank you for this article, Steve. I suffer from impostor's syndrome. There are definite times I've felt inadequate. In fact, impostor's syndrome has prevented me from applying for more than one job in the past.

    But I've got a question for you, Steve. Unless I'm misreading your article, I got the impression you meant to share a link to the marketing article you mentioned being shared at Red Gate, which would benefit technologists. Unless that's an internal Red Gate article where you shouldn't share it, would you please share it with us?

    It's linked in there: https://www.marketingweek.com/mark-ritson-impostor-syndrome-cure/

  • I think Imposter Syndrome is a good driver, and has been for me.

    However, it can be crippling, it can lead people to shy away from and avoid taking chances on growing or tackling projects. It can lead people to stay in a job instead of looking for another one.

    It's all about finding some balance. A bit of Imposter Syndrome is good. Too much is bad. Just as too much bluster and arrogance is usually not good.

  • I think Imposter Syndrome is a good driver, and has been for me.

    However, it can be crippling, it can lead people to shy away from and avoid taking chances on growing or tackling projects. It can lead people to stay in a job instead of looking for another one.

    It's all about finding some balance. A bit of Imposter Syndrome is good. Too much is bad. Just as too much bluster and arrogance is usually not good.

  • Thank you very much, Steve, for sharing the link on Marketing Week.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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