software solutions / project leadership / agile coaching and training

Impostor syndrome is bringing us down

Posted on January 2, 2018

I have a young daughter, which means that my life consists of the Frozen soundtrack being played relatively consistently in my house. The most popular song, “Let It Go”, it about a girl’s struggle to break free from having to impress people and put up a front to a place of empowerment where she can take on any challenge that comes her way and reach her limitless potential. They create these movies to encourage young girls to feel empowered and to feel that they can take on the world. Maybe the rest of us should start listening as well.

The fact is that so many people are struggling with impostor syndrome, or a feeling of incompetence, that you’re not good enough to succeed at something, or fear of being exposed as as fraud. This is stopping people from taking on new challenges and feeling empowered to succeed.

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know

We’ve all been in situations at times where we’ve been in over our head. It’s an uncomfortable feeling for sure. We’ve all had our shares of successes and failures. And yet we all woke up the next day with a new chance to make something of our day.

Think of the people that you know who are out there making a difference, succeeding in a new role at work, or having an impact in some way. I’m going to let you in a little secret – they’re all in over their head.

The fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

I always want to be in a place where I’m a little bit uncomfortable. It’s not always fun and maybe I lose a bit of sleep at night, but there’s no better way to grow. There’s nothing more satisfying then having to take on a challenge that you’re not totally prepared to handle and then finding a way to make it work.

But maybe more important is being able to not be a slave to fear. There is enough stress in life, the last thing I need to add is fear of failure. I run across so many people who are very talented but are too afraid to step up and take on a new challenge. I run into people who are afraid to have kids because they are afraid that they won’t know how to be a good parent.

Even writing that last paragraph makes me sad. We are sitting on a wealth of untapped potential. So many people could do something great if they just were willing to step out into the unknown. The world desperately needs people with enough confidence to step up and make a difference.

You may feel like this describes how you feel about yourself. You might think that the worst thing that can happen is failing. I think the worst thing that can happen is that you fail to even make an attempt. Sure, you will guarantee that you won’t fail, but you will be left to deal with your own inability to step out into the unknown.

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

Imagine what your life would be like if you weren’t afraid of failing. Imagine if you didn’t care what people thought about you. Imagine if you looked at a mountain in front of you and saw an exciting challenge instead of an overwhelming obstacle.

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on

Life is hard, and downright scary at times, but we all are here for a reason and we can all make a difference, if we’re just willing to give it a try.

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I have over 15 years of software development experience on several different platforms (.NET, Ruby, JavaScript, SQL Server, and more). I recognize that software is expensive, so I'm always trying to find ways to speed up the software development process, but at the same time remembering that high quality is essential to building software that stands the test of time.
I have experience leading and architecting large Agile software projects and coordinating all aspects of a project's lifecycle. Whether you're looking for technical expertise or someone to lead all aspects of an Agile project, I have proven experience from multiple projects in different environments that can help make your project a success.
Every team and every situation is different, and I believe that processes and tools should be applied with common sense. I've spent the last 10+ years working on projects using Agile and Lean concepts in many different environments, both in leadership roles and as a practitioner doing the work. I can help you develop a process that works best in your organization, not just apply a prescriptive process.
Have any questions? Contact me for more information.
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