This is an inwards-facing post, which you may or may not find valuable. The short version is: TL;DR: Do something that scares you. Perhaps submit a proposal for a conferences Call-For-Papers?
Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak at NDC Oslo, with a dear friend and colleague of mine. An experience I will cherish with personal growth and many connections made.
I feel, though, I had the home-side advantage. Presenting in my country of residence. On stage with a colleague that had my back. The topic was in context of my employer, who was well-known for the home audience.
I’m not trying to de-evaluate the accomplishment, but rather the potential and hunger to take the next step. But is it worth it?
Talks are fun, but they take a silly amount of time to prepare for. I'm thinking it's not really worth it.
— Tomas Ekeli (@tomasekeli) September 10, 2016
The next step, maybe
Fast forward a summer vacation / paternity leave and the speakers-high has started to wear off. I’m curious if I can make the step to an international arena, alone. Searching around I stumble over The Lead Developer New York, and decide I want to try for that.
I take a first step, and ask for feedback on the talk from NDC Oslo. Feedback is decent, but there’s a lot of work involved to re-angle it for it to work in that setting. Challenge accepted…but not today.
A few weeks more go by, and I’ve procrastinated away my first opportunity as a CFP (Call For Papers) goes by. Too much going on, or so I say to myself.
Reality check. I can actually do this if I want to. Then Imposter Syndrome strikes. Hard. More procrastinating. Some interactions, and writing the blog post on Imposter Syndrome remind me of what I need to do.
Last week I submitted a proposal for a talk that’s been swirling in my head for some time for The Lead Developer London 2017. I have no idea if it will get accepted, but I’ve taken the first step.
The journey from idea to submitting a proposal is a tale of missed opportunities, failure to take action, internal struggles with my self-worth, but most importantly growth.
For the record, the title of the talk is “You are more than just your code“.
What’s holding you back from taking the first step towards something that scares you?
Reach out to me directly if you have any thoughts, questions or criticisms. Or leave a comment below.
There are times in life where no matter what happens, you feel like a fraud. Where your inner critic says you aren’t worthy or capable of doing a certain task, even if you’re good at it. I asked a few friends to share some experiences of theirs where their inner imposter spoke over their own skills:
“Sometimes when I’m part of a discussion on politics I just say something and shy away”.
“How can I ask for more pay? I’m nowhere near as good as …”.
“I can’t hold a presentation at [some event]. I’m no expert on this topic”.
“I love pair-programming, but hate when I’m typing. What if they realise I need to google simple things? Would they think less of me?”.
“I can’t write blog posts. People will laugh at my lack of knowledge”.
You’ve probably experienced some thoughts along those lines. You doubt yourself with every brain-cell and are afraid someone will call you out for being a fraud. I know I have. You see, those experiences arent from friends of mine. They’re actually my own.
Yet I know I can do all of them, I get feedback from my friends, peers even strangers confirming the value of what I do. Why is it then so hard to recognize my accomplishments?