I’m very lucky. I don’t suffer from “impostor syndrome” and here’s why…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “Imposter Syndrome“, this is it in a nutshell:

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

There are quite a lot of WordCamp talks that cover “imposter syndrome” and I think that’s fantastic because so many people are suffering from it and when people give those talks it really helps people open up and talk about their feelings! I definitely want to see more people doing talks about “imposter syndrome”.

That being said, I’m lucky I don’t suffer from it and here’s a bit of a list of why that’s the case:

  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

    If you don’t know something then don’t stew on it for hours and not ask for help. Ask early and ask often! You’ll quickly find out people are more willing to help than “judge” you.
  • Someone will always know more than you about any given topic.

    When you stop trying to think you need to be the best at everything, the imposter syndrome can quickly melt away.
  • Everyone wants you to grow. Both personally and professionally.

    You might not think that’s the case but that’s probably because you’re used to thinking negatively because of the “imposter syndrome”.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.

    This was one of the biggest ones for me to get over. As human beings we tend to always compare ourselves to our friends, family and co-workers. We always tend to want what someone else has rather than just being in the moment and loving everything we have. Maybe it’s just me but the simple things in life are the most rewarding for me. Hugs, music, food, laughter and sunsets are my favourite things. Most of those are free! A fancy house or car isn’t going to make you happy!
  • You’re not alone.

    Most people seem to suffer the “imposter syndrome” so make sure you don’t internalise it and talk about it with people. It’ll be a massive weight off your mind!
Bronson Quick
  1. Chris

    A couple points because I don’t believe it’s necessarily as easy as just not living with imposter syndrome.

    You’re not alone.

    The problem is, some people are. I mean not in a “I’m so alone” sort of way, I don’t believe they actually are, but it’s hard to feel connected to a community or any kind of other developers if, for example, you’re freelancing and you work solo. Which is what I did for a long time. And I never felt “good enough” to contribute to WordPress core primarily because I wasn’t part of the Cool Kids crowd or didn’t know enough or whatever. Which leads to my second point…

    Stop comparing yourself to others.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this. Because I worked alone, I always assumed everyone else was just way ahead of me in terms of knowledge and skill. It wasn’t until I started working for an agency that I saw that other people were, actually, quite a lot like me, and that I knew a lot more than I thought I did. This blew me away for quite a long time, and, if I’m honest, it still kind of does. The takeaway is that it was only through comparing myself to others — by seeing that we’re all more or less in the same place — and seeing that there are things that other people aren’t good at just as much as there are things that I am good at and that there’s an opportunity there to learn from each other, that I was able to get past my own imposter syndrome.

    Comparing yourself to others is harmful if you’re doing it from a standpoint of awe or worship or fanboy/-girlishness as opposed to actually working alongside them and having a conversation with them. Comparing yourself to others that you work with is helpful in understanding what you know, what you don’t know, what you are good at, and what you need/want to learn.

    • Bronson Quick

      Thanks for the comment Chris! Good points as always

      It’s interesting that you mentioned it can be hard to be connected to a community or other devs when we’re freelancing or working alone. I’ve found that our local WordPress Meetups have been great for connecting lots of freelancers and entrepreneurs.

      I really enjoyed your insight into “Stop comparing yourself to others.” I think the talks about imposter syndrome in the WordPress space always do come from a place of awe and worship. It’s not until you work with agencies or teams that you realise where your talents lie. When you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur you get used to working in a bubble so that tends to lend to self doubt. We’re super lucky to be working at a company where we have a great range of talented people so if we don’t know something we can reach out for help knowing we won’t be judged for not knowing something.


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