I recently read a colleagues blog post ‘You, Me and Impostor Syndrome’.
Although I didn’t feel like I was an active suffer of impostor syndrome, it was certainly thought-provoking. I started to look at my own behaviour whilst at work and how I managed myself in various conversations.
A couple of weeks passed and I’d come to the conclusion that even though I could exude confidence, I felt out of my depth more often than not.
I’m the metaphorical duck; seemingly relaxed on the surface but frantically paddling to stay afloat.
I’m not saying this will sooth anyone else’s feelings, but recognising and admitting how I was feeling (even if that was only out loud in front of a mirror) resulted in a sense of calmness.
Sure, I could be better in this and probably a lot better in that — but what was I actively doing to improve my skills?
After slugging my way through the car park also known as the M6 motorway, I sit myself down at my desk and pull out the post-it note I’ve been carrying around all day.
Sometimes it is blank, but other days it is littered with buzzwords mentioned in conversations I’ve heard throughout the day. I do a quick search on them to try and ascertain further understanding so I wouldn’t look like a deer in headlights when one of those words gets thrown my way.
Some days I succeed in being honest and requesting a deeper explanation to improve my understanding. Other days I got the words down on my post-it note.
To start tipping the balance on my day to day struggles, I’ve started to reassure myself that ‘there are no stupid questions’.
“There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”
Carl Sagan: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
If I could ensure that someone takes something from this post, I hope it is the above.
I’ve heard around the office that several colleagues are taking part in exciting side projects in their personal time.
Tom Goodhead’s post on overcoming impostor syndrome explains that regardless of where you are in your career, ‘there is always room for improvement’.
With this in mind, I figured a side project of my own could be a creative outlet and enforce some ‘deliberate practice’ to start honing my abilities.
For those that are also looking to start their own path of deliberate practice but are unsure where to start, I suggest you look into investing some time into a side project.
The project can be anything you want but be sure to sprinkle in a few elements that will challenge you and force deeper understanding in various aspects you want to improve in.