Imposter syndrome: Overcoming it with a simple algorithm

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The imposter syndrome by definition is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally. (source: Wikipedia)

Being confident in a fast-growing and innovative world such as software development is
Not that simple and easy as many people think it is. New techs are emerging at a tremendous speed, bloggers and YouTubers are showing their accomplishment, so you keep on asking yourself what about me, will I achieve one day, or is not my cup of tea, and that’s the beginning of all the problems. I’ve experienced (and still experience in a lesser way) that problem and I know how difficult it is to overcome imposter syndrome and how bad it impacts your personal and professional life.

As programming is about problem-solving, logical thinking is the masterpiece for all developers (which I will develop in the next article), knowing that imposter syndrome is an affective problem, not a cognitive one, I decided to figure out the process for solving that issue using what I learn about algorithms and logical thinking. Imposter syndrome is like a black hole, if you do not get out of its range it will swallow you up and you will not be able to let your competence shine. So, I broke down the problem into many pieces and solved them.

Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

1 — Talk about it

As I stated earlier is an affective problem you don’t have to solve it on your own. By doing so, you are fighting a battle that you will never win, so the help of others is crucial, let them do that for you. Mostly it has to do with low self-esteem in some way, find honest and trusty people, let them know that you suffer from imposter syndrome, gather their feedback about you and your work.

def honestFeedback(me, myWork)

me = what they think about me

myWork = how they are evaluating my work

If (me != positive || myWork != positive) {

return not suffering imposter syndrome, other problem

return honestFeedback

end

2 — Ask for help

Talking about something and asking for help are two different things, talking about something could lead people to help you or not, whereas by asking for help you are engaging others to act accordingly to their goodwill. Attending workshops, watching videos, or reading articles about overcoming imposter syndrome is very good, you will learn from others, but finding help from your immediate surroundings is better because they will watch over you and what you do, they will boost your confidence and even make you brag about it.

def isImposterSyndrome?(help)

help.each do | confidence |

booster = confidence x confidence

return booster

end

3 — Do a self-assessment

Now is time to make an auto-evaluation, you already know what others think about you and your competencies, and due to imposter syndrome, you always felt like you are a fraud. Ask yourself, are they right? Put your feelings aside and evaluate the situation, remember that the two previous methods are adding values to the situation. Now you start believing in your competence, you know your flaws, you know your strength, you know there will always room for improvement.

class ImposterOvercome

def honestFeedback(me, myWork)

me = what they really think about me

myWork = how their are evaluating my work

If me != positive || myWork != positive

return not suffering imposter syndrome, other problem

return honestFeedback

end

def isImposterSyndrome?(help)

help.each do | confidence |

booster = confidence x confidence

return booster

end

Def autoEvaluation

honestFeedback

Booster

end

end

4 — Retrospective

Take a look back from where you started and why you started it, how was the beginning compared to now, is there growth or regression? This process is vital to overcome the imposter syndrome because it will help you to see how far you’ve come and how much you have done, the learning process, the engagement, the purpose that drives you to be who you are and do what you do.

5 — Celebrations

We know that you must stay focused, but that doesn’t mean rejecting joy and happiness. When I say celebrations are not only about partying (in some type of way), but you must, and I insist on it, celebrate every single achievement without any regard, showcase your work, let the world know what you can do, and what you have done. By doing so you are pulling yourself out of the range of the imposter syndrome blackhole, and start shining like a star. Celebrating every achievement allows you to create your gravitational system, that’s where the ride begins, you will enjoy all the effort that you put into that work, all the sleepless nights, all the burnout, and you will see there is no luck but only consistency and hard work.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is all about creating an ecosystem to pull you and keep you out of that situation. From my experience I was suffering a lot about it, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and decide to share my experience to help others, but by any means stay humble, even if you overcome imposter syndrome, people around are great resources, educate yourself about that situation, stay logic, because how you feel will affect your works but doesn’t have really anything to do with your competencies. Remember to lay your hand to pull someone else out of the imposter syndrome black hole.

Denis Lafontant, Full-Stack Web Developer

Microverse Full-Stack Web Development, Microverse mentor, former senior official, Programmer Analyst of the Haitian National Police, graduating student in Law.