Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Like most millennials these days who spend too much time on the internet inevitably coming across their daily affirmation via their favorite (and not so favorite) social media platforms making them regress into their mental cocoon of dopamine — (10 points for Gryffindor if you said it in the voice) —
I am reminded of how much I have changed, overcome, and stopped worrying about in the last 7 months of learning coding bootcamp with Flatiron School.
The not so simple answer: It’s all a mental game in your head, and you need to go easy on yourself.
You can find my personal growth story in my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Here, I will just lay down some thoughts you can think about in hopes to help you overcome your imposter syndrome:
If you have ever said the phrase, or anything similar, to: “That’s not me, I can’t do that. I’m not built that way.” Don’t you think that’s a bit unfair? You are saying that you are pre-destined to not achieve the goals and success that others just like you can. If that were true, then no one can rewrite their destinies or take control of their own lives- they wouldn’t be able to lose weight, win awards, find love (again), escape destitute situations, etc. But human beings are a unique species that can change their entire set of circumstances from mental to physical. We are merely blank programs. We write the codes and functions for our lives. If you say there is a limit to your capabilities, I say you can upgrade your system and get the code you want running. How the program gets written is different for everybody, so long as it executes, right?
A majority of those who enter coding boot camps are going to school again or reinventing their life. We have to learn a whole new set of skills, in a way that is unlike how we’ve done learning before (we are not in our undergrad anymore, Toto…), and we must have the humility to admit we could be the dumbest or slowest person in the room- AND THAT IS OKAY. It is not a race or an exhibition of skill. Be excited to learn something new that will change YOUR life. Think about who you are doing this for- everyone else and their opinions shouldn’t matter.
Since we are in the age of cancel culture, how about we cancel feeling embarrassed to ask for help if it jeopardizes our growth. “I couldn’t get the help I needed because I was too afraid to ask.” Even if we wanted to do something ourselves, like lose weight or re-paint the apartment, we would still seek guidance from the internet or a professional. So what is it you are afraid of? To be laughed and pointed at by someone who is in the same position as you if you speak up in class? Or what your teacher/cohort lead thinks about you? This is the time to open those re-shared memes about “Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you stunt your growth.” Say you do ask questions that for whatever reason you feel is dumb- what is the WORST thing that could happen? Did you die? This episode from the Mindset Mentor podcast put it into perspective for me to think about my fears pragmatically. Everything we have done and discovered in our life is through trial and error. How often do we get it right the first time? Everyone, including your classmates, are still figuring it out and will continue to keep figuring it out.
You are only competing against yourself. Do not let your fear set your limitations. Again, think about your fear as the bug in your system that debilitates you from running (speaking in programming metaphors again), but the person next to you functions just fine with their fear bug. Do they have less fears? How unfair would it be if you could not fix your fear bugs. Why do they get to work and you error out?
To speak bluntly, ask yourself first is it that you can’t, or that you won’t? So here is where I’ll put in a personal story. I convinced myself I was not a “computers” person until I thought about how I am just a computer that can have whatever programs running and defining me as a machine. I can write my functions how I see it. No one was writing the code for me. I was full of fear, but at the end of the day, no one was laughing at me. I’ve received so much praise for trying something new with my life. For every person that told me, “I can’t do what you do”, I remind myself its because they don’t want to do it. My life is full of trying new things and learning new skills. I’m a very fearful person but I push through anyway. The times that I have succeeded were the times when I thought the prize blurred out the negative voices in my head. That is the headspace I need to be at in order to finish this course.
The Most Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: thin, soft & chewy center, crisp edges. 2 cups chocolate chips of choice, 2 cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp baking soda. 1 egg. 2 egg yolks. Roll into any size ball and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350'F for 7–8 minutes. Very important: as soon as you see the edges turn brown is when you remove the cookies from the oven, but leave them on the baking sheet to absorb a little more heat from the hot pan. TRUST ME ON THIS. Place somewhere until cookie and baking sheet has cooled down. They will look undone and feel soft, but when they start to cool, they will flatten.
I recommend testing this recipe and my baking technique on at least 1 cookie first to see if you like it. Otherwise, Google other baking techniques.