Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people aren’t able to internalize or accept their accomplishments. Regardless of evidence to the contrary, there’s always a feeling that you don’t quite belong or that you’ve fooled everyone into believing you’re smarter than you actually are. You’re an imposter. A fraud.

So let’s skip the Wikipedia definition and get to the point: I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome. A lot.

A prime example of this was the first iteration of CSSForge. I wrote so few articles because I was always afraid of writing the wrong thing, making myself seem incompetent. So it sat there collecting dust.

Then, a couple of months ago, Sara Wachter-Boettcher wrote an article titled “The Imperfectionist“. It was one of those moments where everything sort of clicked.

I wasn’t the only one who struggled with imposter syndrome.

Sara’s article was a turning point for me. That day, I decided that I was going to cut down on the number of projects that I was working on and focus on shipping and iterating. I realized that it was time for me to put my work out there and stop being so paralyzed by the thought of “what if they think I’m stupid?”

Six days later, I relaunched CSSForge with a brand new design and renewed vigor.

In the last month and a half, I have posted 16 articles on CSSForge, gotten my first speaking engagement, redesigned my portfolio, shipped a couple client projects, and have just generally felt better about the work that I’m putting out there.

And you know what? No one has called me out or shamed me for not knowing things.

I won’t go so far as to say I’m in the clear now; in fact, I’m sure that I will struggle more in the future. But for now, I’m enjoying having the monkey off my back for a bit.