So I am freshly back from a professional conference in San Diego. I had a lot of fun presenting some information relating to troubleshooting complicated SQL queries, along with a perspective on how to go about creating a library of SQL Views that can be utilized over and over in various aspects of code. However, I got compliment after compliment about my presentation, which – to be honest – is a little more than enough to knock me off balance.
See, I don’t do a great job of taking compliments. Maybe a lot of that comes from elsewhere in my life, but it is a thing in my current point in life. Its not so much the compliment itself that makes me want to shy away from the moment, but more of not knowing what to do after the compliment is offered. Its really a moment of unbalance for me.
How to go about dealing with it? I’m not completely sure. But I can’t run from all of it. Some folks call this concept “Imposter Syndrome”. According to some Psychology texts and websites, its a psychological condition where someone feels that the accomplishments that they have made are not true, and that someone will expose them as a fraud. But I sincerely don’t really have the full blown aspects of this concept.
I don’t feel like my accomplishments are untrue. I know that I am good at what I do, despite what I have been told by a few others. Yes, having my work constantly checked over can sometimes feel demeaning, but at the same time, I welcome the scrutiny, as it helps me to see the smaller details that I generally miss, such as headers and footers. Those details mean so little to me, since I don’t worry about stuff like that. The data is more important to me than what it gets titled or labeled as. Nor do I feel like I am going to be exposed as a fraud at any moment. But rarely do I get complimented on what I do, or even what I create. Perhaps its less of an Imposter Syndrome, and more of a degree of mental conditioning that has taken place over an extended period of time.
There was; however, a moment of exultation, where a feeling of triumph arises when one’s peers’ recognize the hard work and effort that was put into a particular creation. I can literally say that this feeling was present throughout the rest of the conference for me. Where I really felt like something that I had created was recognized for the achievement that it was.
These type of feelings are really easy to go through when dealing with the Gods as well. Much of what gets done with the Gods is not normally in physical form. There’s a lot of internal reaction/action that takes place. You can try your best to articulate things to others, but Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG) is easily dismissed by others. being dismissed out of hand, over and over, can take its toll on who you find yourself to be. Until you find that one person (or group of persons) that not only understand where you are coming from, but have similar experiences to share. Its a moment of validation (of sorts), that can really buoy an individual’s moments of personal skepticism.
You’ve heard the political adage that a lie that is told often enough will eventually be believed as the truth, right? The same can be true for being told over and over again that its “all in your head.” The implication is that you just make it up, when the reality is completely different. Some of the experiences you have are things you would never dream up. Some are so fantastical that you just don’t have the words to really convey the imagery of what you experienced. I completely grok that perspective. I have been there more often than I care to admit. Self-doubt can be a strong experience, especially when accompanied by the nay-saying of others.
Imposter Syndrome is discussed at a great deal throughout the internet these days. Understandably so. Throughout our closer-knit world – knitted together via the internet – there is always someone around willing to spit on your parade and attempt to convince you that it is raining. Recently, I decided to stop answering private questions openly on Facebook for that very reason. Apparently, someone felt that they needed to grind an axe with me for whatever reason, and started making extremely rude commentary. I hated to shut down the entire concept, as it was fun (originally) for me. However, there comes a point where I have to walk away and continue life in other directions.
Remember, there’s more to life than being validated by others. Be good at what you do. Be humble enough to admit to mistakes when you make them (and you will). As I have said in nearly every one of my presentations, I am not an expert. I am; however, more than willing to experiment to try and find the answers, if I can.