Aaaah imposter syndrome.
I wanted to share my experiences as both a researcher and neurodivergent person.
I hope this shows you that you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you.
And I've written about reasons for imposter syndrome in data scientists before.
Imposter Syndrome and Neurodivergence
I have a special relationship with imposter syndrome.
As a neurodivergent person, I never quite fit in. As someone that has been bullied the "not fitting in" has been driven home violently.
So I always feel like a bit of an imposter anyways. When it comes to work, learning and teaching, even more so.
Imposter Syndrome in the Education System
Neurodivergent people learn differently and have great pattern recognition.
Classic learning facilities are not built for that, so it's all slow step by step learning. My maths teachers were curious how I understood quadratic formulas, when it was just the same as a linear equation we learned a year ago but with an extra term.
Slow, steady, boring.
So then when I can't remember a basic concept, people tell me it's impossible I could explain an advanced concept.
The feedback is very disheartening.
And I have internalised a lot of this for years unfortunately. Working on that.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Did I ever overcome imposter syndrome?
My successes only lead me into rooms with even more impressive people.
Did I always wonder how people get hundreds of followers?
Yes, until I had 100s of followers and compared myself to people with 1000s. Now I'm at 15k followers on Linkedin, so I wonder how people get 100k or 10k on Twitter, or 10k on Youtube.
Coping with Imposter Syndrome
What are some of my coping skills?
You'll forget tomorrow, so pop the champagne today. First $100 on Skillshare?
1000 followers on Twitter?
Gave a talk at a conference?
Keep a log book
Log things you've done, small or big, so you can keep track, even if your week felt like you did nothing.
Look back on your micro-accomplishments to understand where all the time went.
Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly.
Everyone tells you how important plans are. Well, you have to review how your plans played out.
Review your progress each week, roll that into months etc etc.
Speaking of Plans...
I make weekly to yearly plans.
Yearly are big picture. Themes. Weekly are "this has to get done" operational tasks (Monthly and quarterly are in between with projects etc).
This ensures the your big picture is aligned with your small tasks.
Hard to be an imposter if your work is aligned.
You have to take yourself serious to think you're an imposter.
So if you give yourself space to laugh at yourself and the work you're in, you have less space to "fake it".
Few people are doing neurosurgery or rocket science, and even if...
Some stuff about rockets is inherently funny...
I run a few browser extensions to block out Twitter, facebook, linkedin.
It's so easy to feel less-than on these platforms.
I scrolled a bit this morning, and immediately I'm doubting if I every achieved anything in my life. Blocking feeds is great, so then you can engage intentionally for inspiration when you need it.
You know it.
Talking to people
When you talk to your idols, you'll quickly realise if and how much of an imposter you are.
A monolithic personality is easy to shatter.
If you have many things going on, e.g. artist, parent, runner, then setbacks or doubts in one aspect do not shatter you to the core.
Just like in finance, diversifying is a good idea.