I have heard the term “Impostor Syndrome” thrown around a lot lately to the point where I don’t believe its meaning is truly agreed upon. I know I have a bit of impostor syndrome going on, but now it feels like saying that is supposed to be a badge of honor. So now I prefer to think of it for what it really is: self-doubt.

I am at a point in my career where people look up to me because of the impact I’ve made. It’s hard to write that because I’m thinking to myself “why would people look up to me? I’m no different from anybody else.” From what I’ve heard, this is a common feeling among software engineers who present or want to present at conferences, those who write or want to write blogs, and those with higher positions at their companies.

The advice I commonly hear is something along the lines of:

You have something you know well - even if you’re not a leading expert on it, you can still teach others.

This is true! And if you are afforded an opportunity, you likely have what it takes to accept that opportunity. I have doubted (and still frequently do) whether my thoughts and ideas are truly valuable. But when I begin to think that way, I remember the idea above and recognize my feeling for what it is.

So now I choose not to think of how I feel as impostor syndrome, but as self-doubt. When I use that term, I quickly convince myself that I can overcome it. And I do.