How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome

You don’t have to be a guru, you can be a guide.

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Probably you ever heard about Impostor Syndrome, and probably if you’re a content creator you have struggled with it at some point in your life. It’s not funny to ever feel this. So… I want to share with your my personal life lesson story about how I overcame Impostor Syndrome.

This is something I have been struggling with for a long time. With this platform, or my blog, or my career as an engineer, basically, with everything that I’ve done, I’ve always had a sense of how am I the person to be doing this? Why are people taking me seriously? All of these thoughts associated around this idea of that, “maybe I just kind of got lucky”, and thinking “what the hell do I do with it now?” And I think over time I have gotten better at dealing with this Impostor Syndrome. I mean… I still get it all the time.

So, let’s talk about a story (of many) in my life where I really experienced Impostor Syndrome and lessons that I learned from it, which I’ve now taken forward, and I’m trying to apply to my life today.

It was really recent when I published an article where I was talking about NFTs, and how to convert your art into an NFT and sell it. In those articles, I explained everything I knew about that trending topic. I had so much impostor syndrome going into this, because the feeling in my mind was, “How am I the one to talk about this?

I’m really new working on Medium and I only have 300 something followers, surely people should be listening to Mike Schwartz or Bettina Warburg which are blockchain research experts. So… “Why am I the one that people are coming to for this sort of information?”

I think a lot of it came because I thought that I had nothing really to teach. Because of all of the information and stuff that I know about NFTs and Cryptocurrencies, I just kind of got that off the internet. Like YouTube and TED Talks. I also made a free course about Cryptocurrencies by Harvard & MIT on EDX. Then searching for more information on the internet, I felt like there was nothing new or interesting, and it was all kind of just obvious stuff.

Some articles I read were people saying “you should invest in this crypto” or “Do you want free money, you just need to invest $100 and in three months you will be reached” All kinds of scams. And, of course, there were also some really interesting articles talking about some interesting cryptocurrencies. But I felt like there was a lack of information about the projects and engineering behind them.

As an engineer, I always wonder about some information that needs to be answered before I invest my money in some cryptocurrency or blockchain, such as:

  • What am I investing in?
  • What is the project about?
  • What solution does it offer?
  • Why is this the best solution compared to any other similar cryptocurrency?
  • What’s the technology or engineering behind it?

And as time passed, people were reaching to me through social media, saying “Oh my God! This is actually groundbreaking information!.”

Source: Twitter

I think we all have this thing. When we teach something or when we explain something, if we’re teaching something it’s kind of obvious to us, and we don’t appreciate that, what’s obvious to us can be amazing to others.

I read this in a Derek Sivers’ blogpost, “Obvious to you. Amazing to others”, a few years ago, and I often return to it. It’s this idea of the course of knowledge. Once we know something we think it’s no longer interesting and we think surely it’s obvious, everyone must know that thing.

And, I think, we have all these systems about how to invest and knowledge about these new technologies. And, I wasn’t born being able to know that kind of stuff. I just internalized it over two and half years of studying and investing in cryptocurrencies, and reading a ton of blockchain books and investing books, and business books, and applying all this information to create an NFT.

So, in my head it was like, “All these things are obvious. Surely there’s nothing new here”, but actually this was blowing people’s minds. And, so it was a real illustration that what’s obvious to you can be amazing to others.

And this is one of the many issues people have when it comes to writing articles, or starting a YouTube channel, or starting a blog, or starting a podcast, or just putting yourself out there in any way. It’s that we don’t feel like our own ideas are worth anything because there are our ideas and we have come across them somewhere, and now they feel really obvious to us.

And so that’s one thing that I keep on trying to remind myself of any time I get this impostor syndrome springing up, that what’s obvious to us, can be amazing to others.

One day I was talking about this with a friend of mine, and the advice she gave me, which I think about basically every day, was that you don’t have to be a guru, you can be a guide.

Now, what’s the difference between those two?

A guru is someone who comes down from the top of the mountain and says, “Look at me, I am the expert. I have all the answers”. Whereas a guide is someone who is on the same journey as you, and a guide says “I don’t have the answers, but we’re on the same path. Why don’t we kind of approach it together? I’ll show you what I’ve discovered so far.” And I found that, that framing of it, guide rather than guru, has really helped me overcome some of my impostor syndrome associated with writing on Medium.

Because of the way I’m approaching it, it’s not that look at me, I’m the expert about all things NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and blockchains. I’m the expert on how to figure out what to do with your life. It’s more like, I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life, but I’ve got the chance to write this article about NFTs and I’ve read lots of books about Blockchains. So, why don’t we explore together, me and the reader, what other people have written on the topic and what studies have been done about it, and how NFTs are going to change the way we sell unique pieces of art, or how cryptocurrencies are changing the economy of the entire world, what are the projects and technology behind them, and then figuring out how we can invest on it efficiently?

And the more I think about the more I see this guru versus guide thing play out in other aspects of life as well. The key thing that I always have to remind myself of is that you don’t need to be an expert. I don’t have to pretend to be a guru, which I’m not, I can just be a guide and I can help people, explore and go on the same journey that I’ve been going on. And that’s the journey that I hopefully wanna take the readers on as well.

Btw, if you’re thinking of starting a blog, or starting to write on Medium, or putting yourself out there in some way and impostor syndrome has been holding you back, I want to tell you that… Go for it! Just do it!

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Human; Engineer. I tried to be normal once… Worst two minutes of my life. 🪴

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