Today's a new day, with new experiences, challenges and opportunities.
That's true every day. But especially today. For today I'm starting a new job.
It's always a mixture of excitement, relief and nerves. Excited and relieved to finally get going, and nervous to live up to the expectations others have of me.
That's imposter syndrome, and I definitely feel it right now. Do they realise what I don't know? Do they realise what I still need to get better at? Am I really a good hire for them?
Imposter syndrome is tricky. You see yourself in a mirror and think, who is that dude? Is he really what they think he is? Is he really fitting for this job?
The funny thing about imposter syndrome is its opposite cousin, the Dunning Kruger effect. This is where you over-estimate your expertises in a field and think yourself an expert when really you know hardly anything at all.
We all start out with very little knowledge of how to do a specific job. But as we go and learn, we start to understand a little of what's required of us. At this stage we often think we know more than we actually do. This stage is uninformed optimism. We feel we're approaching the top of the hill ahead of us.
After this, comes the dip. This is where you start to realise your faults. You come to the top of your hill, and realise it was just one of many, and there's a far bigger hill behind it. You've not conquered as much as you thought.
Then the hard work begins. Gone is the honeymoon phase, the nice little hill. Now you're facing something far bigger. It's in facing this hill that imposter syndrome really strikes in. We see how far off we are from the summit and doubt whether we're any good at all.
Part of me wonders how possible it is for us to objectively weigh our skills and contribution. It feels as though, no matter how good we might get, that there'd always be this sense of imposter syndrome. We'd always feel like we got a bit lucky and we're not as good as others think we are.
It makes me wonder, if we're not very good at self-evaluation, then can we really know if we are good at a job or not? Imposter syndrome could be a sign that you're aware of your weaknesses, you have a lot of known unknowns. That's cool. But it could just be that you're genuinely not as good at your job as people think you are, and it's only a matter of time until they find out.
And there lies the crux of the imposter syndrome. Back round we go. That fear of being found out as an imposter. Inescapable, it seems. The only way to escape it I've found, it so head back to the Dunning Kruger effect. Live life in the unknown unknowns and believe they're not there. Ignore what you don't know.
But that's not where we operate. And so, today, as I start a new role, my old friend of imposter syndrome is here too.
But that's cool. We've gone far enough on this journey together already, and we go this far.
Today's the start of a new chapter, and I'm both nervous and excited.