Impostor Syndrome

“I’m good enough.  I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me.”
I feel like I’ve had to say this to myself more often.  The impostor syndrome has been hitting hard lately.  Watching social media, I think it’s been hitting others in the industry as well.  I thought it would be a good topic to write about and research what this “Impostor Syndrome” really means.

I’ve recently switched jobs going from an internal operations IT engineer, to a post-delivery consultant.  I’m meeting new customers on a regular basis discussing issues they are having and helping them make the right business decisions.  Each phone call is like a blind date.  I have no idea what to expect going into the call.

Is the person on the other side going to be smarter than me?  What are they asking of me? What can I provide?

All of these questions start racing through my head and my adrenaline kicks in. My heart starts to pump and my breath starts to shorten. Each time, I have to shake it off, take a deep breath, and make the call.

I hate this feeling.

Is this what Imposter Syndrome is?  To not have the self confidence going into a situation? Before writing this blog, I looked up the definition of Imposter Syndrome and here are few key points that I found interesting.

  • “..two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds..”
  • Impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achievers.
  • “Imposters” avoid showing any confidence in their abilities.

Yes, I understand a lot of people get Impostor Syndrome, but among high-achievers? These should be the people that have the experience and the proof that “they belong”, right? Apparently, not so much. Because high achievers work harder and prepare more than their peers. I can relate to working hard and (over) preparing. I do it all the time.  I engross myself in topics on which I’m less familiar by reading, listening to podcasts by subject experts, and trying out technologies or processes for myself.  I feel like I need to get into the weeds and become that internal subject matter expert to make myself valuable.

The third point hits closest to home for me.  I have such a hard time building up my confidence (I blame my parents 🙂 ).  I’ve always struggled with this.  If I start to believe in my abilities and someone rejects those abilities, it feels like they reject me.  Over the years I’ve started to believe in myself and my abilities, but switching careers shook up what I’ve built. Change has a funny way of doing that.

I don’t have any answers on the third point, but I can tell you some steps I’m taking and hopefully they work out.

I’m not giving up.  I continue to take those nerve-wracking calls.  I’ve learned I need to speak up on those calls instead of sitting back and quietly questioning myself.  Get them out there.  Don’t hold it back.  Kind of like when you were to afraid to ask a question in school and that empty feeling of not knowing afterwards. Was it just me?

I’m volunteering more in the tech community by starting a new VMUG chapter in my community and attending more meetups. I don’t like public speaking so I’m trying to overcome this and face it head on.

My biggest goal is to try to get out of my own way.  I need to get out of my head, own my personal experience and knowledge, and learn as much as I can as I go along. Then I can provide the feedback, answers, expertise, questions, or whatever else I need to do to add value to my clients and grow professionally and personally. Move over Aaron Strong, The Aaron Strong is here.



Change Can Be Good

I haven’t written anything in almost twenty days.  I’m finding writing is almost therapeutic. It’s a way for me to sit down, focus, and organize my thoughts, both technical thoughts and random opinions.  Over these last three weeks I’ve had a lot of different thoughts go through my head.  I started a new job this past week and the emotional roller coaster started many months before then.


I worked at the same organization for ten years.  In today’s world, that feels unique because a lot of professionals in the tech industry job hop.  I follow a lot of different tech enthusiasts and some of these techies live in many parts of the country, but not a lot live in the mid-West.  Those that work on either coast seem to change positions often, at least more than me since following them on social media. I think one reason is there are so many opportunities in these areas. Of the Fortune 500 companies, 55 are located in New York and 53 are located in California. The average size of a Fortune 500 company is 52,000. Professionals can either grow inside of each organization or jump ship if things are not working out.


I stayed where I was at for a number of reasons.  I was learning technology and growing a passion for specific areas in tech.  The organization was allowing me to grow into these technologies and push them further into the business.  I was working with great individuals that I would classify as some of my closest friends.  Fear was another reason.  Fear of getting out of my comfort zone and fear of finding other options. My community is small and there aren’t a lot of choices in the area which means you need to either move or be content.  I love where I live, but I don’t like being content.  Content to me feels like giving up.  I watch too many movies to know that we have only one life and we need to maximize our life experiences to the fullest.

Technology introduced me to other people outside of my business, my community, and allowed me to have a common ground to introduce myself and talk with these community leaders.  But, I had a hard time keeping in contact. Thus, the introduction of Twitter.  Twitter allowed me to expand my network and listen to other’s stories. To hear that it’s OK to think about your career and to not settle.


Change is good. It’s what allows businesses to adjust, it allows kids to develop, and allows adults to  transform into the person they want to be. Change is also scary. It’s human nature to fall into a routine and be comfortable with that routine. We know what to expect in our routines.  Do you take the same roads when going to work? Try taking a different route or taking the long way and see what happens.  Taking a different way makes us more aware of our surroundings. We don’t drift into thought as easily because it’s new and we need to be on alert.

I started to feel this same way in my day to day job responsibilities. Things were becoming easy and almost predictable. I wanted to change things up. I’ve been thinking about a solutions architect position for sometime. To be able to design and build a solution based off of a businesses needs. After talking with people, reading books, and listening to blogs the next step was joining a partner. I feel a partner offers greater change and gives you access to businesses looking for assistance and opportunities to build solutions.


I’m very excited to join a partner, but also anxious. This isn’t going to be the same road I’ve traveled my entire career. I’m ready to be on alert and begin a new adventure. I want to learn a new style of business, but keep in the thick of technology.  My passion for technology has taken me this far, now it’s time to start focusing more on my softer skills and “being comfortable with being uncomfortable”.

I tried to the find the quote, but was unsuccessful. The idea was to say YES to everything. When was the last time you said yes to a decision but later regretted it? If anything, you hear people saying No to a decision and later wishing they hadn’t. Keep learning, keep growing, keep trying new things…and take a different way home tomorrow 🙂