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Imposter Syndrome and the Gate Keepers

I gave a talk at a conference in Paris a couple weeks ago. It’s the first public speaking engagement I’ve done in a while.

It also renewed feelings of imposter syndrome within me.

The conference was about Ethereum. Two years ago I was on the outside looking into the Ethereum community. Now I was giving a talk, in an agenda full of well-known community members.

On one hand, I felt excited and grateful for the chance. Another voice was talking to me, though. It was the “who do you think you are?” voice.

The “who do you think you are?” voice has been with me my entire life. Just Rolling with It’s made me more aware of it. Brene Brown’s research, as well as therapy, helped me and helps me make sense of it.

I’ve written about this in earlier newsletters. The topics were about what we deserve and gatekeepers.

“Who do you think you are?” ties tightly with what we feel we deserve. Is the person we are deserving of what we want?

Most of my life, the answer to this question was “no”. JRWI’s helping me understand that the answer can be “yes”.

Thinking about the gatekeepers, I’m realizing it’s the perceived gatekeepers that make the judgement. It’s the gatekeepers who will reward us based on who we think we are and what we deserve.

This perception gives the gatekeepers their power. Understanding that we can be our own gatekeeper shifts that power back to us.

It’s this shift, as well as the awareness that it’s OK to feel imposter syndrome, that has helped me work with it. Doing this allowed me to approach the talk differently. For example, I practiced a few times, let myself feel nervous and felt OK without having to be an expert or showman.

As a result I felt comfortable giving the talk. I felt I was able to deliver the message I intended to deliver, without fear or nervousness overwhelming the delivery.

I feel grateful for this.

How about you? Do you experience imposter syndrome? If so, why and how do you work with it?

P.S. - This post was first published in the JRWI newletter. Subscribe for free and you'll receive one post like this each week on Sunday evening. My hope is that it inspires you at the start of your week.