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Who's holding the carrot?

You (or, someone you know) has claimed to suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in time. But what is it, really?

Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud", despite external evidence of their competence.

I'm speaking from the lens of someone firmly entrenched in the web industry, but what I'm about to say applies anywhere. Imposter syndrome appears to be a very real threat to the psyche. It has occurred to me that maybe...it's not.

Y'see, when people reach the next plateau of their career they begin to compare themselves against impossible odds. They look at the "superstar" members of their industry, they look at their peers of similar standing, they look at everything around and beyond them. I mean, just check out that view! What happens next will won't shock you.

How did I get here? I don't belong here! What if they know?!

These are questions people ask themselves instead of the one that matters as they turn around:

Wow, I really came this far? 🤩

Our fast-paced society and the scripted nature of social media where we only display accomplishments and accolades encourages us to keep our figurative necks on a swivel. Mentally, we all have full range of motion. Not just laterally and up, but backwards too! It's important to acknowledge your accomplishments to yourself. Internalize it. Believe it!

Let's think about this another way.

Imagine someone riding a horse with a long stick in hand. On that stick is an equally long string with a carrot tied to the end. The horse sees the carrot and starts to trot towards it. The horse jockey moves the carrot when they want the horse to change direction. Now, replace the carrot with everything you saw on that plateau and the horse with yourself. PLOT TWIST, you are also the horse jockey.

WHUUUUUH?!

Get off the horse and give them a salt lick for doing a good great fantastic job. Huh, interesting...that salt lick is suspiciously similar to your personal accomplishments.

TL;DR

You're awesome. Stop beating yourself up. Stop and smell the roses of your accomplishments thus far. Know when to use blinders. 🕸