Hello everyone! Today's article is a special one, because a year ago on this date, I published my first article at Hashnode! Thank you to everyone who wished me happy 1-year anniversary in advance!
A special thank you to Mr. Unity Buddy for this wonderful GIF as a gift! You're so sweet! ❤️
So I would like to dedicate this article to my fellow readers and bloggers. Thank you for the support, I'm always grateful that I get to be a part of this community even when we're miles away~
Without further ado, let me share what I have learned from 365 days blogging at Hashnode and how these lessons have helped me overcome imposter's syndrome.
My Experience with Imposter's Syndrome
Becoming a developer from a self-taught background brought about a lot of challenges I had to overcome. One of them is feeling like I never belong in the tech community and that I won't be able to find a job that I love in tech. So I decided to start blogging, to reinforce my learnings and record my progress. But that impose another form of imposter's syndrome. This time, it's about my writing skills.
I never considered myself as a great writer. I have friends who majored in English and they wrote amazingly. When I first started to blog, I felt like the journey I am about to take will be long and arduous, perhaps even impossible.
Although I have received praises and even got publishers to publish my work on Medium, I just felt like I don't deserve it, it was just luck. I felt this for a very long time and in May 20 2020, I found Hashnode. And I didn't expect that I would learn so much by blogging on this platform.
A Year at Hashnode: How to Overcome Imposter's Syndrome
1. Never Compare Yourself to Anyone
It is easy to be intimidated when you first arrived at an unfamiliar platform. You think everyone is an amazing writer and too perfect that there's no point for you to write your own articles. That was what I thought when I first arrived at Hashnode.
But after just a few months publishing on Hashnode, I realized a few things:
- Every blog is different and unique, it is simply impossible to compare
- We cannot know everything. Even the most experienced programmer can say "I don't know" and it's okay.
- Like how every blog is different, every programmer is also different. We are people after all. We have different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, habits, cultures and values ingrained within us.
Hence, whether it's programming or blogging, there's no reason to compare yourself with others.
These realizations shed some light into the misconceptions I had about my own knowledge and what I think others know. The reality is that everyone has their own strengths and unique insights. At the end of the day, you should only compare with yourself and your own progress, not with others.
2. Build Confidence, And Competence Will Follow
Learning anything is difficult if you don't believe you can do it. A negative mindset will more likely result in poor motivation and slow learning growth.
Many readers have asked me how they can start writing if they are no good at it. I usually tell them this:
I don't start writing because I'm good at it. I start so that I can be better at it.
Have a positive growth mindset and build confidence as you progress.
No one starts out as a brilliant writer or a genius developer. Everyone starts from level zero, and it is up to you to be confident in yourself, stay motivated and level up as you go.
Confidence vs. Competence
The problem is, as you build up your confidence and competence, you may start experiencing another form of imposter's syndrome.
As seen from the image above, we can get imposter's syndrome when our perceived abilities is lower than our actual abilities. We feel like there's so many things that we don't know and reached a slump in our confidence level.
A good way I found in combating this is to remind yourself of the accomplishments you've achieved so far. At the time of publishing this article, I have written 121 articles in a year. Seeing my past articles on Hashnode reminds me of how much I have improved since then and that helped me regain some confidence in myself whenever I experience the syndrome.
So it's important to record your progress because whenever you lost some confidence in yourself, it is a good way to look back and celebrate your accomplishments so far.
3. Consistency matters, a lot
There's a famous saying: "If you don't use it, you lose it." And from my experience, this saying is true, in everything.
In blogging, you have to keep writing and honing those skills to be better. It's difficult to improve if you don't practice it consistently.
It's the same for programming. Some acquaintances of mine were once software engineer interns at big companies like Microsoft and after 6 months of not coding, they have gotten significantly rusty.
Blogging at Hashnode taught me resilience and the power of consistency, which helped me overcome my imposter's syndrome when I first started writing. Even if I feel like I'm bad at writing, I'll just have to keep writing as frequently as I can and improve.
4. Engage with the community
Before I started blogging at Hashnode, I would never dream that I could:
- Start using social media
- Interact with many wonderful and diverse people online
- Be an active member of a community
These are things I never usually do. As an introvert, the thought of meeting new strangers and making friends online feels so strange and out of place for me. But this is what Hashnode has taught me: to engage with the community.
Not only did this helped me become a better writer and person overall, it also gave me a wonderful and supportive community to lean on.
A common cause of Imposter's Syndrome is feeling that you do not belong in a group. You feel like an outsider, a fake, an imposter.
Surrounding myself with people who inspire me and gave me a lots of positive energy helped me get rid of the anxiety and doubts I have. Through blogging, I have received all kinds of feedback, both positive and constructive. These feedbacks always remind me that there is a community I belong to who care enough to provide such helpful and kind comments to help me grow.
Ultimately, my imposter's syndrome shrinks to non-existence as I felt like I am a part of this huge warm-hearted family in Hashnode.
5. Progress Over Perfection
This may be the life-changing lesson for me after blogging at Hashnode. I've been a perfectionist my whole life.
This gave me so much pressure on myself and I often find that I will criticize myself on the smallest mistakes or issues I found in my writing or code.
But the culture at Hashnode celebrates progress. Look at the numerous writing challenges they have or the fact that the platform itself is constantly upgrading and celebrating every new feature they shipped. Or the small wins they mention in your feed to celebrate your progress with you.
Slowly, I learned to celebrate my own progress too, big or small, and let go of the harsh critic and perfectionistic side of myself.
I admit, there are still occasional situations when my perfectionism will emerge and I can't help but to criticize at my own work. It's a long-time habit, so it will disappear slowly with conscious effort and reminders.
After 365 Days...
Hashnode is not just a blogging platform, it is a community. And interacting with people in the community has taught me some life-changing lessons to overcome imposter's syndrome.
After 365 days of blogging, I have met some amazing devs and writers such as Catalin Pit, Tapas Adhikary, Chris Bongers, Favourite Jome, Sunrit Jana, Anita Ihuman, Edidiong Asikpo, Ruth Ikegah, Megha Pathak, Mr.Unity Buddy and of course, the Hashnode team!
Just like these incredible people, I will continue to blog to my heart's content and be a better contributor, more active member in this community! Thank you so much for reading this special article and thank you to the Hashnode team for always working hard and putting their writers first. All the best, stay safe and cheers!