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Hello Impostor Syndrome, I did not miss you


(Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash)

It's Christmas 2021. It's 3 PM and just finished having lunch with Eva and Ada. My daughter is falling asleep and I feel energized to get back to work. Eva will take care of the baby and I have 6 working hours in front of me. That feels good! I love my job ❀️

Since almost everyone is on holidays, I can focus on the only task that I have at hand. It may not seem like a lot but I can't usually say this. I often find myself doing many things, multitasking. Exactly what I tell my team they should avoid. "Do as I say, not as I do", right?

Christmas is over. Everyone is back from holidays and I'm back to my agenda. However, this time is different. This time I have everything I had in my to-do list plus all the work derivated from my programming activities during Christmas. No problem β€”I thinkβ€” everything is under control and I have time for everything. Haha! I'm a liar and I'm lying to myself.

Since I start noticing that I don't have time for everything, I think I should probably be cutting some time with my daughter and dedicate it to work (🚨). Am I really going to spend less time with my daughter because of work? Can't I change something? Anyway, it maybe be just now that I'm way too loaded. Gonna wait a bit to see if the situation improves after finishing some things (🚨).

The days go by. The coding work is over. Phew! Finally. Wait, finally? Wasn't I enjoying it? Weird (🚨). Anyway, I can get back to my to-do list. Oh, wait! While I was coding, 3 new things were added. I forgot about it. Ok, let's finish these three things and then I get back to my to-do list. However, I feel I don't have enough time. Gonna ask Eva to cut down on her working hours to take care of Ada so I can increase the number of hours I work (🚨).

I'm sitting in the table with Eva and Ada. Having lunch. Thinking how can I suggest such a thing to her. The more I think about it, the more the anxiety is kicking in. Luckily, Eva and I have a great relationship and we're always sincere and transparent to each other. I tell Eva that I'm feeling I need more time to do the stuff I need to do at work. And that I'm feeling anxious right now.

Eva looks at me and say: "Alright, let's go through all these things you feel you have to do" (she's great, I told you). "Alright, let me break things down...", I followed. You may be wondering what these tasks are, right? Let's do the same breakdown here:

  1. Keep pushing Glee so it becomes production-ready as soon as possible.
  2. Start running UX interviews with AsyncAPI users so we better understand how people use it.
  3. Work on the roadmap for all the tools and the specification. We already have one but this time I mean to get into the small details of... well, everything.
  4. (let me take a deep breath because the anxiety is getting back as I write these lines)
  5. Work on version 3.0.0 of the specification. Not necessarily on all the details but driving it forward motivating people to continue the work themselves.
  6. Improve 1:1s with the team.
  7. Write more blog posts. Or write some because I can't even remember when was the last one.
  8. Start organizing Thinking Out Loud. We have to work on the brand and all the associated designs, videos, and ads.

And that's it. That's all I have to do. No joking, I'm honestly thinking this is my job. But why? Am I not the director of the AsyncAPI Initiative? Shouldn't I be doing "director stuff"? If you look closely, only the last 4 of that list are actually "director stuff". Things that set the direction of the project and empower the team and the community to move forward and grow.

Why am I coding Glee if I have engineers in the team who are more capable than me? Why am I doing UX interviews if I've never done that before and I have people in the community really looking forward to doing it themselves? Why am I deciding the roadmap of tools when there are people working closely to those tools who know better what the priorities are?

The response is easy but took me some time to realize. I've been afraid of delegating too much because it may make me look like I'm doing nothing relevant and, therefore, I don't deserve being the director. Hey, impostor syndrome! Here you are again, long time no see ya!

What's the funniest thing to me is that I thought I was delegating and wasn't having problems with it. To some degree, it's true. I delegated a whole bunch of things. Mostly everything. But I was holding myself onto a few tasks so I don't fall into the unknown land of being a director.

No one is exempt from impostor syndrome.

So I've now delegated all these tasks and here I am, writing a blog post after all this time and preparing the new Thinking Out Loud season. But, since I still have the feeling that this may not be enough, I decided to add one more item to my to-do list: write a book. Yes, a book. Definitely, Eva and Kin Lane are right when they say that I'm my worst enemy πŸ˜…

I'll let you know how it goes. Or maybe not. Probably I'll fail again and will not have time to write a blog post to let you know. Anyhow, thanks for reading, and watch out for impostor syndrome. It appears when you don't expect it and can really make you feel miserable even when you're at the top of your career.

Take care!