How do you push past the imposter syndrome?

Maybe it’s the time of year where goals and aspirations are high, then reality sets in the fears, the hesitations, the mind games start to mess with those aspirations because over the past couple of weeks through email, through Twitter, and in some communities I’m in people seem to be asking this same question.

How do you do the work and push past the fear of getting it out there.

Things like podcasting and “going live” and just the general action of putting something into the world is scary. I won’t ignore that.

As someone who has introverted tendencies, if I were to look back when I was in school, I certainly wouldn’t have stood in the middle of campus and started answering questions from people. Or stand at the back of the bus and give lessons on how to do the homework from the night before.

That, in fact, sounds absurd. So it got me thinking about why now? What changed?

Because I’m still very much that introverted guy. In fact, for my wedding, I had to prepare days in advance for being the center of attention for family and friends. (Let’s be honest, my beautiful bride was the center, but I would get some collateral attention).

Yet, I have stood up and spoken at meetups and WordCamp NYC, where all eyeballs were on me.

You are listening to episode 225 of my third podcast.

My wife thinks I’m nuts for preferring to spend 60-minutes answering questions from people rather than presenting a scripted slideshow.

So what changed?

There are 2 things that I can nail down that make a difference in young Jason and me today.

Mindset

The first is the mindset. And before you turn this off, I’m not going to go into the woo-woo, rah-rah stuff.

When I say mindset here, I mean that this is something I genuinely enjoy doing.

I like helping people, I mean who doesn’t.

But what I can help people with is specific things that I have done myself and have experience with.

I also enjoy being around people such as yourself.

And the final point of mindset is that I have a long game, a life’s mission of sorts for time freedom and flexibility not only for myself but for anyone else who wants that.

So when I feel nervous, or apprehension about pushing publish, I think about those things and the rest becomes mechanical.

I get out of my own way.

Smaller steps get you farther

The second item is doing things in small iterations. Break things down into smaller chunks so that the action isn’t overwhelming.

You no doubt have heard this before, so let me share a concrete example for you.

When I did my first podcast, it was with other developers and it was called WP Dev Table.

By today’s standard, it was a very unprofessional podcast. We would set on a date to record, invite another developer onto the show, and open up Google Hangouts and record. That’s it. That’s all the podcast was.

We didn’t even have a set time and date for release, in fact, in the beginning, we didn’t even have a website or show notes.

But the simple action of pressing record would put it into the world.

Then over the years with this and Live In The Feast I’ve gotten incrementally better with show notes, music, production, promotion, and so on.

The point I want you to take away from this is pretty simple.

Anytime you start to feel that self-doubt or imposter syndrome or overwhelm creep in, ask yourself…

What is the smallest action I can make right now with this piece of knowledge I know about out into the world and in front of people I like?

Then just do it.

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