4 min read
Monday, December 6, 2021
Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome: Asking the right Questions to Empower Yourself

It's easy for self-doubt to take over, but with the right questions, you can come out on top.

It's easy for self-doubt to take over, but with the right questions, you can come out on top.

Hello everyone. My name is Gregorio Rojas. I am the co founder and head instructor at Sabio developer bootcamp, based out of Los Angeles in Irvine, California. This is another video in our series of videos of imposter syndrome and how to inoculate yourself against it. This video is going to be about something that actually happened to me. And the thread coming through all these videos right now is asking questions to inoculate yourself against imposter syndrome in English. In plain English, asking questions is an empowering thing, asking questions, just how you learn. And in asking questions, you will learn that you know what these feelings that might creep in these thoughts of the self doubt that might creep in about how you are not necessarily in the right room that you don't belong in this room. You don't deserve to be in this room that the people in the room are somehow smarter and more skilled than you, right? These things are just false, right? And it's the imposter syndrome that will infiltrate and get a hold of you. And it's gonna be real hard to shake it. So one way to shake it is ask questions, ask questions at a time where it seems scariest and hardest to do so. And so I found myself in a conference room with a number of people. There was a lot of people in this conference room and we were talking about some really technical stuff. It was at a company that I was still kind of I mean, it was it was a really big company. So as to say that I was new to it was not appropriate, it's that I was new to the subject material, that particular area that we were treading into, it was new to me. So I didn't know everything that was being discussed. Or there was one guy who was talking about a particular thing they needed to get done. And like a lot of people in tech, you know, very arrogant about it. Very kind of matter of fact, arrogant pompous, just not a nice person, he was one of these people that just would, you know, walk around the office, pounding his chest the whole day about how awesome he was and his team, etc. But now I had the great fortune of having to work with them. And I needed to work with him, I needed to work with him, I needed him to share some information, I needed to be able to learn from him a little bit, so that we could do a particular thing. And we were going through some stuff. And there was a part of the conversation that I didn't understand. And I knew that I and my team needed to understand this so that we can go do our jobs. And in him explaining it, he kept explaining it in a really abstract manner, either using really big words or really small words, which by the way, is a good sign that you know, if you know something really well, you can explain it in very simple terms. And, and granted, you could always explain them, and fairly complicated terms. But if someone's asking you to clear something up, you can break it down and make it really simple for them if you understand the thing. And so this guy would never speak that way this guy would never speak in English, you'd always again, throw out the biggest words, the most number of acronyms about the things that we were talking about all the time. And so I just couldn't I couldn't with him anymore. i And I can tell you, it's more of a sense of frustration. With him. That's where this came from. I was kind of frustrated having him just listen to having to listen to him again and sit there just pounding his chest like enough dude, like, can we just please talk about what we need to talk about? So we can go be productive? And so I asked him Look, can you just please explain that to me? Because I don't understand. I don't get it. And we went back and forth about this. In fact, I mean, this video is probably going to be meaningfully longer than the length of the conversation that I had with him because we went back and forth. I asked them very clearly in the nicest of ways that I could just flat out laid out there. I don't know, man, I don't know what you're talking about. Like you really just need to explain this to me. And he tried to answer but again he would he will try to answer in an inappropriate way like you're not helping out you're not giving clarity you're not pointing to the things that need to be pointed to so that me and my team can go and do this stuff. So we could do our part. And finally look I came down to like what I need you to explain it to me in English. Finally, I know that we got to be from a that's great. And I know that once we get to see we're gonna go to be wonderful. But how do we go from B to C? Just tell me in English. I need to know in English because you know I need to go and we need to go and do this. And throughout this whole thing again this happened real quick throughout this whole thing I can see that people sitting next to me like yeah, good thing you asked me Are you because We don't know. So finally, he just had to confess, I don't know, he didn't know, he was acting like, you know, he was acting like you, when we left the room, he was gonna go and do what he needed to do. And, you know, like we needed to keep up with him. But the reality was that he had no idea. Like, as soon as he left the room, he was going to go run to someone's desk, and plead with someone to give them some time, so that he could try to understand what he needed to do. Because, you know, he didn't know. But he was making it seem like he did. And because, you know, when you get into these situations, people like to play a lot of games lately to play a lot of politics. And, and God forbid that someone says, I don't know. And that's where again, the power of asking this question and saying it putting yourself out there? I don't know, you need to tell me, you will find it in software development. If you if you get any, almost any team, you asked that question amongst your colleagues is two types of people that you're going to ask that question to, you're going to find out real quick after that. Yeah. After you ask this question. Are they good people? Are they not? And you know, the good people are going to break it down for you. If they know the answer, the good people be like, Dude, I don't know, we gotta go find that out. And then there's the not not so good people, when they try to make you feel small. And try to doubt dodge and dance. And the people that Dodge and dance, you can actually just put them in their spot and telling me, you just need to tell me because you clearly seem to know you don't know. But you don't know. Right? So ask these questions. Intimidate intimidating, potentially, in a room full of your colleagues, people who you might think know, people who you might not want to seem like, Hey, I don't know this stuff. I'm that guy that doesn't know this stuff. But again, coming from a non technical degree coming from, you know, not computer science, just don't know, like these acronyms. Did you go over this stuff? You know, and one of these classes that I didn't take, and I gonna just you know, out myself is one of these people who shouldn't be in this room. No, it's okay not to know something, right. So I can tell you now, like 20 years experience in software, you're not going to know everything. And the last thing that I want you to do is to pretend like you do, ask these questions, these tough questions in a roomful of people, so that you can help other people discover the truth about what it is that we need to do, and how we need to do it. And so that the other people who are you know, working against you and working against the team for their own benefit, so that we can start teaching them also that it doesn't need to be that way. We're all in the same team. And we're all about learning and you know, doing things that whatever the company has to do at that time, right? And that helps everybody, you know, you help everyone with the feeling of like, you know, what, we're all part of a team, we're all belong here and we're all doing a good work, you know, for whatever it is that you're doing that day, on your team. Alright, so ask questions, empower yourself with knowledge and that is how you are going to combat the imposter syndrome. When you leave, anything's possible. When you come in, you want to stay

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