Posted 9th July 2021
Catching up on my podcasts, last night I listened to The Big Web Show 187 with Mina Markham. It contains a lovely nugget from Jeffrey Zeldman when the pair were discussing impostor syndrome and why you shouldn’t let it stop you sharing what you know:
I think of the web not as a collection of authorities, but as a community. And we’re all just figuring it out, and some people are just motivated to share what they’ve learned. They’re not saying they’re an expert or an authority.
There’s a lot to unpack there, but one thing I took from it is, even if you think there’s someone out there who’s more expert than you, it shouldn’t stop you sharing what you know.
For a start, those that have been around longer, have written more, given more talks at conferences are probably thinking the same thing! Markham and Zeldman certainly talked about that feeling.
I often doubt myself when writing for my blog or giving a talk; surely somebody else has probably covered this already, and more eloquently. But the way I frame it might connect with someone in a way other people didn’t.
One of the best pieces of advice my late father-in-law gave me when I was setting up my own business was that, although there may be other web designers out there, there’s nobody that does things the way Martin does. Personality has as much to do with delivering a message as the message itself.
Even your position on your journey can be important. As a junior developer or designer, you might think you have to wait until you’re more senior to start sharing, but other junior developers might identify more closely with someone at their own level.
Remember, too, that writing, giving presentations, and teaching others, is one of the best ways to learn! As you prepare, you’ll realise you need to delve deeper to really understand a subject.
Begin by sharing, keep sharing, and realise that’s it ok not to know everything about everything. The healthiest disposition is the knowledge that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Simply sharing what you do know can be invaluable.