The scariest button on the internet

I’ve been thinking about anxiety and impostor syndrome (my own, naturally), and it occurred to me that this:


is sometimes the scariest damn thing on the internet.

Whether it’s a conference talk submission, a pull request, or a project bid, every time I have to deal with one of those, I go into deer-in-the-headlights mode for a while. And 90% of the time, I don’t say a word about it.

Like a lot of people who work in this intersection of women in tech and open-source community-building1, I end up thinking a lot about impostor syndrome. And while I put time and thought into helping other people with their impostor issues, either formally as a teacher or just as a friend who’s there to tell them that no, they — YOU — don’t actually suck, I’m really, really insistent on hiding my own.

The thing is, while faking confidence is useful and sometimes absolutely necessary, it doesn’t actually help when impostor syndrome is all about the inner voice that’s so busy telling you otherwise.

There’s a lot of value in saying: Hell yes, putting yourself out there is scary. And we’re all afraid that we’re going to be caught in some really public n00bish mistake. And it’s totally normal for pretty much everyone to feel that way (even if they do always try to hide it).

And then hitting the button anyway.

While I’m at it, check out an awesome set of slides from Dreamwidth co-founder Denise Paolucci:

  1. And can I just say, Oh Brave New World, how wonderful it is that there are enough people in both places to have an intersection?

One thought on “The scariest button on the internet

  1. I certainly go through the same thing when I put up pull requests on projects. Heck even when I report a bug on something (maybe it’s just me being an idiot).

    We always try to put our best foot forward. I don’t tweet as much about my personal struggles day to day so what it looks like from the outside can be drastically different than what’s happening from my keyboard.

    You are awesome!

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