My Impostor Syndrome Is Showing

by Bill Brenner on May 2, 2016

Saturday was one of those days where everything was getting to me: the myriad tasks that need doing on the family building we’re leasing out, the adjustments I need to make to my health regimen, and the general lack of downtime.

As the day went on, though, I realized my inner turmoil was more about my career than my personal life. I’m suffering from a brutal bout of impostor syndrome.

Mood music:

I’ve been focusing on my job itself, lately: writing the reports and threat advisories that are a staple of what my team does, blogging specifically about those things and taking the lead on communications regarding vulnerabilities and other issues. That’s where my full focus SHOULD be, because that’s what my team counts on me for.

But my success in infosec has always been about my ability to contribute beyond my day job, and on that front I’ve been lagging.

I haven’t recorded a podcast in months. I’ve done very little security blogging outside of the stuff mentioned above. I don’t attend security conferences or volunteer to help out with local events like I used to. I haven’t given a talk or moderated a panel in months.

So when people continue to express appreciation for contributions to my industry, I don’t feel like I’m earning it. I start feeling like a fake. My Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followings keep expanding, and I don’t feel like I’ve earned that, either.

Are there legitimate reasons for the inactivity? Sure. My father’s death and the responsibilities he passed on to me forced a Seismic shift in how I conduct daily life.

But I also feel like I’m not doing the things I built my reputation on because I’ve simply fallen out of habit.

I’m tired a lot, but my inactivity seems to be fueling the exhaustion. When I give a lot of energy to my work passions, it creates more energy. My mental pilot has gone out from lack of it.

My inconsistent eating and exercise habits have only added to that, I’m sure.

I’ve been working to pull out of this downward spiral. I’ve been picking up the guitar at least three days a week, even if I only play for 10 minutes at a time. I’ve also pushed myself to write more in this blog.

Now I need to turn things up a few more decibels. It’s not going to be easy, because this is a hard pattern to break. But I have to do it. My self-respect is on the line.

To that end, I request this favor from all of you:

If you don’t see more of the content you’ve come to expect from me, call me out on it. Hold my feet to the fire. Don’t let me off the hook.

Before you tell me how much you respect me, make sure I’m really earning it.

shattered-mask

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