Don't show up to prove, show up to improve...

I'm fortunate to work with a lot of savvy people at my company. This is awesome - they keep conversations interesting and inspire me to hone my craft - but sometimes self-doubt creeps in and I start to wonder what additional value I'm bringing to the table given the depth of knowledge of my more technical colleagues. It's safe to say I am the youngest person serving in a non-developer position on our team, but this often means the technical folks I share meetings with typically have at least 5 to 10 years more experience than me.

Amongst a group of Senior Managers and Solution Architects that can talk software development circles around me, I sometimes feel intimidated to say anything! Which makes me wonder if I even belong in these meetings! INTJs like myself hate feeling useless and not contributing anything to a discussion is pretty much our idea of failure.

Let me pause here and make clear that I know this is the wrong attitude. Ten years ago, fixed-mindset-Julie would let this dominate her thought process and be crippled by it. Her self-talk would look something along the lines of: "Just shut-up. You're only saying stuff that people already know. Why bother?" She would end up giving up or quitting due to the overwhelming weight of not feeling smart enough. *small violin playing*

While I'm not the poster child for growth mindset grit, I am at a place where I can recognize these destructive thought patterns and put them in their place. Plus, that fact that I'm even writing this post speaks volumes about how much I've changed.

So now it's time to put on Future Julie hat and pretend, because faking it until you make it, or rather become it, is actually really sound advice. As Simon Sinek says: "Don't show up to prove, show up to improve!" The goal is not to be the smartest person in the room, the goal is to learn from people smarter than you! Observe what they do! Listen to the questions they ask! You only feel uncomfortable because your skin is being stretched - this is good! Ride it out and be grateful. Stop thinking about what you don't know and start thinking about how to learn faster.

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.