Self Doubt

I was a person who always had excitement and passion in my career. I was excited when I got my first job as a web developer and I pushed myself hard to learn everything I could to be knowledgeable in everything I did. For years I would have ideas and build them, find new tech and try them. But things happened along the way and I lost my passion.

I’m taking it back.

Looking back at the beginning of my career I had a lot of confidence. I also had no idea what kind of effort things took. I would say something as silly as “I could build that  e-commerce system in 3 weeks!” only for it to take a year to build and then never launch. I was audacious, willing to dive into something I knew nothing about in an effort to force myself into a sink or swim situation. I grew quickly that way and stayed afloat more often than not.

My confidence allowed me to have strong opinions about work, the industry, and running a business. If I had a strong opinion I would share it and if things continued in a way I didn’t agree with I moved on. If someone told me I couldn’t do something or something wasn’t possible my response was always “watch me”. People telling me “no” was a great driving force for me, I wanted to prove them wrong. Go too far though and you become an asshole. I might have gone a bit too far in that direction at times.

I know I can get my confidence back, it’s the self-doubt that holds me back. I’ve had plenty of ideas in the past of things I’d like to build: just for fun ideas, business ideas, startup ideas, etc. Some of them I’ve developed the concepts without any polish, others I’ve designed the visuals or the database/api structure, and some are just sketches in my notebook. The thought of “does this even matter?” has kept me from finishing them. Some of these ideas I’ve actually seen come to life by others.

Why does it even have to matter? I think I’ve too often judged the validity of my ideas on the basis of how the startup world always talks about disruption or changing the world. Setting the bar like that causes a sense of embarrassment inside me for even wanting to share the idea if it doesn’t disrupt or change the world in some significant way. I know it doesn’t have to but there is also a feeling of personal validation for what I’ve built. In a way building the ideas that “change the world” are also building my identity and recognition in the communities I’m involved in. That doesn’t sound very humble at all. I think everyone is looking for some form of recognition in what they do but I don’t believe our identities should be shackled to the things we did.

Today I’m making a change. For too long I’ve been stuck in self-doubt. It’s suffocated my confidence. Writing this post alone took me all week to do and even now I’m still considering if I should post it or not. Publishing it is my step towards acknowledging and breaking this cycle. I’ve got a couple ideas I’ve been thinking a lot about that I’m starting to work on and even blocked out Friday’s completely to focus on them without any interruptions, to start writing again, and getting involved in the community.

I’m going to build things for the joy of building things again.

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2 responses

  1. Anne McCarthy Avatar

    Can’t wait to see what you build 🙂 Trust in the hard work that got you here. Also, a quote that recently inspired me: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch

    1. JR Tashjian Avatar

      Thanks Anne! That quote is inspiring 🙂