startups and code

Everyone has the same fear

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I am a software developer with over 20 years of experience, so you would think that I have a certain level of confidence in what I do. I don't. I have a confidence in not what I know, not what I have done, but that I can figure things out. I am a problem solver, always have been. I love word searches, jigsaw puzzles, rubik's cube, card tricks, and of course computers. They all have the same thing in common, they all have a solution. I love solutions to problems, and sometimes when given a problem, I have NO IDEA if I can do it, but I know I have a pretty good ability in figuring things out and making things work, so I end up solving it. Then what, I end up seeing if I can solve it faster, more efficiently. That is where my confidence is. I am persistent... and I strive for efficiency. Note, I said strive, not necessarily attain. :-)

That is the same fear of everyone I have met in various industries, from tv/film to medical to education to financial, you get the point. They are all afraid of being found out. They are afraid that someone who is paying them is going to fire them because they don't know what they are doing. Here is the truth that no one likes to admit to themselves or anyone else:

No one knows what they are doing, they just figure it out along the way.

There is not a single parent who knew how to take care of baby. A financial advisor who knew exactly how the market would perform everyday. A software developer who knew every network deployment strategy, coding paradigm, and best practice in every situation. No one knows what they are doing. They just believe in themselves enough that they can figure it out.

I love that entrepreneurs who are considered success almost always respond with the same response, "we liked what we did, and we got lucky along the way". What usually happens is they are pursued by VC people for their next big thing, and then there is pressure, but they have better marketing, better business support, and financial guidance, but the luck still needs to happen to be as big as the first one. 

Now everyone is going to point out the exceptions, what about . That is not a majority of the world, I am talking about people like you and me. The hard workers who hope to get lucky one day with enough hard work. Someone said, there is no luck, it is simply practice met with opportunity. Well, in my mind, that opportunity is luck. You can't record a couple of youtube videos and be a pop phenomenon. 

Oh, on to that topic, attention 20 somethings, you are not all going to be social media icons, you are not all going to be models, singers, and actors. You are not as good as you think you are. You are not as smart as you think you are. Relax, it is still going to be ok. No one knows how life is going to play out. Enjoy your life, enjoy your food, your friends, and your family. You will figure things out too.

It is ok to make mistakes in this world, we all do it. We learn a lot from them too. You don't have to be the prettiest, smartest, coolest, strongest, or fastest in the world. You can only be you, and what is amazing about that is no one else in the world can even come close to being you. So stop trying to be someone else, there position is already filled. 

Here is what you can do, be persistent. Keep trying for that dream, keep pushing yourself to see what YOU can really do. Be patient. You will not succeed overnight. Most overnight success stories leave out the decade they spent working/practicing/studying. Everyone likes to hear the success stories and then think they can do it overnight. You can't! You need to work too.

Every industry has people in it that are brilliant but often are scared of being found out. The CEOs of the world often don't know what they are doing either. They try things, they take risks, and they hopefully get lucky. They gather information to make decisions, but the truth is they don't know until it is done how it will play out.

So relax, no one else knows what they are doing either. You are not alone. Imagine if we all put down our social media personas, and were honest about ourselves to each other. How much closer we would become. It is through vulnerability do we build true connections, build trust, and build amazing relationships. Those relationships are what inspire us to do our best, and realize we are loved.

I know I generally talk about tech stuff but I think it is important to share these thoughts. People sometimes use honesty as a weapon against people, but being cruel is not needed either. Be honest about YOU, not everyone around you. You compare, you judge, but why? Because you need to feel better about you, because you are afraid of being judged yourself.

I'm going to make a real random reference here... Eminem in 8 mile, did a battle and he told the truth about himself and took all the power away from the other rapper finishing with "Now go tell them something about me that they don't already know." Being that honest in life, removes the power of bullies, the power of hate, and there is no guilt/shame card being played. I know it sounds crazy but it is how it seems to work from what I have seen.

That's all I have for today. Have a wonderful day and start being honest about yourself, you are pretty amazing, you don't need to only show the side you THINK people want to see, show them the real you and see who stays around. Those people are your true friends.