If you are creative, independent person, one making your own stuff, doing your own work and trying to sell it in the market, most advice isn't enough. This podcast will help you become the successful creative indie. We'll discuss how to overcome the true enemies-- Resistance, failure and fear. We'll discuss business and marketing realities, what works and what doesn't for those of us who would rather make things than wear pinstripes.
The Curse of the Sacred Band Aid Pile
Why is the quick fix so seductive? What happens when we get too involve in them? This week I talk about the real costs and the culture it creates.
“Am I a Fraud?” The Plague of Impostor Syndrome, and What to Do About It
In the middle of trying to get five projects done, I’ve been hearing a lot about Imposter Syndrome. A week or two ago came an article on LinkedIn about Impostor Syndrome in programming. Ever since I’ve seen an article pop up here or there. I’ve known this all too well for so much of my life it resonated with me.
For those who want the shortest version of a definition, I defer to Musician Amanda Palmer. When I read her book The Art of Asking, I found wasn’t alone in this anxiety, though she called it the Fraud Police:
The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of “real” grown-ups who you believe—at some subconscious level—are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying: We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.(1)
If you’ve ever been successful at something and then look around you and think that your coworkers are so much smarter and better than you and you don’t deserve your success, you’ve been hit with Impostor Syndrome. When you get into a panic when you are afraid someone will find out you don’t know everything about your topic, you’ve been hit with impostor syndrome.
I think, on an everyday basis, I do feel like every one of those in some way or another. I’ve felt that way for much of my life. But somehow I got control over it. I’d like to explore what I do and think.
Before I do, I want to point out a few things. The most critical is you can’t know everything. In any discipline, there always more to know that is knowable. What compounds our ignorance is what I’ve called the Red Queen Dilemma, referring to Lewis Carrol’s Character in Through the Looking Glass.
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Technology does this to all of us. Standing still is falling behind. Moore’s law makes it impossible to learn enough. By the time you learn one thing, the world changes on you. A year ago, my Book Practical Autolayout for Xcode 8 went obsolete three days after publication. One critical menu selection, the resolver, moved to a toolbar button, making the entire book’s tutorial obsolete and indeed confusing to use.
Secondly, there is a paradox of huge social pressure to appear super competent and successful. When your colleagues and friends post only their successes online, it becomes too easy to measure yourself only by their successes. In those you aspire to be, you don’t see all the pain and failure in getting where they are. All evidence is to the instant success, and everyone posts success when you are feeling the failure and pain of working towards success.
Thirdly, imposter syndrome is a pandemic among successful people. If you have great or small success, you’re probably going to feel at least one you didn’t deserve it, because you don’t know what you are doing. While Amanda Palmer might be famous in the world of music, her Husband, fantasy author Neil Gaiman is arguably a Literary rock star. Yet he tells a story about one time he really felt Impostor syndrome:
Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realize that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.
On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened,
Urges in a Bookstore
Last week I was on vacation. During that time I’ve walked through a big bookstore: The Tattered Cover on Colfax Avenue, Denver Colorado. Ten or fifteen years ago, perusing the shelves of my nearest Borders Books, I would have had a very different reaction than the one I was having there. I would have both hands filled, weighed down by many books. This time, it is only one. My urges are so different here today, and it says a lot of who I am and how I have changed.
Goodbye, for now…and Thanks
Goodbye for now, and thank you.
What I Learned at LinkedIn While Recording, Round Two
Some of the things I learned while recording at Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning last week. Also my plans for 2017 books and web lessons.
Happy holidays, Parse a String to a Double.
This week, I’m writing on the website about converting strings into doubles. For some cases this is easy, but if the string is a time or a fraction, it’s not so simple. We’ll look at how to parse these strings into Doubles. You’ll find a Swift Playground file there to experiment or use the functions I came up with to convert strings.
It’s the time of year for the holidays. Apple closes down just about anything a developer or author wants. I for one missed my deadline for updating books. All the updates will happen in January 2017. I’m scheduled for early January 2017 to record the next courses for Lynda.com, after I’m done there, it will be book concentration time.
Most people tend to go for a holiday special or do reruns over the holidays. I’ve never done a holiday special before, but I’d like to do one today. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, some of it works here, some does not. Sitting in Starbuck’s with the Christmas music blasting too loud has me thinking about the season
There’s one story that’s ancient. It was compiled into a biblical commentary called Avodah Zarah, a name that sort of translates into “dealing with idolators.” It was compiled 1800 years ago, but I would venture to guess it is far older than that. The story I’m thinking of concerns Adam and Eve, just after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The days begin to get shorter, the nights longer. Not knowing the Winter Solstice is the way of the world, Adam is afraid this is the death God told him about. As the day get shorter and shorter, Adam and Eve begin fasting in repentance. After the Solstice, the days begin to get longer. Adam gives sacrifices in thanksgiving. He made those days around the solstice into holidays. People since then have always marked those days with feasting, some in holiness, some in idolatry.
The important part of this is darkness. This year especially so. The Jewish Calendar is a Lunar calendar adjusted for the seasons. It means this holiday season has very little sun and very little moon — it is the darkest of the dark. That’s why it is all lights festivals. The star of Bethelem, Christmas trees, Menorahs, and Yule logs are about light cutting through the darkness. They are all metaphors for the same thing: In times of spiritual and mental darkness, we must be the light cutting though the darkness, enlightening ourselves and others.
I go into this in a religious context a lot more in the one fable I’ve ever published on Kindle, The Tzaddik of Klaas.
It’s a bit of a Christmas origin tale, jewish folk tale and interfaith philosophical discussion. It’s one of the best writing I’ve ever done. But I want to look at this in terms of the creative indie, more than religion. Darkness is around us in many ways. Creativity and the creative chases away the darkness. The greatest creative act ever wether you believe the Bible or the Big Bang was “let there be light.”
We can enlighten, we can delight. Contrary to its detractors, Apple has rarely invented anything. They just took what was there and made it a delight. We can make our creative work a game that makes a bad day better, a course or book that makes a frustrating problem simpler, or an app that gets a tedious job done. All can bring light into the world. All can have a user interface that makes intuitive sense to our user, helping them do what they need to do. Your code can make the world a brighter place.
As I’ve spoken to may of you, I’ve learned you have knowledge and wisdom beyond code. Many of your projects are about your expertise translated into code for a mobile device. It may not be your programming as much as your content that bring joy and delight to your customers.