This week, I presented at a conference. I also presented at a conference last month. Next month, I present twice at the same conference. In the fall, I'm giving a webinar for a national library organization. I've got half a dozen more proposals out for consideration and I legitimately think most of them will be approved.
Every time one of my proposals is accepted, I am surprised. There's a heavy dose of imposter syndrome going on because who am I to be chosen to talk about these things? Who am I to say that I can teach these things? Who am I compared to the others in attendance? I have a hard time seeing myself as more knowledgeable, skilled, or talented. In fact, I know I am woefully average.
And - yet - my proposals are still selected.
I think my shock comes partly from societal norms that tell women that they're not good enough. I think many (myself included) have a fear of rejection. If your proposal is not accepted, it must mean you are not as good as you think. I also think it comes from the lack of transparency when it comes to demonstrating expertise. At least in librarianship, there's no one teaching you "this is how you present at conferences." You don't learn a process. It's a leap of faith to jump into it.
I took that leap of faith because, one year, I just decided to say "Screw it! Let's try." It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
What are you going to leap of faith into?