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How to Not be a Phony

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How to Not be a Phony
    Big Phony from iamkoream

    Do you feel fake? Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Someone that has convinced everyone around you that you are not what you truly are?

    In a recent article by one of my favorite podcasters and developers, Scott Hanselman, the idea of being a phony was discussed. What Hanselman discusses is how people that have a lot to learn, particularly those in IT related fields, end up feeling like they know very little.

    In fact, people can internalize these feelings and think that they know nothing compared to other coworkers or others in their field. These people end up feeling like fakes and that one day they will see that dreaded pink slip because someone has “figured them out”.

    I can relate to this.

    Being a programmer and writer I feel I can never learn enough and I’m always behind. But, instead of feeling like a failure I decided to sit down and come up with some ideas that can help me through these false feelings. If you are feeling like a phony, consider the points below:

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    Take a skills inventory

    One of the best ways to figure out exactly what you’re capable of is to take out a piece of paper (or a text editor for you nerds out there ;) ) and write down everything that you can do. Whether it be writing, drawing, being a visionary, understanding difficult mathematics, anything really; get it all down.

    After you’ve written everything, add four columns to the right of your list. At the top of these write “beginner”, “intermediate”, “advanced”, and “expert”. Go down your list of skills and mark which skill is at which skill level.

    Having a skills inventory is one of the best ways to realize who you really are and who you really aren’t. With this you can get a more realistic idea of what you need to learn and concentrate on as well as what you are good at.

    Beat down negative thoughts

    Regardless of having a skills inventory, negative thoughts and emotions are still going to be in your head on a daily basis. With you skills inventory though, you will be able to see which ones are legitimate and which ones are garbage.

    Beat down the garbage.

    There’s nothing special and magical to this. You just need to know that these are negative thoughts, that they happen to everyone, and that you can overcome them.

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    What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?
    – Julia Cameron

    Honor the true ones

    Not all negative thoughts are garbage. In fact some of them are the issues that you have to deal with the most.

    After taking a skills inventory and listing out some of the negative thoughts you have on a daily basis, try to compare those thoughts to the inventory. See some sort of pattern? Are some negative thoughts related to how bad you are at something you want to be good at?

    If so, then these are the exact issues that you must overcome to feel less “phony-like”.

    Jack of all trades, master of one

    I remember talking to one of my favorite professors while still in college. I told him that I was understanding that being in the IT field was complicated and that I could never stop learning to make it. I told him that I felt like I had to be a jack of all trades and master of none. He said,

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    “Yeah, sort of. More like a jack of all trades and a master of one.”

    Take out your skills inventory again and see where you exel. If the things that you excel at are the things and activities that you truly enjoy then it looks like you are in good shape.

    Mastering a smaller set of skills (a niche as you “serial entreprenuers” call it) while understanding a wider set is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.

    There’s nothing better than being good at what you love to do.

    Rise up to the challenge

    Now that you have a more honest outlook on your skill set, what you’re good at what you are terrible at, it’s now time to rise to a challenge.

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    The only time most humans grow when they are challenged. If you want to get better at what you love to do you have to constantly and willingly challenge yourself. Doing this will ensure you never have that “I’m a phony and everyone is about to figure it out” type of feeling again.

    Understanding that you’re not a phony is all about integrity. You are no better and no worse than you actually are.

    This is one of the hardest things to learn in life not just in the professional field. As soon as you realize who you are, who you want to be, and what you love to do, you can start to feel free in work and life.

    You will see that life’s challenges are just the thing you need to make yourself believe that you aren’t a phony.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2021

    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

    Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

    There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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    Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

    Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

    Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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    Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

    1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
    2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
    3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
    4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
    5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

    Now on to the checklist!

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    Here is how your checklist should look

    1. CAMPSITE GEAR

    • Tent, poles, stakes
    • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
    • Extra tarp or canopy
    • Sleeping bag for each camper
    • Sleeping pad for each camper
    • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
    • Pillows
    • Extra blankets
    • Chairs
    • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
    • Lantern
    • Lantern fuel or batteries

    2.  KITCHEN

    • Stove
    • Fuel for stove
    • Matches or lighter
    • Pot
    • French press or portable coffee maker
    • Corkscrew
    • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
    • Food-storage containers
    • Trash bags
    • Cooler
    • Ice
    • Water bottles
    • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
    • Cups, mugs
    • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
    • Cutting board
    • Foil
    • soap
    • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
    • Paper towels
    • Extra bin for washing dishes

    3. CLOTHES

    • Clothes for daytime
    • Sleepwear
    • Swimsuits
    • Rainwear
    • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
    • Extra layers for warmth
    • Gloves
    • Hats

    4. PERSONAL ITEMS

    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • First-aid kit
    • Prescription medications
    • Toothbrush, toiletries
    • Soap

    5. OTHER ITEMS

    • Camera
    • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
    • Maps, area information

    This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

    Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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