One of the most frequent claims I have heard from people trying to explain poor learning outcomes in their country is that their teachers come from the bottom third of their college graduates, while high-performing countries recruit their teachers from the top third.
Tackling monster challenges -- where failure is the expected outcome because you lack the credentials to succeed -- can be addicting. It's a win-win situation, like being the underdog in a fight: you're expected to lose, but win and you're a hero.
Dear Sarah, just because most of the people don't think you're qualified, that's no reason to hang your head. Just because they don't trust John's judgment anymore because he picked you, don't let it get you down.