How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

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Imposter Syndrome
Photo via Envato Elements

Have you ever felt like a fraud, like you’re not good enough for the job or task at hand? If so, then you’ve experienced Imposter Syndrome.

This common phenomenon can be crippling for creatives, but with the right tools and techniques, you can overcome it and flourish in your profession.

In this article, we’ll explore this phenomenon, why it affects creatives specifically, and how to overcome Imposter Syndrome once and for all. So if you’re feeling down on yourself, read on! You might just find the courage to face your fears and achieve your goals.

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is a term used to describe the psychological phenomenon of feeling like a fraud or impostor in one’s chosen profession. It’s not an official diagnosis, but it can profoundly affect how you perceive yourself and interact with your peers.

It’s common for us to feel like we don’t measure up in our chosen field, but when these feelings of unworthiness become persistent and pervasive, it’s a sign of Imposter Syndrome. This is especially true when you have the education, knowledge, and experience to qualify for your job.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome

There are numerous signs that you might have feelings of Imposter Syndrome, including:

  • Feeling inadequate and discouraged, despite your successes
  • Not taking credit for your accomplishments
  • Fearing failure and constantly doubting yourself
  • Believing that other people don’t understand how hard you work
  • Lacking confidence in your abilities
  • Feeling like a fraud, even when praised for your work
Young Woman with Imposter Syndrome
Photo via Envato Elements

What Causes Feelings of Impostor Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is complex and can be caused by various external factors. For creatives, it can be particularly difficult because the creative process involves taking risks and challenging oneself in new ways. This can leave you feeling like a fraud because there’s no surefire way to know how your work will be received.

Additionally, perfectionism, comparison with others, and difficulty handling feedback can all contribute to Impostor Syndrome. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other creatives or having trouble taking criticism, it could mean you’re struggling with imposter feelings.

Some theories suggest that people who grew up in families that put a lot of value on success or achievement may be more prone to these feelings because they’re used to having high expectations placed on them.

If You Suffer from Imposter Syndrome, You’re Not Alone

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome. This is a common experience among creatives, and many successful people have struggled with it. You don’t have to feel embarrassed or ashamed about your feelings; it’s perfectly normal. 

The term Impostor Syndrome was coined by two psychologists, Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance, back in 1978, who initially believed it was a condition unique to women. However, years later, they conducted a survey and discovered that about 70% of all people experience Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives.

What’s more, Imposter Syndrome can be a sign of how determined and hardworking you are — despite your feelings to the contrary. You’ve been successful in your career thus far and have achieved great things. Of course, that doesn’t make the fraudulent feelings any easier, so let’s talk about how to overcome them.

Why Is Overcoming Impostor Syndrome Important?

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome is important because these feelings can prevent you from reaching your full potential. It can adversely affect both your personal life and career growth.

When you’re suffering from Impostor Syndrome, it’s easy to doubt yourself and question your abilities — but this only serves to hold you back. By combating that nagging voice of doubt, you can take risks and push your boundaries without fear of failure.

Studies have shown that Imposter Syndrome can lead to poor job performance, career burnout, and even anxiety and depression if not addressed. Having a healthy mindset and recognizing your strengths will help you to be productive in the long run.

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Though it’s common, Imposter Syndrome can be debilitating for creatives. It’s characterized by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, despite evidence to the contrary. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome it:

Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Photo via Envato Elements

1. Recognize That You Struggle with Imposter Syndrome

If you struggle with Imposter Syndrome, it’s important to be honest with yourself and recognize that you’re not alone. It’s also important to be aware of how this collection of feelings is impacting your work. Recognizing these things can help you start to overcome the syndrome.

2. Recognize That Perfection is Impossible

It’s important to recognize that perfection is an impossible goal and that it’s okay to make mistakes. When you’re feeling discouraged about how your work turns out, remind yourself that nobody is perfect and that you don’t need to be either.

3. Share Your Feelings With Someone You Trust

Talking about how you’re feeling can be a helpful way to work through Imposter Syndrome. Talking with someone you trust — like a mentor, friend, or family member — can help you verbalize your feelings and provide valuable feedback.

4. Visualize Your Success

Visualizing how you will succeed can help build up your confidence and lower feelings of inadequacy. Imagine how it will feel when you complete your project and how satisfied you’ll be with the results.

5. Celebrate Your Achievements

Every time you accomplish something, take a few minutes to celebrate it — no matter how small. This can help remind you that you have been successful and can continue to do so in the future.

6. Keep Track of Your Successes

Start a journal or spreadsheet to keep track of how many projects you’ve completed, how well they were received, and how proud you are of the work. This can serve as a reminder that you’re capable and have achieved success in the past.

7. Find a Mentor

Having someone to look up to and guide you can be invaluable for creatives struggling with Imposter Syndrome. You can learn how to take criticism in stride, how to handle setbacks, and how to stay motivated even when things get tough.

8. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Comparison is the thief of joy, especially when it comes to Imposter Syndrome feelings. It can be helpful to remember how different everyone’s experiences are, how unique our paths are, and how far you’ve come in your journey.

9. Say Yes to New Opportunities

A common symptom of Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you’re never good enough for the next big thing, whether it be a promotion, a career change, or some other challenge in your job.

Getting out of your comfort zone is an important part of overcoming Imposter Syndrome. Saying “yes” to new opportunities, even when you don’t feel completely ready for them, is a great way to gain confidence and build up your skills.

Do You Feel Like an Impostor?

If you suffer from Imposter Syndrome feelings, you’re not alone. There is help and support out there to help you recognize how capable and talented you are.

By recognizing your feelings, talking with someone you trust, visualizing your success, keeping track of your successes, celebrating your achievements, finding a mentor, not comparing yourself to others, and saying yes to new opportunities — you can start to overcome these feelings of uncertainty and doubt.

By taking these steps and believing in yourself, you can become the confident creative you deserve to be.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes imposter syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is usually caused by a combination of factors, including feelings of perfectionism, unrealistic expectations from yourself or others, and difficulty accepting compliments. It can also be triggered by major life events such as starting a new job or going to school.

Is imposter syndrome anxiety?

Imposter Syndrome itself is not anxiety, but it can be a common symptom of it. Individuals with Imposter Syndrome can have feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and fear of failure, which can be difficult to manage and lead to feelings of anxiety.

Is imposter syndrome a mental illness?

No, Imposter Syndrome is not considered a mental illness in itself. However, Imposter Syndrome feelings can often be linked to other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Who experiences imposter syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or experience level. It’s especially common in people who work in the creative fields, like photographers and graphic designers, where competition in the job market is high and so much of a designer’s work is rooted in “self.” 

It’s also quite common in doctors, lawyers, celebrities, and other high-achieving and accomplished people.

Can imposter syndrome be overcome?

Yes! Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome Imposter Syndrome. It takes work and dedication, but by recognizing how capable you are, facing your fears head-on, and taking actionable steps to build up your confidence, you can overcome these feelings of doubt and uncertainty.

Are You Ready to Overcome Imposter Syndrome?

If you feel like you’re constantly battling feelings of self-doubt and that everything you do is never good enough, then you may be experiencing Imposter Syndrome. This syndrome can be particularly difficult for creatives, who are often their own harshest critic.

However, there are ways to overcome these negative thoughts, fight back and become more confident in your abilities. By celebrating your achievements, stopping the comparison to others, getting out of your comfort zone, and seeking help and support, you can start to recognize how capable and talented you truly are.

Imposter Syndrome is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to stop you from being successful. There are ways to overcome it and become the confident creative you deserve to be. So take these steps, and believe in yourself!

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