“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?…” – Marianne Williamson.
Oftentimes, the one thing that stands between a wildly creative person and success is something called “Imposter Syndrome.” This is a real thing and it’s no joke; it can keep you feeling stuck, get in the way of your productivity, rob you of a good night’s sleep, and keep you from achieving your dreams!
If you’ve never heard of Imposter Syndrome, the term was first used by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in the 1970s. From The Very Well Mind comes this clear definition of Imposter Syndrome: “To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.”
It’s an unfortunate fact that many talented, creative people fall into the Imposter Syndrome trap. And with good reason. Your amazing abilities are NOT quantifiable. In other words, there is no truly objective way to measure your success as an artist.
If you’re an accountant, for example, at the end of the day there is undeniable proof that the work you did was perfect (your numbers added up correctly, yay!). As a clothing designer, it’s not so easy. Even if the garment you design and create sells well, is that irrefutable proof that you did a good job? Well, someone out there may still say they don’t like it. And boom, self-doubt sets in.
Yeah, I don’t think that’s me.
Maybe it’s not, and that’s great! But before you decide, does any of this sound familiar to you?
- You can’t realistically assess your competence and skills
- You give credit for your success to luck or other external factors (“oh, no biggie, I was just there at the right place and the right time.”)
- Underplaying your own performance or achievements (“aw, shucks, that was nothing…”)
- Self doubt and fear that you won’t live up to expectations (“OMG. I’ll never be able to do this! My boss is gonna be so disappointed.”)
- Workaholism or perfectionism. (These two go hand-in-hand. It’s how the subconscious mind tries to get ahead of Imposter Syndrome. Typically, it doesn’t work.)
- Sabotaging your own success. Placing obstacles to success might provide excuses for failures, but it also makes us more likely to fail. Would you rather feel good about yourself now by playing it safe, or do you give it your all and risk failure?
- Setting very challenging (or unrealistic) goals and feeling disappointed with yourself when you fall short.
If you recognize yourself in any of the above, then read on. There are many tricks out there to help you get “unstuck!”
Imposter Syndrome is not permanent.
The good news is Imposter Syndrome is very manageable once you identify it. In fact, there are many exercises you can try.
- Talk about it. Not with just anyone, but pick a trusted friend, confidant or mentor and talk about how you are feeling. Irrational fears tend to diminish when brought into the light.
- Take the focus off yourself. Look around you. You might see someone that feels just like you do. Ask questions to draw them out. It helps to see you’re not the only one that feels this way.
- Assess your abilities. Your assessment of your abilities may not actually be true. Write down your accomplishments and skill set (We’ll bet the list is longer than you think). Then compare what you’ve written to your beliefs. This may be all the proof you need!
- Question your thoughts. As you start to assess your abilities, question whether your thoughts are rational. Does it make sense to believe that you could possibly be a fraud, given everything that you know about your chosen field?
- Stop comparing. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare ourselves to others, you will find some fault with yourself that fuels the feeling of not being good enough.
- Use social media moderately. Creative people tend to LOVE social media. After all, it can be very inspiring and motivating! But overuse of social media can lead to feelings of inferiority. Thousands of articles have been written about this phenomenon, so enough said!
- Lean into your feelings and accept them. It’s only when you acknowledge your feelings that you can start to unravel those core beliefs that are holding you back.
- Refuse to let it hold you back. No matter how much you feel like you don’t know EXACTLY what you are doing, don’t let that stop you from pursuing your goals. Keep going and refuse to be stopped.
In order to even feel like an imposter, that means you have some degree of success in your life that you are mistakenly attributing to luck. Read that sentence again, and let it sink in.
Look at what you have accomplished in your life and use that to spur you on to even more creative success. Don’t be held back by your fear of being “found out”.
When you’re ready to let the whole world see what you’re made of, we’d love to hear more about your fashion dreams. Feel free to reach out to us at https://tegintl.com/get-in-touch/ or call us at 800-916-0910.