Ep.2 : How To Identify + Get Rid Of Creative Impostor Syndrome

Today we’re talking about recognizing and dealing with imposter syndrome as a creative.

But, what exactly do I mean by imposter syndrome? It’s when your role is evolving and expanding but in your own mind you might start questioning your capability and authenticity in it. Basically, it’s when you start doubting yourself when the realities hits. You realize the responsibility, expectations and pressures attached to what people believed and aligned with you for.

Here are the top 10 reasons why it happens:

1. It’s a new experience to you. It’s not a hypothetical hope stuck in your mind anymore. Because it’s new it feels foreign. Even though it’s who you are, it may not be who you’ve always been so you’re still getting used to it.

2. Visionary mom’s feel it because sometimes it can be hard to feel professional when your home and work life overlap constantly. I mean taking calls with a child in the house is no easy task. But, handling things like that can add an extra layer of pressure where you feel like you have to hide a huge portion of who you are to be taken seriously, which doesn’t always feel authentic.

3. 9-5ers can feel it when they work for someone else and build their brand at the same time, it can almost feel like working is cheating on the authenticity of your entrepreneurness.

4. Students can’t feel it because they haven’t finished the thing that’s going to make them feel “official.” You feel like you can’t start or be taken seriously until there’s an external stamp or degree on it.

5. It can be triggered by an instance of rejection. Rejection and negative reviews are inevitable but they can shake a visionary to the core and have them doubting their entire worth. It’s sad, but it’s true.

6. You’re comparing yourself to the type of creatives that already exist in your industry. That will always have you feeling like you’re not there yet because everyone is in highlight reel mode constantly.

7. We haven’t hit the magical mark of what we think would qualify us. It could be a certain amount of money, sales, interest, or any other mile markers you created it to be.

8. We have been brought up to wait for the cosign of other to transition us from aspiring to professional or give promotions. When you work for yourself…when does that stamp happen? We don’t know, so we don’t always have that one defining experience of “ah, I made it.”

9. The people around that are closest to you still thing it’s something “cute” or “fun” that you’re trying and don’t see you as an expert. They don’t mean to but little comments can insinuate a lot and creatives notice.

10. You don’t have clarity on how to articulate what you do or offer so you don’t feel confident yet.

But, here’s what happens when we don’t deal with Imposter Syndrome

1. We fall back, shy away or just stop the progression of our vision.

2. We take on elements and qualities that aren’t authentic to us overcompensate for our lack of belief in ourself and what excellence and professionalism looks like for us.

3. Then you don’t have a presence of power and authority from within. The within it doubting so the words you use, the words you write with, the way you structure and process all the elements of your business are affected and then you begin to align with the feelings of being unqualified.

A great example of this is how women in general have a tendency to write in an apologetic tone, we don’t want to come off pushy, or abrasive. So, we say things that undermine or undercut our position in our expertise. I’m sure we’ve all done the email like “hey this is my price at this time, it’s this much because of this this and this, I know it may be asking a lot, so if you can’t I can work with you to bring it down…just let me know” Who has the authority in that email, not you. This and many other instances like it, only happens when you’re unsure. When you know your value, you don’t apologize for it. Deep deep deep down some level of imposter syndrome is influencing the apologetic tone we might not even realize we have sometimes.

But here’s how to overcome it. 

1. Realize that you now have permission to determine what you “legitness” is measured by.

For decades excellence and professionalism was based on staged variables that others dictated that didn’t always measure anything relevant to the situation… dress code, office policies, degrees, all that stuff. For creative business owners all that is now dictated by you but we’re still trained up and our instincts have been molded in the traditional ways. Now, the true value of legitness is in delivering on your promise, the brilliance of your vision, and creating an unforgettable and thoughtful user experience. There’s a lot of new realities and normal that WE are creating.

Think about it, it’s perfectly normal to have a baby on your hip and do business. It’s perfectly normal to wear skinny jeans and a t-shirt in meetings. It’s perfectly normal for people to be running their business and not even have a degree related to it or one at all.

I’m not saying that having a sitter for serious meetings, or dressing up for business lunch, or pursuing your education isn’t important. I’m saying those things don’t define or prove your abilities. You as the business owner now have the freedom to gauge what is the wisest decision for each circumstance. You have permission to dictate the type of creative business owner you are. Just always make sure your excellence leads you and then you won’t have to worry about feeling like an imposter because your moves are authentic and high value.

2. Take the time to develop and prepare your processes and systems.

When you have a prepared sequence for your people you don’t feel like you’re still “trying to keep up andfigure it out” what to do next all that time. That is the biggest source of feeling like an imposter on the inside.  I know far too many creatives that have websites with services or promote things online with no way for your people to actually go through the purchase process. Why?

A system for payment, quotes, and invoicing was never put in place. I know far too many that get interest, a sale or a client and then panic because they don’t know what to do next. Why?

They have nothing prepared that supports the experience of what they paid for.  When these things happen you feel like a fraud inside… and to be honest, it is a sign that you’re not ready to be doing business just yet. Not that you’ll never be, but that you just need to spend time stepping through the user experience you plan to provide and put the wording, responses, forms, material and any other content that creates a thoughtful unfolding of what you do. Being professional and having your brand message, content and strategy prepared is one of the best ways to overcome Imposter Syndrome. Don’t rush your process.

I don’t want any of you out there not walking fully in your purpose because of influential doubts and perspectives that have clouded your power or affected you. I pray that each of you today really steps into your own version of value and puts the prep work in for the whatever next level you’re eyeing.  

Before we go I want you to be honest and ask yourself what areas of your brand do you feel less confident about? Are there times where the symptoms or instances of imposter feeling comes up? Write it down and then come up with 2 solutions that will counteract what’s making you feel doubtful and start putting it into action. You all are too brilliant to not make a plan and kick those feelings in the face.