• Elizabeth Hartl

Impostor Syndrome and How to Overcome It

Have you ever felt unqualified for a job even though you have extensive training? Do you ever shy away from giving advice because you believe that what you have to say is wrong or unimportant even though you know what you're talking about? I feel this way more often than not, and I have recently learned that around 70% of creative minds struggle with this issue. It's called Impostor Syndrome. Impostor Syndrome is the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite accomplishments. It is the feeling that all of your accomplishments are the result of some type of luck. It is a psychological phenomenon to which most creatives can relate.

Impostor Syndrome can be the worst feeling in the world. It can also cause anxiety, stress, fear, low self-confidence, and even shame and depression. If allowed to go unchecked, it can lead to less risk-taking and missed opportunities. Here are five ways to combat Impostor Syndrome.

1. Own and celebrate your achievements.

If you are a perfectionist, you must own and celebrate your achievements. Nothing will ever be 100% perfect. We are human and the errors we make give us character. Stop being so hard on yourself and trust that you know what you're doing even if it's not 100% perfect.

2. Stop seeking external validation.

It is nice to be recognized for your work. Recognition is motivation to keep doing our best. While outside validation is nice once in a while, it should not define our lives. We should not need to be told we are doing a good job in order to feel good about ourselves. Know that you are doing a good job and keep at it.

3. Look at yourself as a work-in-progress.

Know that there is always more to learn, for everybody. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to produce genius-level results. No one is looking for genius; they are looking for character and flaws. Admit to yourself that you are a work-in-progress and all those charming quirks will shine through, easing the pressure to produce or perform.

4. It's okay to ask for help.

Some creatives believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. When you need to ask for help you feel like a failure. It's kind of like the stereotype of how men never ask for directions and get lost because of it. It's okay to ask for help. No one knows everything. Asking for help when you need it will add to your credibility and ease your mind.

5. Acquire skills when you need them.

Do you constantly acquire certifications or training because it makes you feel credible? Doing this might sound like a good thing, but it actually causes unneeded stress and anxiety. Instead, try acquiring skills as you need them. Give yourself a break, you deserve it.

We all struggle with Impostor Syndrome at some point in our lives, regardless of our qualifications or achievements. Just know that you do know what you're talking about and it's okay to share that knowledge with others.


Elizabeth Edits

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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