Imagine this. You’re a self-taught photographer, and all your friends love what you do. So naturally you take the leap and quit the 9-5 in favour of this passion you’ve had for the past two years. Suddenly everything changes. You start to doubt your ability, and if you have the right to walk amongst the trained professionals, let alone if you have the right to charge for it.
Imposter Syndrome is exactly this:
– You don’t feel deserving of where you are
– You question how you even got here with your current credentials
– You look inwards with the darkest part of your thoughts putting you down on the simplest thing
– You feel like an imposter, and it’s only time before you’re found out
So what do you do? You internalise all these thoughts, all the while not telling a soul how you feel due to this fear of being caught out. It’s a vicious cycle!
This is what happened to me…
I found myself quiet in meetings, nodding away in agreeance to plans of action I had no clue about, feeling less and less confident and sure of myself each time. My issue? High School status got the better of me at the age of 27… Come on? Still! Yes!! All my colleagues must have gone to amazing schools, and yet here I had been to a public school out in West Auckland and that is the ONLY reason why their English right now sounds more like pig-latin to me. Ughh!
Of course it bloody wasn’t the issue. For one, I got fantastic grades at said school (not to mention NZ’s queen mother, Judy Bailey went there back in the day haha), secondly, I completed a degree just like any driven 20-something would do, and finally, I had every right to be sitting at that table among these amazing colleagues – What I may have lacked in marketing knowledge, I made up for in creativity.
So what made me change this mindset? I found out the way I felt IS a thing (we’re kind of doing a post about it right now, team), and it’s a super common one at that – A lot of the time, a belief held by many high-profile business people, athletes, musicians, and even politicians and royalty.
Looking into how common Imposter Syndrome is, it was only fair to pass on the tips and tricks I’ve learnt to overcome it* (*Note: It IS a work in progress, but if you could see me now…)
How to get rid of Imposter Syndrome in 2017
1. Realise you are already there:
And unless you truly are amazing at lying on your CV, talking the talk, and projecting all the confidence in the world, you deserve to be where you are, and you only have yourself to thank for that.
2. Take a compliment:
There’s only so long you can be humble before you’re actually doing yourself a disservice by disregarding compliments. Relish in them for 10 minutes, and let them remind you just how deserving you are.
3. Perception is reality:
When you only see the surface of everyone’s success, you believe it was easy for them to get there – And this puts you down even more. Social media is a classic for this these days, so whenever you see a fashion blogger’s latest high street editorial shoot, trust (believe me here) that they took 50 photos for every 1 they share, were SUPER critical of every line, facial expression and shape, and probably don’t even own the outfit.
4. Identify and accept:
Listen out for those tiny voices in your head next time, now knowing that this is Imposter Syndrome (and it’s very normal). Then the next time they creep up, accept that they come and let them go. If you can laugh about them, even better.
5. Practice makes perfect:
If your insecurities are around education, creativity, even going to the gym, practice makes perfect. The only way you’re going to get better and build that confidence is if you invest the time in it. Get a little clued up, take the compliments that start flowing in, and trust that you’re well on your way to super confidence and truly believing you belong.
So what more am I doing to get over my Imposter Syndrome at work? I’m studying. Soaking up all the information I can get about the latest trends and knowledge when it comes to marketing and my line of work. And what I’m finding is that I know a lot more than I think, and understand everything quite naturally. The belief that I belong is getting stronger each day, and I love being able to add value to every conversation.
The thing is, you can become whoever you want at any time. It takes hard work and a ton of motivation (not to mention self-discipline), but all the resources are there waiting for you.
So learn about small business, start a photography course, get a gym membership and cute workout clothes to boot (mandatory), talk to that guy you like in your local cafe… Take the leap and trust that you belong.