Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome —the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications. It’s a nasty little bug that takes hold of you and grabs on tight.
After doing some research, imposter syndrome mostly affects:
-those with anxiety
I’m lucky enough to check off all of those boxes- YAY ME!
Picture this: Things are going well. You’re getting tons of orders. Then, suddenly things slow down. Not from anything you havr or haven’t done. Just a lull. But you scroll through Instagram and TikTok and see so many other artists just like you who are posting about their successful product launch or a video that shows dozens of shipping labels printing. Then, you’re suddenly doubting yourself. There’s no way you’ll get to that same level of success. You start second guessing everything you try to create. Is it just your style that people aren’t liking? You get into a creative rut. You get frustrated. Nothing you do or create looks good enough. You stop posting because you don’t want to post anything that’s less than your insanely high standard. WOW. How did we get here?
It’s a slippery slope, and we don’t talk about it enough.
I have several Insta-friends, who are fellow artists and create similar products as me, and I root for them ALWAYS. Because I will always advocate that there is room for everyone in the industry, because everyone brings their own unique style and voice to the table. But when I get in that rut, it’s also extremely difficult to watch their success when you aren’t in the same place in your journey.
Another thing: MOST PEOPLE POST THEIR BEST MOMENTS. Not their worst. So you’re really just seeing their success, and you think it’s always this good for them. But they likely go through the same thing and just don’t post about it.
Here are some secrets to remember when you’re feeling that imposter syndrome mess…
No one knows what they’re doing
We’re all just here faking it til we make it! Don’t wait until you feel that confidence to start putting yourself (and your art) out there. Because whether you’re ready or not, it will always feel risky and take a crap ton of courage.
Break the Cycle
Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and assuming that’s the same path you need to be on. Learn to pat yourself on the back instead of waiting on that validation from others (or your own expectation of yourself).
Making goals for your art and your business is important. If you know where you want to go, you need to know what to do to get there.
I personally get major imposter syndrome when it comes to time frames on those goals. If I don’t hit a goal that I set for a certain time frame, it means that I wasn’t "good enough" or wasn’t "as good as so-and-so who hit that goal effortlessly". WHOA. Pause. Who’s to say that person had no boundaries and worked nonstop for 2 weeks with little sleep to get to that goal?
If time frames are your downfall, maybe don’t set goals based on time frame. Maybe your goals should be set up by accomplishment. My next goal is to hit a 20% increase in sales. Does it have to happen this month? No. But I can aim for that goal each month until I hit it. When I do, I can set the next goal for 30%!
In short, you do not have to set up your business and your plans based on what everyone else is doing. Figure out what works for YOU and your business.
Something that has always helped me is to confide these feelings with trusted friends and loved ones. Whether it’s someone who has great knowledge of your industry or a close friend who has no clue how any of it works, your confidantes are the ones who can talk you down and remind you how beautiful and unique you are and how far you’ve come. If you don’t have friends like that… you may need new friends.
Take a Step Back
It's the easiest thing to forget when society is always telling you to go and go and go nonstop... but rest is NOT a waste of time. With imposter syndrome comes a lack of motivation and creativity. Take that as a sign that you may need to take a break. How you take a break is up to you... maybe it means taking a week off of social media. Maybe just limiting your social media intake. Maybe taking on fewer clients that month. The point is, do what you need to do in order to come back fully energized and ready to kick ass.
Learn to recognize when your train of thoughts turns into “Well so-and-so just posted about getting so many orders” I mean, that’s great for them and all. But that’s where the thought should end. It’s really hard to do and takes practice. I suggest having some self-affirmations written somewhere to have ready when you need to give yourself a pep talk. In case you don’t know where to start, here are the ones I have on hand that are specific to my art.
Your art is important. Your voice is unique. You are human and can make mistakes. Your dream is valid. It’s okay to take a break. You are your own person. You are a perfectionist because you care.
It is completely normal to have moments of doubt - the key is to not let that doubt control you and keep you down.
Hopefully, these tips will help you the next time your confidence is shaken. You will bounce back and remember how much of a badass you are!