They say everyone experiences it.
Well maybe not everyone, but certainly artists and creative types have it – that feeling that you are not legitimate and one day someone will find out and expose you.
They call it “Imposter Syndrome”. And I definitely have it.
I don’t know if it comes from the fact that art is so subjective that no one can truly say if you work is good or not. Or because you can now search the world for other artists doing something similar and it feels like they are already way ahead of you and doing a better job at it too. Or maybe it is just human nature to be worried about what other people think.
And despite reading other experiences and logically taking on on their advice, I still can’t shake the feeling and I know it is stopping me putting things out into the world.
So on the advice of straight taking internet marketing Gary Vee, I am going to admit those fears in public with the hope the written word will show these thoughts to be unfounded and in doing so take away their power.
You can’t be exposed when you are already telling the truth.
(Well that’s my theory anyway – crossing fingers*)
Okay, so let’s get down to confession time…
Identify what you are afraid of.
1. I don’t practice what I preach.
Social media marketing for my business has been a real struggle for me. It used to be my paid full time job, so I know I have the knowledge and the capability and yet when it comes to applying it personally, I am stuck. Hence this blog, which is a way of me explaining my thoughts around the social media struggle and act as a kind of accountability buddy to get me to try and action things in my own business.
So there you have it, I am far from perfect when it comes to applying my knowledge to help myself.
2. I am not a real artist
I taught myself to paint, draw, make things. I am very good at looking at art and figuring out how to recreate it – perhaps I would have made a good forger in a previous centaury! I don’t have a romantic notion of needing to paint every day to get out my emotional turmoil. I want to make money from my art.
So there you have it, I am an artistic amateur who is willing to sell out.
3. The Internet Mob scares me.
While the internet is an amazing place, sharing wonder, inspiration and creating meaningful connections, it can also be a cesspool of the worst in human behaviour.
I am afraid that by opening up myself to the mass anonymity of “the internet” I will have to face nasty comments and unpleasant people and I really don’t want to bring that kind of horrible negativity into my life. I don’t want to deal with conflict and I really don’t think I should have to justify what I do to anyone.
I am scared that outside influences will profoundly effect my mental health and self esteem and I am actually inviting them by sharing myself online. I know everyone judges – *I* judge people!
I guess it’s down to the basic human need of wanting to be liked. Please like me.
So there you have it, internet trolls – MY SECRETS EXPOSED! 😱
The feelings of self doubt don’t seem to have dissipate yet, but hopefully after I hit publish on this post I can at least feel like I have addressed the issues out loud and now it is time to get onto more productive things.
EXERCISE: Try It Yourself
Do you suffer from imposter syndrome too? Then hopefully you might find some of the questions I used to identify my concerns. It helps to both make clear what you are afraid of it and hopefully by looking at it with logic and compassion, you will be able to minimise those feelings of not being good enough.
Questions to help remove the fear of Imposter Syndrome
- What things on the internet am I afraid of?
- What am I worried will happen if they come true?
- Can you identify a case of that happening? what was the outcome?
- How likely is this scenario to occur?
- What would people say that would hurt you?
- Why do you think their words and opinion would matter to you?
- What would you do if the worst thing came true?
I encourage sharing your findings – you don’t have to “expose” yourself all the time, but show up to your community as your true self.
Because on the other side of the world wide web are just people like you and me, unsure of where they are going in life, afraid to make big changes or just scrolling away an evening in front of the TV – they are all looking for connection and inspiration to just keep going. (well that’s what I am hoping, and it’s not just an internet full of trolls and bots!)
Let me know how you go!