Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

When we try something new – especially when that something is public – the loud, internal critic highlights the cracks, flaws, and mistakes.

The internal critic triggers self-doubt, false narratives, and – occasionally – paralyzing fear.

The fear of being “found out” as a fraud; one whose experience or advice can be questioned. Where the mean playground of social media or “real experts” call out your advice and mock your work.

I call this: imposter syndrome. 

It is a very real feeling for nearly every creative, publisher, or artist who produces in public.

The fear is so real, in fact, that it keeps work hidden, dreams unrealized, and words silenced. 

Here is how to overcome imposter syndrome:

Reframe Your Work

“I’m experimenting.”

Give yourself permission to fail, break things, and be imperfect. After all, you’re experimenting to see what works, to find the best path, and to try new things. When we experiment, we are free from existing rules and are less strict with ourselves.

Thomas Edison reported finding 1000 ways to not make a lightbulb.

Resist Vanity Labels

“I’m a contributor, not a guru.”

A contributor offers far more value to the community than a guru. Also, the number of true gurus are limited – and less fun.

There are enough pressures in the creative world, one we can combat is the vanity label. Drop the “know-it-all” expectation of being a ninja, guru, expert, or rainmaker and, instead, participate as a contributor.

Realize it’s scary

This is scary, I’m going to do it anyway.”

Working in public – that is, to publish, promote, or create where others can see – is scary. The Internet and social media has created a platform for anyone, sharing anything. For many of us, this is an opportunity. It is also a public stage where we could fail spectacularly. It is scary, but it becomes less so the more we work, publish, and produce.

Friend, you’re not an imposter. You have a message worth sharing. You have a skill, craft, or solution that others need.

This week, commit to stretching yourself. Share your message, publish one more, push the bounds, or experiment with your approach.

All the best,

-Shaun


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