Raise your hand if you’ve ever had moments when you’ve questioned your skills, your knowledge, or even your success. Does it make you uncomfortable when someone calls you an expert in your field? Do you sometimes feel like you are not as good at your job as others think you are? I’ve experienced these feelings a few times in my career as a graphic designer. When you allow them to take root, it is known as imposter syndrome, and it is a real challenge for many entrepreneurs.
According to Steve Errey (The Muse), the imposter syndrome is “that stomach-plunging fear that you’ll be revealed as a fraud who has no idea what they’re doing.”
“ It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are.’ “
Although the imposter syndrome was identified decades ago, I think we find more triggers for it today, especially online. Everyone seems to have picture-perfect profiles on social media, showing a curated, polished and touched-up version of their lives. It’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to your peers and feel less than.
So how do we overcome imposter syndrome? While I still battle with it frequently, I’ve put together a quick list of things that may help you fight it.
4 Ways To Fight Imposter Syndrome
Realize That You Are Not Alone
Talk about it with friends and colleagues, and you’ll be surprised by how many feel the same way. According to John Gravois (The Chronicle of Higher Education), it is estimated “that about 70 percent of people from all walks of life — men and women — have felt like impostors for at least some part of their careers”.
Don't Define Yourself By Your Shortcomings
Everyone is uniquely flawed. We all have weaknesses that we want to improve on, but when we take it too far and seek perfection in everything, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Instead, turn your focus towards your strengths. Remind yourself why you are qualified to do what you do: your experience, your happy clients, and your achievements.
Change Your Mindset About Failure
Failure is an inevitable part of life that is often misunderstood. Many see it as the bitter end of a plan gone wrong. But failure is actually the beginning of a process. It’s a way to learn what not to do. It provides clarity on how to get a more favorable outcome the next time you try. Change your perspective and look at each failure as a step closer to finding success.
Stop Comparing Yourself With Others
This is a hard one! We all do it, and social media makes it easier than ever. Remind yourself that what others share online is only a fraction of their lives, edited to look better than it really is. Make a conscious effort to stop comparing yourself to other people. As cheesy as this sounds, remember that the only person you need to compete with is the one you were yesterday.