Overcoming Impostor Syndrome As a Creative
I didn’t go to art school and am often humbled by so many talented artists. I would think to myself that they have more talent, more creativity, more clients, more followers (okay, a lot more), more experience, are classically trained, have money to advertise, and the list goes on. I’ve also feared that all the people who I’ve convinced I’m an artist will wake up and realize that I’m not. Ugh, Impostor Syndrome strikes again.
Impostor Syndrome (according to Webster's Dictionary): "A psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success."
Imposter Syndrome in Creative Business
Creatives may be more susceptible to Impostor Syndrome for the following reasons:
• You’re creating something that inevitably some people will not like. Subjectivity is the nature of being in the creative space.
• Your art is a reflection of who you are, which makes you more susceptible to judging your own self-worth based on your work success.
• Work is often displayed for the whole world to see.
• The stories you tell yourself in your head can take on a life of their own because you’re such a creative person.
What Can We Do About It?
Now, I’ve caught myself describing others as “real” artists (implying that I am just pretending) and have just started making a conscious effort to stop making air quote gestures with my hands when I refer to my small business, so why would anyone turn to me for advice on how to overcome Impostor Syndrome? I’m not sure I have the answer but I can tell you that the following list has personally helped me on the daily.
Imposter Syndrome is a symptom of being vulnerable. Your brain: Oh, you’re putting yourself out there? Cue the insecurities.
Another way to look at it is that your vulnerability is your superpower. I don’t want to use the ‘A-word’ because it’s used so often but in this case it feels warranted. People crave authenticity.
For example, my blog post ‘Publicly Being Called an Art Fraud and What it Taught Me’ has been my most viewed post and has led to some pretty cool opportunities. I write about my lowest and most embarrassing moment as an artist and by sharing it, not only did I feel freed, but it shows that I’m a human who makes mistakes and learns from them.
Use your vulnerability to your advantage because if people get to know you, they’re also more likely to support your creative business.
2. People Don’t Care About You As Much As You Think
I know this sounds harsh, but it’s actually liberating. Stop worrying about what others think about you because:
It doesn’t matter.
Even if it did, they likely aren’t thinking about you anyways.
To be honest, most people are too interested in themselves to be worrying about what you’re doing all the time. When’s the last time you saw something that someone else made and thought, “Oh, that person is such an imposter.” Never? Bingo.
3. Know Your Value
Embrace your talent. Need some help? Here are a couple exercises:
Exercise 1: Write down all the reasons someone would believe you’re an impostor. Now write down all of the reasons why you’re exactly where you should be.
Exercise 2: Talk to yourself like you’re talking to your best friend.
4. Do It Scared
If you look at Imposter Syndrome in another way, it actually means you’re being brave. Whoop!
For example, I know there’s a chance that hardly anyone will read this blog post but as you can see, I wrote it and posted it anyways. At the absolute least, I get to express myself and feel proud that I was brave enough to put myself out there.
At the end of the day, nobody really knows what they’re doing but we’re all figuring it out. That’s the fun part.
Remember, you’re not a muffin, you’re a delicious cupcake. Now go create something because the world can't wait to see it.
If cute illustrations that combine my love for junk food with everyday objects in unusual and often punny ways sounds interesting to you, I'd love for you to follow me on Instagram @MishiMoooDesigns and/or on Facebook.com/MishiMoooDesigns.