Dealing with imposter syndrome as a creative entrepreneur can sometimes be detrimental to your business. You feel inadequate about your work, afraid that people will find out you’re a “fraud” or that you’re not really as skilled at your craft as you present yourself to be. I can relate to this feeling cause even as I sit here writing this piece, I can hear my inner subconscious whispering to me that I’m not “qualified” to write about such a topic. However, because imposter syndrome often runs rampant during my creative process, I’ve found ways to cope and keep “hateful sally” (as I like to refer to my inner critic) at bay.
Though imposter syndrome is not recognized as a medical disorder, it is very real and common amongst creatives especially women since typically women tend to not think as highly of their qualifications as men. Research shows that in order to apply for a job, women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria while men usually apply after meeting about 60%. In fact, many world-renowned writers, artists, and actors still suffer from some form of imposter syndrome even at the height of their careers.
Essentially, the feeling of thinking you’re not good enough, or worthy enough, are all false narrative that has penetrated the subconscious mind and we reinforce those ideas by carrying them with us as our truths when in reality there is very little evidence to support these limiting beliefs.
Getting through these blocks takes time and is a continuous process. As someone who is in the trenches with you and working through my own form of imposter syndrome, I can say that it gets easier to push back against limiting beliefs but not without conscious effort. Here are some healthy nuggets of truths that’s been beneficial in helping me work through and overcome imposter syndrome and keep pushing me forward.
Find structure and create routines that allow space for creative exploration. Sometimes feelings of inadequacy come from not having the right structure and routines in place to support the things you want to do. As creative entrepreneurs, we sometimes wait for inspiration to strike, but if you’re dealing with feelings of uncertainty or feeling like a fraud, the moment for inspiration to strike may never come. It’s important to carve out precious time and space dedicated for you to work on your craft. Having that structure set up initially ensures that you’ll have the framework in place to do the things you need to do for yourself and your business. It takes away the guessing game of what needs to be done and when because the time has already been set aside and all you need to do is show up.
Challenge your way of thinking and seek tangible evidence of your limiting belief. Typically the internal dialogue causing you to experience feeling like an imposter isn’t factual or based in reality. In fact, I’m sure there is more tangible evidence that points to contrary beliefs. You are talented, capable, knowledgeable, and more than deserving of the things you’ve accomplished. Keeping a folder of some sort with testimonials or kudos you’ve received as a result of your work can help bring you back to reality.
Take Action. Nothing silences an inner critic better than taking action so it’s very very important to keep showing up and putting your work out there. You know the things you want for yourself and what you’re capable of doing so in order to build confidence in yourself and in your work, you have to put yourself out there for the world to see. It can be very difficult at first especially if you’re feeling like your work isn’t up to par, but to be frank, there is no way to find value in the things you do if you don’t allow people to see it. Start by sharing with people you trust and ask for honest feedback. As you start opening up and sharing the things you do, you’ll start gaining to confidence to openly share more about your work and its impact.
Stay positive! I know it sounds cliché but positive thinking always breeds positivity. To be clear, I don’t mean blind positivity or ignoring the very real challenges you may be facing. Being positive or staying in a positive state of mind encourages you to stay open to all the vast possibilities that could come your way. Life has its share of good and bad, ebbs and flow, so staying in the mindset of how to turn something that is seemingly a negative into a positive is just good life practice. It’s an easy default to run wild with imagination on the worst possible outcome of things but lean into the positive. See the untapped potential by entertaining with the best possible outcomes rather than only seeing the worst when things aren’t going your way. One way to help you stay positive is by surrounding your space with words of affirmation and language that speak life to you (like the prints sold in our shop). Plans are meant to be derailed and I’m sure we all have plenty of experiences to hold that statement as true so be aware of where things might be going array but don’t let hardship derail your state of mind.