As a creative individual, there are moments where I totally feel like a fake and a fraud. And most of the time, I’m scared someone is going to call me out on it! Someone is going to tell me I’m a fake, a fraud, or a phoney and I’LL JUST AGREE!
Impostor Syndrome is feeling like an impostor in some realm, when you’re not. It’s when you think the whole world is going to find out that you are fake. This is when you have a deep feeling that what you’re doing isn’t real, even though it’s part of your life. For example, if you are a creative individual. Impostor syndrome can run deep in your thoughts, which makes you feel scared to share your work, afraid that someone will think you’re trying to be something you’re not.
Let me tell you, I have cried numerous times because I felt impostor syndrome so strongly. I felt it to my bones and was afraid to post ANYTHING in fear of someone telling me I am a FAKE! These 10 proven ways help me overcome imposter syndrome, and save my creative flow:
10 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Accept and celebrate your successes
In my Sociology classes at James Madison University, I had numerous classes that talked about privileges. Privileges in race, economic class, social status, gender, etc. It BLEW MY MIND. I had never thought about the world that way, because I never questioned the systems that taught me everything I knew and thought was right. Well, surprise, surprise, I learned that I am more privileged than I thought I was.
This lesson on privilege has followed me around in everything that I do. It’s made me question my own successes because I felt as though I never deserved them. I felt like I got “lucky” in some senses, had the right people in my life, and was raised in an upper middle-class family in one of the most powerful cities/countries in the world. My success was nothing compared to the other people who came from less and achieved amazing things. This made me feel like a BIG impostor.
It is a process, but I have to constantly accept and celebrate my successes as my own. Everyone has certain privileges and there are going to be a lot of people who have many less privileges than myself. That doesn’t take away from the hard work that I put in to get to where I am now. And that’s the same for you! One thing I always try to keep in mind is that with every success I have, I want to GIVE IT BACK to the next generation. Opportunities come to those that open themselves up to them and who look for them. It’s not always “fair”, and I’ve learned that the hard way. But we got to where we are today by doing something.
Be HONEST in your highs and lows
One way to overcome impostor syndrome is to be honest with our highs and lows. Similar to accepting and celebrating our successes, it’s important to be open about our lows. I was so scared to share my failures. I’m actually terrified of failing because I have a deep rooted belief that it further proves that I am a fake. But, that’s not always true! Sharing highs and lows to others proves that we’re DOING SOMETHING to learn, grow, and become this “idea” that we think we are faking.
I have failed many times at running a blog, I think about five times. I wanted to use my blog to make money and look cool. When I realized there was a bigger picture involved, it changed the way I wrote and shared content. I am no where close to being a successful blogger, but sharing with y’all this journey makes it more real for me. Which means, I don’t feel as much like a phoney.
Always add value
I have a horrible habit of always thinking about what OTHER PEOPLE think about me. It’s been something that I’ve struggled with since I was in elementary school (
probably when someone called me stupid!). The thoughts of:
“Am I going to look stupid?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if someone actually comments and says what I’m producing sucks and I should stop?”, “What if they laugh at me?”, and a whole lot of other questions always rush through my mind.
Well, what if what I’m saying resonates with someone else? What if I share something that connects to another reader? What about creating something that inspires, motivates, or encourages someone else to do something? Creating content that gears towards helping other people helps me feel less like an impostor. Adding value to other people’s lives by helping them doesn’t make me feel like a fake. If I genuinely believe in something, why not share it with others, in hopes that they find it valuable, too?
Stop comparing yourself to HER, HIM, THEM
This is probably one of the harder things to overcome. I always thought I was a fraud because my work never looked like the famous travel and lifestyle bloggers that I follow and find inspiration from. I compared myself to their work, their photos, and their viral posts. My photos never looked like theirs, and they still don’t. My work never sounded like theirs, either, because I couldn’t write like them.
Eventually, I learned to stop looking at their work as a means of validation for my own. I don’t need (
or want) to be exactly like them! My work has its own style to it, a sense of quirkiness and flavor all my own. That’s when I produce my best content! Stop comparing yourself to her, or him, or them, to prove you’re NOT a fake. If you’re creating something in your own way, you’re not an impostor for it.
No one knows what they’re doing
There are plenty of people who take the leap into the creative realm, with the goal of turning it into their business. Me, being one of them. I have no idea what I’m doing. Really, no idea what I’m doing. I’m part of creative groups on Facebook, creative groups on Instagram, and have met individuals who are hoping to do the same. A general thing I’ve noticed is that we are all hustling our butts off to make this “dream” a reality. The learning curve is steep, but we are working hard!
I feel less like a phoney if I know others are in the same boat as I am. If they don’t know what they’re doing, I feel less worried about not knowing what I’m doing! Hah!
You belong here
The market for travel blogs is a highly saturated playing field. We’re in the 21st century, and it seems like every original idea has either been overdone, or someone has already come up with it. It’s hard to make a voice for ourselves when everyone has a “voice” these days! How can I stand out from the crowd if there are so many other blogs out there who have better photos, better content, better graphics, etc! It’s tough, and there are days where I’m sure you and I both feel defeated and ready to give up.
Although there will always be a lot of people in your field, I truly believe there’s space for all of us. Our unique voices, stories, backgrounds, and flavah in life all attract different people. Unfortunately, we can’t please everyone. I had to accept that, even though I tried so hard to appeal to everyone. Your unique talents resonate with someone! Just knowing this makes me feel less like an impostor. We all have something to share. And by sharing it, someone else will be inspired by it, which leads them to doing something.
There’s no use in trying to keep a façade of being the person who knows it all, has it all, or does it all. Because let’s face it, we can’t know it all, have it all, or do it all. That’s impossible. I know, because I’ve tried! Being vulnerable in my posts and on social media is something I’m still trying to get used to. I try to keep things in my life private (
while running a blog… a bit ironic if you ask me) and only share bits and pieces that I feel comfortable with. Being vulnerable with my readers and with the Pineapplers has been challenging. I’m always scared y’all are going to laugh at my mistakes, laugh at my failures, and call me out! Impostor syndrome makes me nervous to be vulnerable because it could lead to hate comments, which I’ve received.
One of my most vulnerable posts, “Stop Asking Me When I’m Going to Join the Adult World“, ended up being one of my most shared articles. It’s been published on the Huffington Post and shared between friends, family, and even a few strangers! Being vulnerable is scary, but helps fight off feeling like a fake, when you’re being open and honest with people.
Admit when you don’t know
I think one of the biggest things about having impostor syndrome is always thinking that you have to know everything. When we’re put in the position of really trying to showcase something, or do something, we often try to position ourselves as the expert. But, can you really know everything about everything?! This honestly puts so much pressure to always be on top of it all, have it all together, and know everything immediately. Also, almost impossible – but I won’t say that it ISN’T possible.
Admitting when we don’t know something, helps take the pressure off. For me, when I admit I don’t know something, I always follow up with looking for the information and trying to find the best answer. It saves a lot of people time, and from jumping through loop-holes. Admitting when you don’t know something (but will find out) kicks impostor syndrome to the curb, we can’t always be THE expert on everything.
Save the nice things people say about you
I should actually take my own advice, because I don’t do this as often as I should. But, when I do receive nice notes, nice comments, or nice emails, I will save almost all of them! It’s nice to go back and read that others believe in you and want you to succeed. It definitely makes me feel less like an impostor when I know that there is a support group behind me.
FAKE IT TILL YOU
FUCKINGMAKE IT, SEÑORITA
And, if all else fails, the tried and true method: Fake it till you make it! Really. I’ve mentioned it before on Instagram that this very phrase has saved my butt numerous times. When I’m not feeling so confident in my own abilities, I fake it. When I feel embarrassed, shy, or nervous about something, I fake it like I’m not. The times I don’t feel confident about my blog posts or videos, I fake it. I fake it, until I start feeling more and more confident of my work and my abilities.
This blog, for example. When I first started, I NEVER would have called myself a lifestyle or travel blogger. I’d tell myself blogging was a VERY big hobby of mine, but never anything that I took that seriously. I compared my website to other bloggers who had been in the game for three or more years! If my work didn’t look like theirs, I could NOT call myself a lifestyle or travel blogger, but I faked it. I realized if I’m dedicating all of my free time and weekends to this baby, I am a blogger. Who’s going to call you out and tell you you’re NOT something? Nobody got time for that!
You’re not an impostor, I promise.
To help you overcome your impostor syndrome, I am challenging y’all to share in the comments, one thing that you haven’t done because you feel like a fraud. If that’s too scary, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. But, commenting in public is much more effective. Take a look through the comments, and if someone’s confession connects with you, offer them a bit of encouragement!
If you did that and want to take it a step further, I challenge you to DO SOMETHING about it. Take on the project, or the hobby, or whatever it is that you’re afraid to do because you feel fake. Do THAT thing. And then come back and tell me how it went! You’re not an impostor, I promise.
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