If you’re anything like me, you constantly feel like you’re in a limbo phase. I go through ups and downs of feeling like I’m a complete amateur, to feeling amazing, then back to being an amateur, sometimes all in the span of one day.
I have imposter syndrome. You probably do too.
Imposter syndrome is something that people experience when they are new to a field or industry. You feel like everyone knows that you are new and inexperienced and you’re afraid that any mistake you make with get you called out for being a fraud. You feel like no matter how hard you try, everyone is doing it better.
I’m a photographer, and I feel like this frequently. Sooner or later I’ll get called out: my website are portfolio is mediocre, I should leave it to the “professionals,” or I’m not talented enough.
Those types of words can hurt, but there’s a way to get through them. Truthfully, treating the symptoms of my imposter syndrome has been a daily battle for me. Here are three solutions that I’ve discovered:
1. Stay in your lane:
Not everything is a competition. The moment you go out into the world, whether that’s online or off, and start comparing yourself to others and what they have, you lost the war. Not the battle, THE WAR.
Just because they are in your industry, doesn’t mean you have the same ideal clients. For instance, I’m a wedding and portrait photographer in Houston. Do you know how many wedding and portrait photographers there are in this city? A ton.
On the flip side, do you know how many recently engaged brides and grooms there are? Probably way more than there are photographers. There is more than enough work to go around.
When you run a creative small business, you should have a ideal client in mind and that same ideal client probably isn’t the same for everyone. And if it is? So what. Even if your client is an ideal match for you, you may not be an ideal match for them. There is enough work to go around — you just have to find it.
The only competition you truly have is with yourself. If you get at least the smallest percent better at some task or skill every day, then you will master it eventually.
2. Appreciate your own progress:
I guarantee if you spend all of your time looking at what other people are doing day in and day out, then you won’t have any time for yourself. You have to appreciate where you are in this moment because if you’re serious about your business, whatever that may be, then you have to be committed to getting better each day.
If you’re committed, then you don’t have time to wonder what other people are doing. There is always space for you at the table. It’s up to you to claim your seat.
[clickToTweet tweet=”There is always space for you at the table. It’s up to you to claim your seat.” quote=”There is always space for you at the table. It’s up to you to claim your seat.”]
If you don’t stop and take notice of where you are right now in this moment, you can’t appreciate your success. You put in way too much work to not give yourself a pat on the back.
3. You have to have patience:
I love reading articles and blog posts about content creation, marketing, and business strategies. What I found at the foundation of every strategy is two things: Consistency and Patience.
Consistency, especially at the beginning, is one of the main reasons why people fail. They burst out of the gate with a million and one ideas, they finally get started, they find some success (or don’t), then they give up. They ran out of ideas or they didn’t have the time to keep up with everything. That’s a hard truth and it’s ok, but the problem comes from some people that aren’t patient with their process. If you fall off the wagon for a few weeks, fine. If you feel the need to apologize then by all means, but the only thing that will make it better is if you come back better and harder each time.
Don’t beat yourself up because you fell off the wagon. Get back up and bring everything you have and go harder. No one will notice you fell off for a little bit. The ones that do notice, are probably just happy to see you back.
Your level of self-esteem and how you deal with it as you navigate through life is something you’re going to have to keep in check to survive. I know this, because I’ve let those things get in my way so many times, I’m surprised I could even find my way out from behind them.
Imposter syndrome is tricky. It’s your brain telling you that you’re trying to be someone you’re not. It wants you to think that every failure is further proof that you’re not good enough for what you’re doing.
Go out and be exactly who you are at all times. Never apologize for it or compare yourself. I promise that if you own your journey, you’ll quickly go from who you are in this moment, to exactly who you want to be.