Does Imposter Syndrome ever away? And how do we find our own little niche and make it successful?
HERE'S the SHORT ANSWER - It Doesn't. But we can use that fear and that doubt to empower our choices. How?
Perhaps it's asking for help or learning another skills, or stepping back to the things that you are good at. Instead, we can focus on asking ourselves, How do I stand out? How do I create something that's never been done before?
First, what is imposter syndrome? You've likely felt this at one point or another at work or elsewhere in your life. It's a psychological phenomenon where we doubt our own achievements and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. It can be a common experience, especially among high-achievers and those in super competitive environments but also amongst creatives, who are putting themselves out there in very personal ways.
There are many misconceptions about imposter syndrome - it only effects those who aren't confident or experienced enough, or if you feel like this, it means your work isn't good enough.
The best advise I've ever received to help cope with this is to focus on the creative process, not the outcome.
Instead of focusing on external validation or comparing your work to others, focus on the creative process and the joy of creating. Remember that art is subjective, and everyone has their own unique style and vision.
But, when it comes - what do we do?
Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, try to reframe your mindset to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Remind yourself of the skills and experiences that have brought you to where you are today. This is a powerful reframe of mindset. Regardless of whatever you might feel insecure about in that moment, the feeling does not diminish the tangible quality of what you have built and learnt up to this point. That has value. Don't confuse doubt with failure.
And what if we fail? Failure is a natural part of the learning process. Instead of seeing failure as a reflection of your abilities, view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Use this feeling to challenge your inner critic. When negative thoughts start to creep in, challenge them with evidence. Write down your accomplishments, positive feedback you've received, and any other evidence that shows you're right where you need to be. Proactively seek out opportunities to learn and develop new skills. Taking action can help build confidence and reinforce positive feelings of self-worth. You can also take this opportunity to ask for help. Be okay with knowing that you don't need to be an expert in everything. Often, an entrepreneur is someone who knows enough about a lot of things, and knows where to reach for expertise and help when they need it. That is so powerful!
Here are some practical tips to help you cope with it comes creeping in...
Recognize that this is very common! We've all been there, even those of us who have been doing the same thing for a long time and have become experts in their fields. Use this knowledge to open up, talk to others, normalize the feeling and learn from eachother.
Take a moment and focus on your accomplishments: I do this all the time. Make a list of your achievements and skills, and remind yourself of them regularly. I have mine in my digital planner and it's the first page I see every day when I start work.
Challenge your negative thoughts. I know, easier said than done. When you have thoughts like "I'm not good enough" or "I don't belong here," challenge them by asking yourself for evidence that supports these thoughts. I dare you! Likely, you won't come up any or, what you do come up with also can't be validated. Often, there won't be any evidence, and you can slowly reframe your thinking to be more positive and constructive.
Be open and talk about it: Grab a friend, a business colleague, a mentor or reach out to someone you follow and admire on instagram. Ask them how they hope, their tips and try to settle your mind in knowing the feeling does not diminish what you're offering.
Take care of yourself: Take a break, step away, re-frame your mindset. Trying to force something when you're in a negative headspace will likely limit your creativity, in turn feeding your negative thoughts. Practicing self-care can help you feel more confident and resilient. What do I do? Exercise, deep breathing in nature, cooking / making myself a healthy snack or drink to nourish my mind and body, stress-cleaning (it's a thing and it helps!!!), or playing a board or card game with my children.
I hope this little post was helpful and relatable for you, not because I wish imposter syndrome to be a common feeling for you but that you can recognize it quickly and shift away from it. I wanted to write this post because it's important in a sphere where we're conditioned to compare and idealize a version of our work that is rarely the first, the second or even third attempt... it's a beautiful mess first, and then reworked many times. Imposter syndrome is part of the process. It's part of being human and growing a business. It does not mean you need to strive for it, or that you've failed because your outcome is different or slower, or looks different. Let's feel comfortable talking about and learning from each other, even when our insecurities come creeping in. Better together, always!
If you're a creative business owner and struggle with imposter syndrome or are looking for help to grow your business online, I cover how to create a business plan, how to define your decisions and goals and shift your mindset to one of an entrepreneur in the Beginner’s Studio Guidebook.
You can also download your free summarized guide here!
If you're new here, I'm Donata Delano. I am the creative owner and artist behind Donata Delano Art. As for my business, as some of you know, I run my art studio out of our home. I have a dedicated room where I paint, package and ship all my artwork to you. If you're curious about my daily life and how I run my business, I post often about my process, my studio and my work on my instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/donatadelanoart/
Also, if you'd like to follow along and subscribe to the mailing list to receive more post notifications like this, including special promotions to artwork, collections and freebies, head here and join the list here!
You'll instantly receive a FREE ART PRINT and studio setup mini-guide!