Have you ever felt like your success and talent is a mistake, and you don’t actually know what you’re doing? Raise your hand if you look at other people and assume certain things about their life and success, thinking they must have it more figured out than you. If you’ve been complimented for your work, been told by someone that they admire what you do, or gotten congratulated on an achievement - and you thought to yourself, “but no, really it’s not a big deal, I don’t actually even know what I’m doing.”
CONGRATULATIONS. You suffer from Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is widely discussed in my field. As an artist, and particularly as a woman, I can’t think of anyone from my peer group who hasn’t mentioned feeling inadequate at one point or another. It seems to be a rite of passage in my little bubble. Try to scroll through instagram for more than 10 minutes and I can safely guess you’ll come across more than one post talking about this. And it’s almost like a disclaimer we feel we have to make - “I’m vulnerable and humble. I don’t even think I deserve my success, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m being cocky. I am successful by luck, not because I’m talented and strong and smart.”
I’ve been a working artist for 10 years and I still get scared when I show people my work. In the span of time awaiting their reaction I panic that they’re going to think it’s not very good. I’ll be exposed for not knowing what I’m doing. No mind or matter that I’ve gotten plenty of feedback that I am talented and competent. I KNOW I have talent to offer, and I am valuable. Why are we so reluctant to show confidence? And why is this seemingly so rampant among women?
In this series I’ll be interviewing a selection of people on either side of the gender spectrum, across a range of career fields. I want to expand the bubble I’ve been immersed in. Maybe if we can talk about it enough, we can begin to normalize it. No more “Real Talk - I Don’t Know What I’m Doing” instagram captions or “I Don’t Deserve This” monologues. I want to see people believe that they are deserving of their success. And I want to believe in myself without feeling guilty or weird about it.
IMPOSTERS R' US: Welcome to the club.