Let me tell you a little secret: I’m nothing but a no-good fraud. A phony. A fake. An imposter.
I’ve never really felt like I belonged in the advertising industry. Sure, I have written a few things here and there, and I know the job scope fairly well – but I’ve never really believed in my achievements. Am I really a Copywriter? Do I deserve being called one? Maybe someone made a mistake. “It’s only a matter of time before people find out that you have no fucking idea what you’re doing,” says the little voice in my head. But in actuality, I have done nothing wrong.
People who feel the same way as I do go through a psychological phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome. Being caught up with the fear of someone “finding out” that our achievements aren’t real; that our successes come from serendipitous luck; that we’re never good enough. It’s a constant battle between knowing you’re competent and also a failure. But why do I feel this way?
(Even writing this article about Imposter Syndrome makes me question whether I’m capable enough to write it. Ugh.)
The true reality of dealing with Imposter Syndrome is that you can never get rid of it. But at the very least, you can stay on top of it. I’ve come to terms with my “imposterism” and instead of wallowing in my own self-pity, I’m trying to find ways to use it for good instead. So if you’re learning how to deal with this little soul-sucking demon like I am, I’m about to tell you how.
1. Recognise the signs and acknowledge it.
To be honest, I only came to learn about this syndrome a few months ago when my colleagues sent me articles and said, “Hello, this is you.” From there, I discovered that there are different types of people who experience Imposter Syndrome and you can take a test to find out your level of “imposterism”. Once you recognise which “imposter” you are, you can then start learning how to overcome it with solutions that best fit you.
2. Cut yourself some slack.
When you start to have these feelings of inadequacy, quickly shut down the voice in your head and tell the little fucker to go away. Nobody’s perfect in this world, and being wrong doesn’t make you a fraud. Instead, learn from your mistakes, see where you can improve, and focus on providing value—to yourself and to those around you. After all, going through Imposter Syndrome just shows how much you’re trying to be better at something.
3. Give yourself some credit.
While others love receiving compliments, I get super awkward and tend to make up some excuse as to why I don’t deserve the praise. That’s because I find it difficult to believe that I’m responsible for my achievements, and constantly think my success is just based on luck. Well, no no, that has got to go! If you can’t take praise like me, remind yourself that you are where you are because you deserve to be there, and you’ve received a compliment because you freaking worked hard for it. If you think you’re just a potato, remember you’re also a beautiful french fry.
4. Know that you’re not alone.
No. you. are. not. While it can feel extremely isolating to deal with Imposter Syndrome on your own, this phenomenon is more common than you think and many people feel the same way. In fact, 70% of people experience Imposter Syndrome at least once in their lives, and even big names like Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Reynolds, and Neil Gaiman suffer from it. So don’t be afraid to talk to others about it—they’re most likely dealing with the same thing!
To anyone out there who has Imposter Syndrome like I do, I hope these “tips” are helpful in some way. With a little bit of effort and awareness about yourself, you’ll be able to overcome these stupid feelings and own your accomplishments like the true boss you are. (I know, I know. It’s easier said than done, but we all try la k.) As for me, I’m not sure where this Imposter Syndrome will take me, but you can be sure that I’ll be trying my best.
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…or the author.