“I’m going to get found out today for sure”
“This is way out of my league”
“Soon these people will know that I can’t possibly handle this job”
Ever felt like this?
You are not alone. 70% of people around the world will feel like impostors at some point in their lives. That feeling that you’re going to get found out, that maybe you’re not as good as you portray, or that somehow you’re inferior to other people; that’s Impostor Syndrome and basically, all smart, talented and successful people feel like impostors once in a while.
Impostor syndrome is REAL. Most times, it’s a line between being insecure about who you are as a person and being insecure about your success. You wonder if you can keep your job even though you have done it a thousand times before. You get mentally crippled at the thought of taking on new jobs just because they offer higher pay. You pass on good opportunities with the excuse that you are not qualified.
Feeling like an impostor does not mean you are crazy or inferior, in fact, several researchers argue that only experts – the great professionals –who feel like impostors; that impostor syndrome arises as a result of becoming better and more accomplished at what you do.
Being a freelancer comes with obvious challenges like loneliness, client rejection, uncertainty about the future, and worse, the weight of imposter syndrome. It’s sort of a perk of the job.
Below are a few things you can do about it.
- Focus on positive impact
First of all, realize that the impostor feeling does not promote personal growth in any way.
It is an enemy of growth as there is no efficacy in sulking at your desk feeling like a phony when you can be working on getting better.
Instead, focus on the positive actions and outcomes you have made happen recently and other things you accomplished. Remind yourself you are amazing. Focus on your best qualities. Doing this will build your confidence and slowly dispel the sense of feeling like a phony.
- Avoid unfair comparison:
It’s kinda hard to resist comparing yourself to others. You compare yourself with people who seem to do your job better and have more experience.
But It’s no good matching your output with someone else’s because your lives, experiences, and choices are different.
Even if your creative styles are the same, there are other variables that guarantee different levels of output.
Instead, do your own thing, seek out tasks that you are good at. Set your own goals and focus on achieving them. Don’t spend time wondering what the goals of other freelancers may be or how good they are. Focus on you.
- Create a “feel good” checklist:
Having a handy list of the things you have accomplished goes a long way in overcoming impostor syndrome.
Another good way to overcome your impostor mindset is to decide on what you need to achieve in order to allow yourself to feel accomplished.
Define specific outcomes for those achievements and assign ways of measuring them.
Check off the items as you complete them. With this list, you have receipts and a ready response the next time your mind tries to trick you into thinking you’re an imposter.
- Social network:
As a freelancer, it is easy to isolate yourself from your social network but this isn’t the best case.
Connect with other freelancers, professionals and even old colleagues. Remember that many, if not all, people have experienced impostor syndrome at some point in their careers so you are not alone.
You stand a chance of getting affirmations from them which can build your confidence or provide helpful tips on how they dealt with a similar issue.
Your network can be your support group helping you navigate the waters when you need to overcome self-doubt, develop your skills and discover new strengths.
The feeling of being an imposter should not be ignored or downplayed. Take action, surround yourself with supportive people, and always focus on the things you are good at.