3 helpful tips that can help manage imposter syndrome
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
If you walk into a room full of people and ask them, “Does anyone here have Imposter Iyndrome?” I can guarantee at least one person will say they suffer from it. But what is Imposter Syndrome? To put it loosely, Imposter Syndrome is when someone doubts their own abilities or feels like a fraud.
Some examples of how this behavior may manifest in a professional setting can range from someone always apologizing for their actions and feeling unsure of themselves and their abilities. They may also constantly minimize their own successes. From my experience, most university students have suffered from Imposter Syndrome at least once in their life. From creatives to athletes to academics, nobody is immune to Imposter Syndrome.
So how does a person deal with something like this? It’s really easy to tell your friends to just “fake it ‘til you make it,” but in reality it’s little more than giving a drowning person a high-five. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered from a wide variety of people that I found effective for myself. Although these tips are more geared toward people who have a creative nature, it can also generally be applied to everyone.
Everyone sucks sometimes
In a perfect world, everything you do or create has the grace and beauty of your best work. But that’s not realistic. No one is perfect all the time. Talk to anyone who produces any sort of work on a regular basis. There’s always peaks and valleys in their quality of work — no one can truly be great all the time because then their ‘great’ just becomes their new normal.
When you’re just starting out doing something, it’s easy to feel discouraged when you compare yourself to others who’ve been at it longer than you. We often forget that the reason those people do it so seemingly effortlessly is through years and years of practice and refining their craft. They’ve probably messed up the same amount as you, if not more. Don’t believe me? Ask someone in your craft or hobby, they’ll say the same thing. Nobody necessarily goes out of their way to boast about their mistakes but everyone makes them. While the mistakes may bring up a sense of doubt and uncertainty within yourself, let that propel you to do better next time, not break you down.
It’s probably a good bet that at least one other person in your class, workplace or even family is going through Imposter Syndrome.
Especially now that we live in such a social age, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are doing the same things as you are and ask them about their experiences. Having comradery when you’re feeling doubt may also help ease some of that anxiety. From personal experience, people love to impart their wisdom on those who ask, especially about something they’re passionate about. The thought of helping someone usually stirs the passion in most people and they often go out of their way to help you.
Find your ‘why’
In today’s age of technology, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of losing your purpose to a sea of Instagram likes, Facebook shares and TikTok comments. Humans are social creatures and this is the most connected we’ve ever been, but somehow, amidst all of that connection to other people we’ve lost a vital connection to ourselves.
I’ve spoken to photographers, journalists, producers and a multitude of other creatives and all of them seem to echo this sentiment: “Stop doing it for other people; do it for yourself.” If you think a particular piece of work is good, don’t let the fear of other people’s tastes mislead you. Gratification from social media is a great way to forget the meaning behind why you’re doing the things you’re doing. If you’re motivated by other people, the absence of other people’s praise will demotivate you. But if you develop a reason, a motivation strong enough, that may help mitigate some of the doubt that comes with Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is something many people deal with and they’re not alone. These handful of tips are just a few that may help ease the stress and fear of failure that comes with it. Ultimately, different methods may help different people but these three tips resurface often when I speak to others. So the next time you feel that unsettling feeling of supreme inadequacy rise up again, hopefully these tips will help you out.