HOW TO SURVIVE THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME TEST
BEING TESTED BY IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Before I dive into the hot topic of Imposter Syndrome and how it fucks with our lives, I want to mention last weeks conversation with the amazing ‘Twelve Connected’ who nailed it at their first group show.
You can watch that live conversation and see the back end of what hanging an Art exhibition looks like at The Copper House Gallery in Dublin 8.
Tune in here
So, I want to talk to you about Imposter Syndrome.
I get this question a lot , as I work with my 1:1 business clients and over at The Biscuit Factory.
Am I talented enough?
Can I figure out this business bit?
Who am I to be teaching this stuff?
Am I educated enough?
Am I enough??
I don't know about you guys, but when you have a big vision or any vision at all, like you know…
A vision like
I want to have my website up and running.
I want to start workshops.
I want to build an global personal brand…
Whatever it is.
How how big or small, how these goals or aspirations happen…all begins with your mindset and how you feel about YOU.
When you think about what you want to do, the default and what feeds Imposter Syndrome, is we tend to look at ourselves…right?
We look internally and we say…
Who am I to be doing this?
Like holy crap. you can't do that big thing, Tara.
Who are you?
Like you don't have a degree, a masters, or a PhD about building big things.
Who the feck am I anyway to be doing these?
Just to note, I deal with this every single day. I deal with it sometimes every hour of every day. And no matter who you are or what you do, or how successful you might seem or how amazing the things that you are doing might come across, it doesn't take away the reality that every single person doing something in their life -- that have dreams and visions that they are trying to make that happen…has that Imposter Syndrome feeling.
Has that default mindset that switches the viewpoint from the vision, right around to themselves.
It's fear, right? And it stops us from our tracks.
Now I do a lot of stuff everyday, but I also deal with this every single day. And if you think that people don't, they actually do. And if they say they don't, they're lying because everybody at some point in their week deals with this when they want to do stuff.
👉That's the first message to you
You are not alone, and it happens to everybody.
And I think a lot more to creative minds because we are so attached to what we do.
We are so emotionally connected to what we do.
When we look at what we want to do, the connection is so tight that it is so impossible not to deflect back into looking at the creator, the person thinking up of this thing.
It's an obvious reflex, that we go internal.
So, how do you deal with this?
A lot of people say, it's normal. Just get over it. It happens to everyone. You have to be resilient. You have to say no to Imposter Syndrome.
In reality, it hits you whether you like it or not.
And I'm a big believer in accepting feelings and making friends with them rather than pushing them away. Because they are always gonna come back. All those self-doubts in your ear, they're gonna come.
And I think let them come. It's how you deal with it. How you process that feeling.
How you actually turn it around and do something with it, that is the important bit.
So, when you do feel that, what I do on a daily basis, and this is really, really powerful…
If you're feeling that negative
"Who am I anyway to be doing this?",
"I am not talented enough",
"I am not creative enough",
"I'm not learned enough", like all the stuff and I know you get that as well, I think, everybody does, and I'd like to know in the comments how often you feel that, is it a daily thing? is it a weekly thing? Is it a yearly thing? What's the kind of the number on it for you?
When you do feel this feeling, I recommend this four things.
👉STEP 1 👈
The first thing is not to let it go.
Not to push it away.
But to embrace it.
To recognise it.
Who am I anyway?
Well, let's look at that actually. Who am I?
Accept that it is a normal thing to feel when you are an entrepreneur. Or When you are a business owner. Or when you are a person who wants to make shit happen.
It goes hand-in-hand.
And no matter how far you get, or on what part of your journey -- you are gonna feel that on a regular basis.
It's kind of a good indication that you have dreams, that you have visions, that you want to make something of what your creativity has given you. You are not passively going through life and letting other people decide.
In a weird way, it's kind of a good way that you feel that. That's the first thing.
👉STEP 2 👈
The second thing is as default, we shine the light on us.
I want you to shine the light on THEM.
The minute I feel that "who am I?" instead of going deep into the 'me' I want you to turn your focus on your audience, on your customer, on the person that you are trying to help on what you do.
On the customer that you are trying to enrich, what is it that you are doing for that person.
Focus on them.
When you take away that focus from you and push it back on who you are trying to help, it changes the way you process that feeling. Because it is not about you.
And I work really deeply on this in the Foundation Program which is an online business programme for Creatives. We work really deeply on this and it is really vital to the success of you as a person, and you as a Creative mind, but also for your business in so many different ways.
But for this particular subject, Imposter Syndrome, it is not about you. It is about your customers. It is about people that you are serving. It is about the people you are helping. It is about the people that you are impacting.
The minute you get it, how's it going? I know why you're here but you know what, it's not about me. It's about them. So, flip it back over and push it out. That's the second thing.
🤩Step one, acceptance. Acknowledge it. It's okay to feel that. That's the first thing.
🤩The second thing is flip it over. Flip it back onto who you should be focusing on. Stop thinking about yourself. It's not about you.
🤩And the third one -- I want you to go back into some emails, some social comments, some conversations that you might have had with past clients, and I want you to pull the testimonials around what you do.
I want you to focus on the good things that people are saying to you about your work and what you have brought to their lives. And I want you to pick three or four or five of them, write them down, and stick them up around your space.
Wherever you are.
On the fridge at home, in your studio, on your computer, on your toothbrush -- wherever you are regularly in your life.
And if you suffer deeply around this narrative about being not good enough, again flip it back over to the people that matter. And they are your customers, the people you are impacting, and pull that information that they have told you.
"Hey, you are making a difference. I love what you do. You've enriched my home. You brought happiness to my children. You have sorted this problem out for me, I feel fantastic after I have engaged in what you do. I have changed my life. I've quit my 9-5 job because of what you do."
All these things are important to remind yourself of these things.
Not just -- yeah, yeah, yeah but I am not doing as well as she is…
No. It's not about you. It's about the people. It's about what they are telling you. So, remind yourself of this stuff.
And stick it up around your space.
Around your workspace and your area.
🤩And the fourth thing…
and this is a really difficult thing because of social media, because of the world we live in, because information on other people's lives are so in our faces, right. But this is really important because what tends to happen is you look at your competitors -- I don't even like calling other people competitors -- but you look at other people in your space.
But we tend to be divils for comparing with other people in our space.
😳She has a better website.
😳She looks so much better on camera than me.
😳She can talk about this.
😳She's got that gig.
😳She's working with them.
😳How come I am not doing that?
😳She is invited to this Facebok HQ thing and I have more members in my Community.
All this stuff that you are looking out at the wrong people. You are looking at people that are doing other things when you should be focusing on what you do and you do really, really well.
👉The fourth bit of advice is put on Biscuit Blinkers and focus in on what you do, and you do it really, really well.
And you focus on your audience and you zone in on that relationship. And that's what you focus on. Right?
Not the other people.
Not the shiny people that are out there that are you're doing your head in.
That might be copying what you do.
That's business. That's life. You know, put on the blinkers and focus in on your stuff.
And there are my four tips for battling Imposter Syndrome. [chuckles]
I'd love to hear your comments, gang.
Karen says -- Working on a commission. I'm really doubting my ability. But I am turning off my negative self-talk and it's helping me to enjoy it and relax.
Brilliant, Karen. That's it. Brilliant.
Daniel said -- This couldn't be more apt for me today. Been really struggling with this feeling this week and I'm choosing to just chip away at my to-do list. Regardless of what I am feeling, I am capable.
You know you are in the factory. We talk a lot about planning and making that list. And knowing why you are doing what you do. But I know we all have big dreams and visions on where we want to bring our businesses. And as I said at the start of this live is that big thing, that really creates nearly anxiety around what we want to do.
In order to be productive and to get stuff done, you have to plan and you have to break down this thing to very basic actionable steps every week and every day. Otherwise you are gonna keep going like this, and running around like a pingpong machine. Social media, email, networking events. It becomes manic when you do not plan something and write a list. Like today, I am doing two things, that's it. Two things and chip away, like Daniel said. And that's what I'll do. That's really smart. Keep at it, Daniel. You are amazing.
Theresa said -- everyday it is so strong and I often feel embarrassed for even trying. As in, who does she think she is?
Yeah Theresa, that's it girl. But everyone gets that. Everybody gets that. In different context and maybe different narrative but the feeling is the same. Who does she thinks she is.
Now, I want you to accept it, just like I said. Accept it but push it out. Think about your amazing photography and how that will impact the people that you work with. What does it feel like for them? Look at the testimonials. Look at the people that you have worked with and zone in on that. Because if you are feeling like that, it stops you progressing. It stops you engaging in groups and asking for help because -- who am I to ask for help? I'll try and figure it out all by myself because yeah let us make it really, really hard because it's supposed to be hard. Hmmmm. Not as hard as you think.
Big, big learning in my career -- please ask for help.
Help is there.
There's the biscuit group.
There's the biscuit factory group where help is our central point.
Make sure you ask for help.
Don’t do and try this by yourself.
It's just too much.
Maria says -- I feel it everyday. I try to focus on the vision, goal and remember that I am not harming anybody by doing what I do. And I am allowed to do it. I kind of give myself permission to do it and fail, learn, succeed.
Absolutely. It's permission.
And here is the thing. We all learn everyday. We all make mistakes. We all have an idea and it fails. But what happens when you fail? You learn, right? You pick yourself up. That didn't work and how could I do it differently and try something else then.
I think the important thing there, Maria, is to get that support to make sure that the learning from the mistake doesn’t duplicate. Right? That would be a good quote, wouldn’t it?
The learning is documented, and you apply it to the next project or the next idea. And a big thing for me is to test stuff. Always use your community, use your tribe, use your audience – people that get what you do and test stuff before you launch stuff. That’s another conversation but a very, very interesting point.
Hey Patrick, how’s it going?
Patrick says – Recently, I was at a media awards and I felt completely like I do not belong there. Everyone was dressed up in fancy suits and dresses. Many of the nominees have been there many times before. They were all so relaxed, though maybe also hiding anxiety like me. And even though it was hard work, they got me nominated. Part of the team that was nominated, I still feel like an Imposter.
Looking back, I realised that I belonged there just as much as anybody else in that room. I am not an Imposter. If I changed my view of myself, my world changes.
At the end of the day, the customers were thrilled with their videos and I impacted people, like you said. Thank you.
Feckin’. I have goosebumps reading that, Patrick.
Fair play to you.
You know what, it is at these events that really, I think everybody feels that though. At those events, same people go every year. And a lot of people are so comfortable because they go to the same – it’s like going to holidays on the same place.
People gets so relaxed and familiar. Familiarity is so relaxing, isn’t it? And it feels good to be part of something.
So, you’re right, Patrick. A lot of these people have been there. They know the people. They know where to sit. They know where the toilets are. They are not going to go to the wrong place. They are very familiar. And confidence comes with familiar.
I always say, the more you do things, the more confident you get in doing things. Like for me, when I started doing livestreams in the Biscuit Box every week at 11 o’clock. Reminder. Reminder.
The more you do it, the more confident you get at it. And that’s a really important thing for anyone trying new things. Familiarity does help.
But I love that you realised – of course, you belong there. Why are you not? You are just as good as everybody else in your field. And I think it is important not to have to wear a suit or a big frilly dress. You wear what you want. And it doesn’t take away the fact that your talent is still recognised and that you deserve to be nominated. Fair play to you. I am delighted that you shared that, Patrick. Thank you so much.
Yes, well I truly believe that. Community over competition is one of my sacred things.
Paula says – Daniel is extremely capable and so talented and gifted
Bonita says – oh gosh, so true. Room for everyone. Loads of coffeeshops on the high street and every one of them is busy along with hair salons.
That’s right. Absolutely. And I came from a hospitality background. My first few businesses were restaurants and coffeeshops. I was always shitting myself when a coffeeshop opened up or a juice bar opened up near me and you do because ‘oh God, they are gonna take some of my customers’ and yes, they do. That’s business, right? Whether you’re online or offline.
What’s important is that you zone in on your audience, your customers, and make sure you are serving them and you are evolving your product and you’re giving them that extra bit. Which is, you give a shit about them. You talk to them as human beings.
And you listen.
Listening is so important, gang.
So, when you do sell something or when you are engaged to your audience, ask them questions. Listen to their problems because that will help you put together new offerings the next time you’re putting a product or a service together because you have listened and you’ve understood. Very powerful in business.
Andrea says – Ironically, a midwife gave me a great advice from the time our first baby was born. No matter what you think, and if you say you can’t, you were made to do this. Literally, I try to apply this to so much. It goes for everyone – male and female. Especially, as a creative.
Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s so true. And I think, Andrea, you brought up a good point.
Creative people, you know, it is in us. And I talked to so many people about this that. The feedback is – I had to create because if I don’t create, I get sick and I can’t function.
It’s like that need to create and it makes us happy.
And if we are not doing it, we are fecking miserable.
I think from a bigger picture of enabling creative people to be able to create on a daily basis, that’s your full-time thing and you’re making a living from it. What an impact does that have on us, gang? On the world is a much happier place. Because all of these creative people walking around bringing all these stuff to society.
It changes everything.
I think that is the big chunk that is missing. That education and that support around the creative sector enabling the creative people to create. And not to be working the crappy job that they fecking hate and doing this as a hobby. No, let’s switch it around.
It should be the main job, right?
Anyway, big picture. No pressure. [chuckles]
Tony says – I always think that I am own competition. As long as I am doing my best everyday, that I can do for my clients, then it is job done.
Absolutely. That’s it, Tony. I think you are right.
You have to do the best for your clients, for sure. You also have to know what your clients really need from you. And I think that’s a big thing. Serving and asking the question. But that’s a great one, Tony.
Hey, Jackie, how’s it going?
Helen says – Thanks for this today. I need to remember, I know my stuff well.
Yes, you do.
Ian says -- Self-doubt is such a big issue, not just for artist.
Absolutely. And that’s such a great point too, Ian.
It was about six months ago, myself and my husband was invited to this dinner party thing, which doesn’t happen very often.
Anyway, we went to this dinner party, right? And my husband has a lot of connections in a big IT company.
It was a work-related thing.
There was all these CEO-y people and you know very high end in their field. Very educated.
Like there were three or four very high people in their businesses, whatever that means.
Anyway, little on me and much went along. Happy out.
I was delighted.
I went in and of course I started the conversation around this topic which I am really interested in. I’ve never worked for corporate world. I have never worked for anyone else but me really. And so, I am always interested in that environment and how it is. And the politics involved. It’s a bit mad.
What I found interesting, after Ian’s message there, was that the people at the top of their game – the CEOs, the COOs, the CFOs – the common thread through everybody seated at that table was self-doubt, who am I to be doing this? It was quite light. It wasn’t a deep conversation. It wasn’t like. It wasn’t like that. It was very light and very open, actually. But every single person at that table commented on how they felt that imposter syndrome.
Interesting, right? I think no matter where you are in your game. I think especially as you get bigger. Especially as you go up that ladder, you get more fame, or you ditch the 9-5 and you run your business solely or wherever you are, it’s always there. Like always there.
There are people that had figured this out but they have worked hard at it. Daily practice.
I accept it and flip it back.
I remind myself of the impact I am having with my clients, with my customers, with my audience.
I am enough.
I am doing it.
I chip away, put on the blinkers and focus in on what I do and why I am doing this, and the impact I am having on my audience, on the eyeballs that are engaging with me.
And that is important to highlight.
Katie says – My arc page says Katie reckons she’s an actress. Seriously struggling with it all.
I love that. Will you put a link into your page please, Katie? I love to see what you do.
And anyone that wants to show off, please put a link on what you do. Please into the comments as well. I would love to dive in and have a look at it.
That’s me for today. I think this is an important topic.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for engaging with the live today. I
t’s something that we’ll revisit, definitely.
Okay, gang. Thanks so much. Have a great, great week. I’ll see you guys over bite the biscuit. If you’re not a member already, head over bite the biscuit, I’ll leave the link at the comments below.
Leave a comment. Tell me about your stuff and how you feel about the Imposter syndrome and I’ll reply to every single comment.
Okay. Have a great week. Talk to you next Wednesday on The Biscuit Box.