June 16, 2020
Let me just start off by saying…you are NOT ALONE. Imposter syndrome is so unbelievably real and you are not the only one feeling it. The feelings of not being good enough or the constant fear of being exposed as a “fraud”! I don’t know about you…but these words really hit home for me.
You may be asking yourself “What the f is ‘imposter syndrome’?” The most crucial step in overcoming imposter syndrome, is understanding what it is and how to recognize the signs.
No matter where you’re at in your business, it’s likely you’ve experienced this before…you just didn’t know there was a name for it! However, imposter syndrome is not a new idea or made up word created by online entrepreneurs or millennials; it’s actually psychology! Otherwise known as ‘imposter phenomenon’ or ‘fraud syndrome’, the term was coined in 1978 by psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. These incredibly smart women also theorized in their paper that women are even more uniquely affected by imposter syndrome!! (Yay, lucky us 🙃) It’s not just women though—an estimated of 70% of people experience it at least once in their life! An article on Psychology Today defines Imposter Syndrome as being “[a] psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.”
In simpler words, imposter syndrome is the idea that you believe you’ve only succeeded due to luck or timing; not because of your talent or qualifications. WHICH IS COMPLETE BULL HONKY! And we let ourselves believe it!! So how do we change that?
One thing that I full-heartedly believe is that mental (and physical) health directly ties into running a successful business. Without our physical health, we can become stagnant. And even more importantly, poor mental health can be catastrophic in every aspect of our lives, business included. Your mental health should AID your ambition and drive; not hinder it. With that being said, I believe it’s important to acknowledge these feelings of “not good enough” and work on overcoming them.
Repeat that sentence over & over again until you believe it. But seriously.
One thing we should practice is to acknowledge the feelings we may be experiencing, but put them into perspective and don’t let them define you. Observe the thoughts you’re having as opposed to engaging with those thoughts. It’s important to ask yourself “are my emotions helping me, or hindering me?”
It is so easy to get caught the f up in what other people around you are doing. It’s not uncommon to scroll through Instagram all day long thinking I wish I was that good of a photographer, or I wish I had that body, or I wish I had the money to go there. The list goes on and on. We all are so guilty of this…and if you disagree…you’re lying to yourself.
FRIENDLY REMINDER: SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE. You have absolutely no idea what is going on behind that person’s screen. Or if you’re a photographer, you have no clue how many weddings/shoots they actually booked for next year. Just stop. The comparison trap is so ugly and can be really be harmful to your self-esteem.
“Your envy should always be a sign to you that you are lacking something. At that moment, you should ask God to help you understand what you resent, why you do not have whatever you are envying, and whether you truly desire it. Ask him to show you what you need to do to get there, or give up the desire.” – Boundaries If you truly desire what someone else has, instead of being envious, tell yourself “I am happy for them and where they are. I hope to achieve that soon!”
Easier said than done? Absolutely. Focus on what you’re doing and your successes! Keep your head down and stay in your lane. The only person you should be comparing yourself to, is your past self.
It’s human nature to feel these feels. And admitting your fears to someone you trust, can bring true clarity. In fact, shame shrinks significantly when you share it out loud. Being more self-aware will really allow you to notice these signs/feelings and overcome them!
Having a community of support around you is so critical to owning a (photography) business. While leaning on a significant other or family member is great, having someone to go to who’s been down the same road as you, is so beneficial for overcoming imposter syndrome. Find a mentor or join my Facebook community/mentor group to connect with other likeminded entrepreneurs! Valerie Young, the author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, says it best. “A sense of belonging fosters confidence. The more people who look or sound like you, the more confident you feel.” Remembering you are not alone can be so influential in overcoming this syndrome.
Taking the time to appreciate the little things. Every morning, write down a few things your grateful for. Or keep a list in the notes in your phone and keep adding to it! Having an attitude of gratitude keeps us in line and helps us put things into perspective when we start to go off the deep end.
I don’t care if this one feels silly or mundane. The more you celebrate all of your successes, big or little, the quicker you’ll overcome imposter syndrome.
And even better, don’t just track your successes! Track your stumbles too. This will help you overcome your fear of making mistakes and start internalizing your success!
Own your success, girlfriend! I don’t care how many client testimonials you have to read through to be reminded that YOU ARE A BAD ASS BITCH! Sorry, but it’s true. Be your own damn cheerleader. When imposter syndrome sets in or your confidence wavers, remember people love you and you have so much to offer the world!
Pro tip: Start a hype folder on your phone or computer. Keep a running list of amazing reviews & testimonials, compliments, comments, and thank you’s!
Want to see growth? Look in your rear view mirror. I guarantee you’ll see growth and change of some sort! Once a year, I scroll all the way to the bottom of my Instagram page. Holy humbling moment! When you’re done–stay humble, put it in drive, step on the gas, and start driving forward again.
Wanna know how to legalize your photography business? Check out this incredible blog post!