What is imposter syndrome and how do we deal with it? I want to dive a little into this topic because most of us have experienced it before. Doubting our accomplishments and feeling like we don’t belong wherever we are. Have you ever had this talk with yourself?
Sometimes, it feels like we don’t deserve to be in the position we are in. We dream about a certain job or a different life, but when we get there, we feel like we are in the wrong place. What a frustrating and uncomfortable place to be in. Imposter syndrome can also stop us from even trying.
Feelings of ‘not being good enough’ or ‘who the hell am I to do this?’ can as easily attack someone who is starting their career as someone who is in a very high position. We all get it at some point in our lives! First thing is to realise that we are not alone. You are not alone! Knowing that will help you to be more open about it and seek help or at least talk to someone about it. I’m here for ya, my friend.
I am no expert or psychologist so with this post I’m not trying to tell you how to treat anything or what to do. I’d just like to talk about my experience and share my view on it. Perhaps it will help you to think about it differently.
AM I QUALIFIED ENOUGH?
Nowadays, so many people have multiple degrees and it’s easy to fall into doubts about whether you are qualified enough. The problem is that we are forced to choose what we want to do in our lives very early, which means that there is a large percentage of people who get a degree and then never end up doing what they studied. Is this you? In some countries you have to pay for higher education, in some it’s free, and others will support people to explore the world first to find out what they want to do, and then get qualified afterwards.
We are in such a unique time where creating your own career is becoming normal. New disciplines are being made. The online world has had a big impact on this. Full time jobs in one place are no longer the only option. Many people even travel the world while working remotely. How awesome is that?
I want you to realise that this is something we need to celebrate! It’s amazing that we can do anything we want and people are less surprised with randomness. Lol, there are some random jobs.
In my opinion, it’s not about whether you have a degree. It’s about being able to put yourself out there, about your drive for whatever you want to do. When you find something that is truly your ‘calling’ and you LOVE what you do, you’ll find a way to learn all the necessary skills. Is that right? I bet ya.
CAN I STICK WITH IT?
We can do anything, we just need to be able to stick with it. If you’re like me, the idea of diving into something new and having to stick with it for the long time is terrifying. What if I don’t like it? What if I’m not good enough? What if it’s not going to work? I can go on forever.
If this is how you feel, I completely get it. Everyone around seems like they have it all figured out and I’m supposed to start something new that is potentially going to take years before it takes off and I can make a living out of it.
You know what? If this is what you’re meant to do, you will find a way to stick with it. It’s likely that you will divert from what you’re dreaming of because you will find your own twist on it. And that’s ok! Don’t be afraid to take something that is set, like a photographer, for example. And, niche down to photographer of hands, or kids, or put your own spin on the discipline. That way, you become an expert at it. And you will be wanted.
WHAT WE OFTEN IGNORE?
When interacting with people, but also when applying for jobs, there are soft skills like teamwork, time management and being able to budget. Soft skills can easily be learned, let’s say, for example when you travel. But, when you apply for a job, employers ignore these things because they want the skills for that specific job area. I mean… Imagine an emoticon of a person hitting her forehead with a palm.
I am hopeful that this is slowly changing and people are realising that the personality and drive of the job applicant is more important than having all the technical skills needed in the job. Self-education is becoming bigger. In some cases, self-education is not an option, like if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but in many areas you can find an expert and learn a specific thing from them.
When you’re thinking of changing career or direction, don’t forget that most of the skills you need, you probably already picked up somewhere along the way. You are likely more qualified than you think. So smile and take the first step to follow your dream!
WHAT I’VE DONE IN THE LAST YEAR
As a last thing, I want to share a few things that have been subject to imposter syndrome in the last year for me. I started working for myself just over a year ago. During this last year, I have tried so many different things and drifted off my initial plan.
My background is in Graphic Design so I started with a focus on Design, Photography and WordPress websites, which at that time I was only a beginner, having created a website for myself and a couple of others.
I went through different stages of trying to niche down photography to Adventure and Outdoor Photography and WordPress websites for Adventurers. Then I broadened everything to small businesses and got more into personal development, which changed my life. I’ve started adding that to my practice and created a Mastermind for small business owners (which no-one signed up for, but I learned a ton).
Now I’m writing a book to inspire and encourage people with my story to follow their dreams. I am also in the process of creating a course for entrepreneurs to help them take the stress out of Graphic Design decisions and set up assets for their businesses. I’ve turned from working more like a freelancer to working on my own products and services to create passive income.
As you can see, in only a year, I have changed my direction so many times and so much from the initial focus.
I want you to know that It’s ok to do that!
Jumping into the unknown and trying things out rather than waiting until you are experienced or qualified enough, is going to move you towards your goals and dreams much faster. Follow your heart and trust the process! When you find your true calling, you will know it and it will fuel you to follow through. Leave the negative ‘what ifs’ behind and change your approach until you get to where you want to get.
The secret is to enjoy the journey! If you can’t be grateful for the small wins along the way, you will certainly not be happy when you get to the end.
Tell me about your experience with imposter syndrome. Where is it stopping you progressing in your life? I’d love to hear about it. You can comment under my Instagram post at @makeityouradventure or send me a private message.