Sitting in that classroom on the first day I realised something: I felt like I didn’t belong there. Any time now the university’s administrator would walk in and tell me that they made a mistake and I had been rejected for the course and would I please leave the classroom.
And I wasn’t alone I found out later. The majority in my class felt the same way!
We felt like imposters waiting to be found out. We laughed about it and at the same time confessed, we still heard that little voice telling us we didn’t belong, we just weren’t good enough.
A low level of self-confidence is something we all experience from time to time. However, this goes beyond that. It is a profound believe that we don’t deserve that promotion because we couldn’t possibly be the right person for the job. It is the heartfelt conviction that we are not good enough, not smart enough or just not worthy enough for whatever positive which befalls us. It is a shrill voice telling us that we are going to be found out as the imposter that we are.
No amount of assurance by others can silence that little voice in our heads.
Imposter Syndrome is not a new phenomenon. It is just that it has been given a name.
So how do you as an indie maker deal with those moments that drag you down into that spiral of Imposter Syndrome?
A common phenomenon
I hate to tell you this and you might even stop reading after this: you are not unique. Nope, this isn’t something that has only you up at night. Every single one of us suffers from it from time to time.
In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded through television, our own family, our professional and personal networks and foremost social media that we need to be special, the best, be perfect, have positive vibes and we must Win Win Win.
You too can be extraordinary to which the rest of us mere mortals look up to in awe—and consequently suffer from severe Imposter Syndrome since we could not be possibly worthy of breathing the same air as this person, right?
Comparing ourselves to others has become second nature. Wanting to be the next [insert any name here] has become our life goal. The world has become this giant amplifier of the successes of others and your own is slowly fading into the background.
Keeping focus on your own path is hard enough without that little voice in your head telling you, you are going to be found out for the imposter that you are (NOT)!
Acknowledge the little voice
Don’t believe that voice. You are great. Your product is awesome and it will be a success! You friends, family, investors already tell you this, and still it does not compute.
The mind is a funny apparatus. It has a will of its own and will act accordingly. Ignoring its actions (read: thoughts) hoping it will go away, does not work.
Personally, I have had to struggle with the imposter within for many years. Most recently when I volunteered to write this article. Whilst I was chatting with Anne-Laure about writing for Maker Mag, that voice was screaming inside my head! And still: here I am, writing with that little voice in my head.
Will it be perfect? No. Will it bother me? Yes. Will it confirm whatever that little voice it telling me? No. Will this article define me? Who knows.
I have adapted. I have learned that instead of pushing it away, I listen to it. I acknowledge its presence and what it is telling me. Acknowledging the little voice is not accepting what it is saying. I am merely acknowledging its existence, that is all I am doing.
I am human and therefore flawed. Having that little voice chatting away in the background and not acting upon what it is telling me has made life easier for me.
It has enable me to enrol in university to seek new opportunities after been told all my life I wasn’t intelligent enough. It has helped me to accept that some of my choices which didn’t work out were still good choices at that time.
We all have our own different approaches to deal with road blocks, whether it is career or personal life. It is one of the things that make us who we are.
That is what makes us unique.