How do you feel when you’re in a creative flow state? When you’re so focused on the art of creating that the hours blur together?
Now, imagine publishing your finished creation for the world to see.
How do you feel? Notice your chest, your shoulders, your breath. What do you notice?
If you feel tension, you’re not alone.
Most creative entrepreneurs feel nervous about sharing their work. This sensation is more common than you might think, and it can stem from impostor syndrome.
Some authorities say that overcoming impostor syndrome is the answer. However, as an empowerment coach for entrepreneurs, I say that overcoming impostor syndrome is a part of something bigger.
Other leaders say that impostor syndrome keeps us all in check and motivates us to create our best work. From my experience, I would say the contrary.
So, let’s talk about impostor syndrome, where it comes from, why it strikes creatives so hard, and how we can heal from it collectively.
Why Impostor Syndrome Holds You Back
I believe impostor syndrome might be holding you back from creating your best work, because...
What you create begins with who you believe you are.
Please read that again.
If you believe you’re a mediocre writer, you will likely write mediocre content. If you believe no one wants to hear what you have to say, you probably won’t speak up during an important meeting, because you believe your ideas don’t matter.
This means healing from impostor syndrome begins with changing what we believe about ourselves.
So if you believe you have something extraordinary to offer the world, you will show up with authenticity and confidence to create only what you can share.
That, my friend, is a part of your gift to the world. And I don’t want impostor syndrome holding you back from your authentic best.
(If you’re curious about how to rewrite your inner dialogue, I have another blog that talks about exactly that called, Entrepreneur Affirmations Only Work By Using Your Creative Imagination)
What Makes Impostor Syndrome So Strong
As a definition, “impostor syndrome” refers to the phenomenon someone feels when they don’t think they are as competent as others may perceive them to be. It’s feeling like a fraud, as if you’re not talented enough, smart enough, or don’t have anything valuable to say.
If you struggle with impostor syndrome, you’re not alone. Impostor syndrome runs strong and deep, especially in creative circles.
Why? Because we constantly measure the worth of our work against the criticism of others. Rather than seeing the inherent value of what we have to offer, we often degrade our worth through comparison.
This is problematic because we deeply identify with the things we create. So when we hear criticism about our creations, we take it personally. We identify that criticism as something against our personhood rather than being about what we created. There’s a significant difference.
Ways Impostor Syndrome Can Show Up
Impostor syndrome can be hard to identify, because it shows up in several ways. Here are a few common tendencies that stem from impostor syndrome, as noted by VeryWellMind:
- Workaholic - Because if you work hard enough, you’ll make up for feeling inadequate.
- Overachiever - Because setting far-reaching goals can boost your feeling of competence.
- Perfectionist - Because nothing is ever good enough, you fixate on the flaws rather than what you’ve already done well.
- Soloist - Because you can’t trust anyone else to do the job right, or you’re afraid of asking for help and coming across as incompetent.
Healing From Impostor Syndrome
The Truth is, impostor syndrome is the symptom of something larger. Even so, there are ways we can heal and deal with the things society tells us to sweep under the rug. Of course, how we do this can look different. Still, I’ve found four qualities that can aid the process: vulnerability, honesty, courage, and grit.
Vulnerability - Feeling the emotions we so commonly suppress allows us to open up to the possibility of success, knowing that failure is not possible. No matter the outcome, we can either learn or grow.
Honesty - Acknowledging all our experiences, including the harder feelings inside us, the little day-to-day victories, and the bigger stuff, too, can reveal our Truth. Honesty is allowing others to see the messy process. Being a creative is not always easy, so let’s stop pretending it is. And, to be honest with others, we must first be honest with ourselves.
Courage - Actively challenging our comfort zones and trying new things can break the power of impostor syndrome. Rather than worrying about outcomes, we can let go of what happens next. Allowing ourselves to experience this moment is what matters most. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be afraid of the unknown yet move forward anyway.
Grit - Following through, even when we doubt ourselves. Meet your challenges, inner and external, with persistence. Remind yourselves of your Truth and keep moving forward. Rest when you need it. This way you can live out your authentic best, while staying grounded in reality.
Let’s Bring Truth to Impostor Syndrome
In all likelihood, I don’t think Imposter Syndrom is ever going to fully go away. I think it ebbs and flows and I think what’s more valuable is learning how to respond to your experience when it is present. And the good thing about that is you don’t need to struggle with impostor syndrome alone.
You can thrive. You can accomplish anything.
We are healing and growing together as empathetic entrepreneurs and creatives. We can show up and encourage each other along the journey. This can happen by being honest with ourselves and others and finding the grit to keep going, even when we feel discouraged.
Just think how this collective empowerment could impact the entire creative community and the ripple effect of that impact.
So let’s start a new narrative: one that courageously creates from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. The world needs us to make our unique mark. Every voice has something of value to share.
If you want to shed the weight holding you back and finally find the freedom to create, I want to invite you to join the 7-Day Challenge. It’s free, and enrollment is now open! All you need to do is sign up, and your journey will continue.
Until then, let’s stay connected.