Creative Coach/Mentor Lara Franks
Have You Ever Experienced Imposter Syndrome?
Have you ever been in your creative flow where everything comes together effortlessly, and the whole process is (on the most part) a fun and enjoyable experience? Still, when it comes to sharing your creation with the world, your imposter suddenly shows up?
You know that voice that says, "hey, I know you love what you've created, but who are you to think anyone else will like it? I mean, are you even that good at what you do?"
Imposter syndrome disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who then find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. It's essentially a pattern of self-doubt that can lead to anxiety, stress and missed opportunities. You start doubting your abilities and begin to feel like a fraud.
Creative imposter syndrome is when artists worry that they don't have "real" talent or feel they don't belong in the creative community.
Imposter syndrome is one of the biggest blocks that I see with people who want to work with me, alongside self-doubt – but like I mentioned the two are closely linked. They might have all the right ingredients and have produced some really great creative work in the past, but they can't seem to make it over the last hurdle and put this new idea out there.
I asked my community what imposter syndrome feels like to them and had some really insightful responses. Here's one that I felt summed it all up beautifully…
"I had an experience over the past few years when I had this idea but couldn't get myself to actually start. It was like I was frozen. I knew I had the ability to do it, but it was just scary and difficult to start. I realised the imposter syndrome, me not thinking I was good enough / able enough - was due to me now wanting my idea in my head to come out and not work. It's like, needing to accept the reality of your enoughness and that the imperfect version of your dream is a great place to start. The fear of failure / it not working out is a huge part of it. But I like to remember when I feel imposter syndrome, there are people out there who are less qualified, less experienced, doing what I want just due to their confidence! So, therefore, I can do it."
Creating and sharing is understandably a vulnerable process because as a creative you are also putting yourself out there. Your feelings, your personality, and your unique perspective, which can make it hard to detach from your work and not take it personally if someone doesn't like it. So the fear of failure can be a real underlying issue for most people.
As a creative, you might also be worried others may not understand your work or might not think it's anything special, thus making you feel like you're nothing special.
On the flip side, if you are getting recognition, you might think you don't deserve it for whatever reason. Maybe you didn't get a qualification or go to the right school, or maybe you were discovered early in your career and didn't have the same years of experience as another creative in your community.
Whatever it might be, these imposter syndrome thoughts and feelings are completely normal. You're not alone, and there are ways to work through it.
Below are some of my suggestions to help you start overcoming creative imposter syndrome.
Four Ways to Overcome Creative Imposter Syndrome
1. Practice self-love and acceptance
People who often think they're not good enough are among the brightest and are high achievers. Because of this brightness, you might be aware that you still have more to learn (we all do!), which can make you doubt yourself and not see how far you've come or accept where you are right now. Practising self-love and acceptance is about owning who you are, your talents and gifts, and all the wonderfully unique things you bring to the table.
One thing I get clients to do is to take stock of what they're good at. This means writing out a list so you can physically see all these great things. At the end of each day, the other is writing down 3 things you're proud of achieving from that day. Praise yourself and toot your own horn. It might feel uncomfortable initially, but you must exercise those muscles and get them strong enough to support yourself.
2. Stay curious and continue to expand your knowledge
I mentioned before you might be aware you still have more to learn; this is absolutely ok. We are all continuously learning and growing, even those who are experts in their field.
It's a beautiful thing to be a curious being, and I would argue that all creatives are curious people. So use that to your advantage and expand your knowledge in any way possible. Whether that be studying, attending a workshop, reading, listening to podcasts, working with a coach or mentor, or even playing around with new mediums in your creative field.
3. Re-frame failure, then embrace it
Fear of failure is the underlying issue for many people with imposter syndrome. They would rather hold their idea close to their chest and never put it out there than share it with the world and possibly not get the response they thought the idea or themselves deserved.
The thing is, though, that idea became yours for a reason. It jumped into your consciousness because you have the right set of skills and experience to produce it in your way – a way that cannot be replicated by anyone else. So it would be a great shame not to share it.
Re-framing failure is about acknowledging that failing doesn't mean you are a failure. It is not a personal attack, which is why it's important, especially as a creative person, to detach yourself from your work.
Look at past failures without trying to blame anyone (including yourself), and then make a choice to learn from them. What could you take accountability for? What could you do differently next time? Also, think about failures as guideposts in the right direction. They might lead you somewhere even greater, and that's why I like to embrace the failures and see them as opportunities.
4. Join a supportive community / find your tribe
Being surrounded by like-minded people who understand the creative process and the journey can really help you feel seen and heard. This is especially helpful if you work alone.
It's so easy to get stuck in your head and your own way of thinking – but if you have a supportive community and tribe of people to turn to or collaborate with, it can be the catalyst to expanding your perspective and imagination and make creating a whole lot more fun.
There will, of course, be people in your community going through the same things you are, i.e. creative imposter syndrome. So sharing your experiences and being vulnerable together is a great way to move through it and learn from each other.
In summary, it is completely normal if you feel like imposter syndrome is showing up for you and holding you back from sharing your gifts with the world. Even people you consider experts in your field suffer from imposter syndrome from time to time. Using the suggestions I've outlined in this article is a great starting point for helping you overcome your creative imposter syndrome. And if you would like further guidance one-to-one, please feel free to get in touch with me – Book Free Discovery Call.
Lara Franks - Lara Franks Coaching
Lara Franks is a New Zealand Creative Coach/Mentor, Podcast Editor and Writer for Good Magazine Online, guiding ambitious Visionaries & Creative Souls who want to take their ideas to the next level. With 20+ years of experience in her creative endeavours and qualifications in Acting, Presenting, Mindfulness, Holistic Life Coaching and Mentoring - Lara combines her passions with her work to create a truly energising, inspiring and empowering environment for her clients.