WHAT IS IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
Have you ever doubted your skills, talents or accomplishments? Worried that someone would expose you as a fraud? Believed that you didn’t deserve the success that you had achieved? THAT’S Imposter Syndrome.
Ironically, Imposter Syndrome tends to affect high achievers…you know, the people who are actually doing amazing things. High achievers often move their “goal post” of success.
They never feel content, because they are constantly “raising the bar”. Of course, it is good to challenge yourself, accept change and grow, but people with Imposter Syndrome are unable to accept and celebrate their accomplishments.
Imposter Syndrome feels different for everyone, but it usually includes feelings of anxiety, shame and depression.
Believing you’re going to fail no matter what. Devaluing your worth. Underestimating your own expertise. Not only does it seriously affect your self-confidence, but this fear can keep you from taking the necessary risks to further your career and personal growth.
WHY ARTISTS GET IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Art is subjective and frequently comes from a place of personal experience or emotion. Therefore, Imposter Syndrome - although common in many professions - can hit artists particularly hard.
Oftentimes, artists have limiting beliefs, worry that they don’t have “real” talent, compare themselves to others or feel they don’t belong in the creative community or art world. It’s quite the conundrum.
You pour yourself into every piece that you create then have to put it out there for the whole world to see and critique using standards that are completely subjective.
HOW TO OVERCOME IMPOSTER SYNDROME
It is important to acknowledge Imposter Syndrome because eventually your limiting beliefs will limit your opportunities. If you feel like you don’t deserve the show…the sale…the grant…the success, then you will not go after it at all. Or, even worse, you will quit making art altogether.
There is no cure for Imposter Syndrome, but you can overcome it by recognizing it, changing your mindset and creating an environment that fosters acceptance, community and support.
Over time, you will get better at identifying your triggers and have the tools and support that you need to squash those limiting beliefs when they start to creep back in your mind.
First and foremost you need to change your perspective. Get rid of all of those negative thoughts and stop letting fear take over, stop comparing yourself to others, stop making excuses, stop striving for perfection. Focus on your self-worth and the reason you became an artist in the first place.
Become a risk taker. In order to overcome Imposter Syndrome, you have to accept that failure is not the end of the world. Failure is a learning opportunity; a growth opportunity. The only way to get ahead in life is to take risks. You only really fail if you never try in the first place.
Acknowledge and celebrate your success; no matter how big or small. Keep a journal or write it out in your sketchbook. If you take the time to physically note your accomplishments, you can look back at your success any time you feel those negative thoughts festering.
Create a community. Surround yourself with positive people who are willing to give you constructive criticism. Helping other artists will allow you to share your creativity, knowledge and experience with others, often taking the focus off of yourself.
You are the expert. This is your artwork. You are the only person on the planet that can and will create it. How could you possibly be an imposter, when you are uniquely you and so is your artwork.