If Success Makes You Feel Like an Imposter: 7 Tips for Overcoming Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is a problem that many creative people struggle with, whether they be writers or actors or comic artists.  We found this article on Comics Masterclass and felt it was so relevant, we are reprinting it here (with permission, of course).

Taking the Fraud Out of Imposter Syndrome: 7 Tips for Acknowledging Your Competence and Success

Do you feel uncomfortable when fans ask you for your autograph or when they express their love for your comics? Do you avoid taking on artistic challenges because of crippling self-doubt? Do you attribute your successes to a lucky break or being in the right place at the right time? Are you a perfectionist who loathes making mistakes? Do you have an inner voice that constantly says you are not good enough? Do you feel hypersensitive to constructive critique? Do you believe that your peers are more talented and proficient than you are? Do you get anxious that others will discover that you are not as clever or skilled as they think you are? Do you stress out that you will be exposed as a fake?

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions then you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome (AKA Fraud Syndrome). Logically you know you are a person of accomplishment but emotionally you cannot integrate this understanding at a deeper level because you label yourself as a fake. Ultimately, there is a disconnect between people’s perception of you and your perception of yourself.

Imposter Syndrome is rarely talked about but is nevertheless very real. It usually affects intelligent and successful people, especially high achieving women and arts practitioners, including the already rich and famous. Indeed Michelle Pfeifer and Kate Winslet have owned up to feeling like they have faked their way through their acting careers despite numerous Academy Award and Emmy nominations and a win, which speak to the exact opposite. Other famous people who have admitted to feeling like impostors are actor Meryl Streep, comedienne Tina Fey, and novelist Maya Angelou. Despite all evidence to the contrary, there are some people who believe they have essentially faked their way to success through good luck. More often than not, they deny the hard work they have put in along the way.

If you believe that Imposter Syndrome has struck at the heart of your very core, then here are some simple tips on how you can remedy the situation in order to value your talent and skills and embrace your accomplishments rather than to distill or minimise them.

(1)           Accept compliments with grace
If somebody gives you a compliment, then walk towards it rather than deflecting or avoiding it with an answer such as “It’s no big deal” or similar. All you need is to simply say, “Thank you” or “I appreciate you telling me that” and then allow the compliment to wash over you and permeate into your inner self. These good feelings will begin creating a new foundation of calm self-confidence.

(2)           Practise self-appreciation and acknowledgement 
Value your hard work by surroundings yourself with symbols of your past successes. This could include framing your published comic book covers or artwork, keeping your sports or public speaking trophies on display, or mounting your academic accomplishments such as your university degree on your office wall. You will, therefore, have daily visual reminders of how far you have come.


Head to Comics Masterclass to read tips 3-7

photo credit: Claire L. Evans via photopin cc

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