How to Kick Impostor Syndrome

Business owners and freelancers, this one’s for you.

Battling impostor syndrome

In 1978, two American psychologists by the names of Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the term “Imposter Phenomenon,” commonly called impostor syndrome, as a way to describe the feeling that you don’t deserve to be where you are in your career. You feel like a fraud, that at any moment someone’s going to realize that you don’t actually belong and you don’t know what you’re doing.

The gatekeepers are gone

In the good ol’ days, there was a set order to how you succeeded in your field. Artists wooed galleries. Software developers worked their way up from entry-level positions. Novelists found book agents to help them get their work published.

1) Start teaching what you know

You don’t have to go chase down an adjunct professor job at the local college (though you totally could). The focus here is to get that knowledge that you have stored up in your brain out.

2) What seems obvious to you is revolutionary to others

I was floored by this blog post by Derek Sivers:

3) Everyone’s learning it as they go

Some people feel like they need to wait until they know the answers to every question before they can consider themselves an expert, or even a professional.

4) Get outside perspective

While your customers aren’t your boss, their feedback can be extremely helpful in dealing with impostor syndrome. I’m not telling you to go looking to them for emotional support. Instead, keep track of the positive things they say about your work.

You’re not alone

Impostor syndrome is a very, very common phenomenon. Chances are, a good handful of people you know are experiencing it. So keep the conversation going! Be honest about your fears, and you’ll soon find that we’re all in this boat together.

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