14 Sep I Feel Like a Fake
I feel like a fake
Do you ever feel like a fake in your work? Like you don’t deserve the attention that you are getting or that your success doesn’t matter?
You might be creating art, websites, or provide social media services. Whatever is your profession, there might be a time when you start getting down thinking: I am a fake.
There is a chance that you might be struggling with imposter syndrome. It is a feeling of not being enough, no matter how much you will succeed. While others will see your work as amazing, you will doubt yourself every day. Imposters feel like a fraud.
The good news is that many famous people suffer from imposter syndrome, including Albert Einstein, Lady Gaga, and Natalie Portman. The bad news is that even very successful people struggle with the feeling of being fake.
Where does it come from?
Despite the popular belief, imposter syndrome doesn’t come only from the lack of confidence, although it could be one of the reasons. There are many external factors that could contribute to it:
- your parents
- your environment
- comparison to others
- mental health issues
I see the lack of confidence as a result of those environments. If for example, your parents raised you to believe that you are not worthy and that you should always aim low, whenever you succeed, your first thought could easily be “I feel like a fake”, “I don’t deserve this” or “I was just lucky”.
In my high school, which was not very prestigious, the teachers did not even believe that we could do something meaningful with our life. I am pretty sure that this contributed a lot to my feeling like a fake in the future.
Furthermore, many of my friends, for a long time did not understand what my work is about and constantly told me that it is time to get a job. Because of that, when I got my first projects, I couldn’t stop thinking that I just got lucky and that I don’t deserve those projects.
Another aspect is mental health. For example, people with ADHD make many mistakes. Before I was diagnosed, I was afraid to even start any projects because I was very scared of failure. If I did manage to create any work, I was too scared to share it, staying in the shadows thinking: “I am a fake. They will find out!”
Is imposter syndrome bad?
There is nothing wrong with having imposter syndrome. In fact, just acknowledging that you might be having it is a big step already. It means that you are growing.
Self-doubt could actually help you to move forward and test new ideas. As Alicia Liu mentioned in this article: “If you actually don’t know what you’re doing, and you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, I call that an accurate assessment!”
However, it could stop you from growing and make you feel unhappy in general. You might decide to aim low, just because you don’t believe in yourself.
Overcoming imposter syndrome
What worked for me very well was to actually investigate my true abilities as an illustrator and designer in general. I bought some courses from other creatives and I have to say I was almost disappointed in the quality of their work! It gave me the courage to say out loud that my work is good enough.
Talking to other creatives about their process helped me to check if I am missing something. In fact, I was able to see that my process is great and I was more confident in providing it to my clients. At the same time, I keep reminding myself, that nothing is ever perfect and I keep those discussions open, whenever I am not sure if what I am doing is correct. I leave a healthy amount of self-doubt to keep growing but not too much to stop me from growing.
6 things that you can try to overcome the imposter syndrome
- The first step as always is acknowledgment and acceptance. You can even take it a step further and talk to the psychologist to understand what are the reasons behind your struggle.
- Believe in your ability to improve with a growth mindset. Your abilities are not set in stone. You can change anything and a challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow. Acknowledge when you really don’t know something and find ways to overcome it.
- Learn how to fail. “FAIL”, think of it as “F.A.I.L.” = First Attempt In Learning. There is absolutely no way that anything you do will be perfect. It can always be better so it would be easier to take failure as a new norm.
- Picture your success as if it was real. Enjoy the fanfares while starting to work on something.
- Avoid comparison. Remember that successful people rarely share the steps they took to succeed.
- Whenever you start thinking “I feel like a fake”, acknowledge your feelings and try to investigate what is the reason behind it? Be kind to yourself and seek support if you cannot move past it.
Do you have any other recommendations for keeping up with imposter syndrome?
You can also check my article on my journey to acceptance here.
Here you can find 6 personal growth books that helped me to overcome the imposter syndrome.