Even though you may have never heard of this exact definition of the problem, you and almost every creative individual experienced this phenomenon to at least some degree.
The doubts of our accomplishments and the persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud – disregarding of all the success, the happy customers and everything we have achieved so far.
While, for some, the Impostor Syndrome is just a thought, popping up once in a while, others really suffer from it in a way more extreme form.
Before we dive into eight strategies on how to finally overcome the Impostor Syndrome, we have to talk about our selective cognition, which are very important to understand.
Your selective cognition
There it is again, our selective cognition which is essential when it comes to becoming aware and filtering out the important things of our surroundings. If this feature wouldn’t be available, our brain would probably get grilled by all the sensations of all our senses coming in at once.
However, our brain, with a “little” help from our selective cognition, is also very great at filtering out all the positive achievements and skills from everyone else, comparing them to all the imaginary faults of you.
1. Become aware of your selective cognition
Every time you are, for example, around on social media and read through the posts of your connected people, you have to become aware what is happening there. Basically everyone, mostly, shares positive happenings, new achievements, videos of their brilliant skills, credits they are mentioned in, new releases and so on. What you are seeing are results, finalized content or released products. What you don’t see is the way, the process, the blood, the sweat and the tears and all the moments something went wrong, with all their imperfections …. and even if we see moments going wrong, people share them as outtakes at the end of their video, which again, appearing to be funny and positive.
Every time you feel those doubts coming up, that you feel worthless or, in your imagination, being exposed of your inabilities, become aware that your brain presents you all positive skills from all people, compared to what you think you are not good at. Become aware that you see a picture which is not worth being processed.
Ask yourself, would you compare all the money from all the people you are connected with, to the money on just your bank account? It should be obvious that you always appear to be the poor one!
2. Self doubt
If you feel that you are not being worthy of all your success and achievements, you may generally doubt yourself or even your existence. If this is the case, you definitely should get a bit into basic psychology and understand a potential cause of this problem. While we grow up, we internalize sets of beliefs which are being heavily influenced by our main educators.
Disregarding if your childhood was a good one all in all, maybe there were a few intensive moments or a longer period of time when someone told you, that you are, for example, “not being worth living in this house” or “you will never make it” or “I don’t know what I should do with you, you are just worthless”.
These situations manifest in us and form our negative sets of beliefs. Since we, as grownups, carry around our inner child deep within us, it gets unleashed in emotional moments, being triggered by our negative beliefs. That is why we get angry or start to cry … or simply, feel worthless which again triggers your potential self doubt.
Now what to do? Grab a picture of yourself when you were a kid and tell it, that it is not in charge anymore, that you are a grown up now and strong enough to deal with problems like these. That someone, when you were a kid, just told you these negative things, because they had their own problems, stress and issues to deal with. That your inner child is always being loved and safe now, no matter what happens.
3. Positive lists
Whenever you have these thoughts coming up, that you are not being worth your success, a positive list always does wonders. It simply helps us to make use of our selective cognition in a positive sense, enabling us to visualize all the things we have achieved so far in our life. Now matter how small!
Sit down, create a positive list and write down all the things you achieved so far in your life. See everything you did so far at once … and be proud of it!
4. Analyze your fear
The truth is, if you have doubts, you are afraid of something. If you are afraid of something, you have to track down the cause, no matter how ridiculous it will be at end.
For example: I am afraid because I feel, that one day, someone would expose that I can’t read score very well, even though I am writing a lot of orchestral music. If this happens, I am afraid that I could lose my job, ending up on the streets, have nothing to eat, resulting in my potential death.
So, if you sum that up, you tracked down your problem, which in a way, sounds sort of funny if you really think about it:
Only because you are not able to write or read score that well, you could die!
Isn’t this a bit like that moment when all the time you were afraid of daddy longlegs and suddenly experience that moment, when you look at one really close and realize that it is just a small animal which can’t harm you at all? Or that the tunnel at the end of your street were you used to grow up, isn’t really that dark and scary? Suddenly things like these, appear completely different, once you took some time to analyze them!
Of course your fear could be a different one, but it is absolutely worth it to take a moment to track and break these things down like this, in order to find the cause of it.
Also ask yourself, even if someone would expose this issue, as in our example, of not being able to write or read score that well, would it change anything on how your clients see you? … which brings me to the next point.
5. The result is all that matters
It is that simple. The result, your outcome, your finalized product, track or album is all that matters! All that matters is, that you delivered, the client is happy and the payment arrived at your bank account, enabling you to pay your bills.
Ask yourself – did you ever experience the situation of someone calling you and saying:
“Well, your track sounds really amazing, but at spot 0:37 mins it feels like you can’t read viola score very well. Not sure if we should use it!”
“Hello, that track is sounding great, but I could clearly hear you needed around two days to mix the snare only! Therefore I won’t pay you this time which results in your death because I will tell everyone about it!”
“Hi, I listened to your track and there is one triad being played, which sounds as if you simply layered a patch of eight french horns for each note? It means there are 24 french horns playing? Where do you live? Aren’t you familiar with orchestral instrumentation?”
… said no client ever!
6. The Perfectionist
Would this be a problem you are struggling with? You want to make it perfect and on the next day, by listening again to your composition, you find some more issues you want to get rid of … to make it even more perfect.
There may be a cause:
As above in the section of “Self Doubt”, one possible negative belief could live inside of you, that has been caused by that one person who you were never able to please with. No matter what you did and how much effort you put into it, it was never good enough and you hardly got any attention for your achievements.
Now you want to make it perfect, no, you want to make it way more perfectererer, so the world appreciates you (but subconsciously your only hope is, that this one person finally appreciates you. Even though this person may be dead already … oh wait!)
Again, make use of the strategy to talk to your inner child. It necessarily doesn’t have to be a photo of you as a kid. You could also write your inner child a letter or, in your imagination, take it onto your arm and take a walk through a beautiful park.
7. Three people jump
Imagine that there are two professional jumpers and you. There is an announcement that everyone is welcomed to jump over that huge hole in front of you, resulting in a financial reward.
The first guy rejects the offer and doesn’t jump. Then it is your turn. You somehow think that you are probably not that professional and well trained as the other jumpers but you sometimes trained in your backyard and also know of what to take care of in order to cross that hole. You take a run, jump and successfully manage to land on the other side.
As the third guy is about to jump, he somehow slips off and falls into the hole, which is not that deep, resulting in no serious injuries. However, he didn’t make it!
Now you take your reward, because you won and suddenly … do you have those nagging thoughts coming up?
“Did I deserve it? One guy who was way more professional than me didn’t jump and the other guy slipped off. I somehow don’t deserve this money, because I feel like sneaking through or having luck!”
Maybe, to make it worse, you hear the other jumpers say: “Yeah nice, could have done better!”
Now, if you see your career like this little contest, it all becomes pretty obvious:
- There is always someone better than you! Don’t waste your time to compare yourself and the circumstances about why being someone better didn’t get the gig, didn’t want it or didn’t make it! You did!
- The jumper who told you that he could have done better. Yes, congratulations, but he didn’t! You did!
- You know that you are capable of and you should enjoy what you do. This is what defines success! You also know what you are not capable of, but this is better than the guy who didn’t make it, because he overestimated himself.
- See this contest as a little event, which took place and not something your entire life depends on. In other words: See your work as a photograph. You captured a moment and then you move on to the next one!
By the way, do you remember if I have written “that you are not as professional as the others” or “that you somehow think you are not that professional” above in the second paragraph of this section! See how much eventually happens inside your head 😉
8. Your self confidence
When you are a self confident person you simply don’t care what others say about you, unless it is constructive criticism. You also don’t care about if someone exposes what you are not capable of, because it doesn’t play any role when people celebrate your music, which is a result of your skills!
Besides this, you are also perfectly aware that sometimes people are simply jealous and try to talk you down, but it instead of worrying about it, you simply feel being charged up and ready to go for your next race.
Furthermore, you also experience less or no self doubt in what you do, because you simply enjoy it and be perfectly aware that this life is not about competition or finding anything, but about creating it!
Always keep in kind that you are an individual part of the whole universe, expressing itself through you.
Your art is pure universal power unleashed … and there is nothing to doubt about!
Make sure to get access to my resource library to download a helpful infographic to overcome the Impostor Syndrome
I am really curious to hear back from you all. Tell me if these strategies work out? Difficult to understand? Looking forward to get a message or a comment from you.