3 Tips to Overcome Impostor Syndrome
Do you ever feel like you weren't quite cut out for this web design thing? Do you feel like all the other designers are so much better than you and why do you even bother?
We all feel insecure about our skills from time to time. Part of growing and getting better means getting out of our comfort zone and finding that we have skills we need to strengthen.
It's not a bad thing to feel insecure about your skills, but it can be bad if the insecurity stops you from doing things that are really good for you and your business.
So do you suffer from not feeling "good enough"? Keeping reading to find out how to feel more confident and become more productive.
Take The Quiz
In 2008, Dr. Valerie Young created the following quiz. Go through these questions and think about whether or not they apply to you.
- Do you secretly worry that others will find out that you're not as bright and capable as they think you are?
- Do you sometimes shy away from challenges because of nagging self-doubt?
- Do you tend to chalk your accomplishments up to being a "fluke", "no big deal" or the fact that people just "like" you?
- Do you hate making a mistake, being less than fully prepared or not doing things perfectly?
- Do you tend to feel crushed by even constructive criticism, seeing it as evidence of your "ineptness"?
- When you do succeed, do you think, "Phew, I fooled 'em this time but I may not be so lucky next time"?
- Do you believe that other people (students, colleagues, competitors) are smarter and more capable than you are?
- Do you live in fear of being found out, discovered, unmasked?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, then you may have Impostor Syndrome.
This psychological phenomenon, known as impostor syndrome, reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure, despite evidence that indicates you’re skilled and quite successful.
— Melody Wilding
Impostor Syndrome often rears its ugly head in fields where you're expected to share your work with others (like web and graphic design).
You may find yourself pushing too far and burning out because you're trying to be the best you can be at everything. Or you may find yourself holding back from going after the jobs you really want because you fear you're not good enough.
So how do you deal with your insecurities and feel more comfortable with your own abilities?
3 Tips for Defeating Impostor Syndrome
1. Form a Support Group.
Sharing your experiences with impostor syndrome or your experiences feeling inadequate about your skills helps you to see your achievements in a more positive and objective manner.
Mastermind groups are incredibly popular in the web design industry, and I highly encourage you to join or start your own. Scour those Facebook groups you've joined and find people who are in similar phases of their business journey. Get together once a month, online or in person, and really discuss your ups and downs, share advice, and get more comfortable in your own skin.
2. Write About Your Values
Taking some time to really think about what you value in life can help reset your perspective. When you're feeling defeated or feeling like you're not good enough, remember what you truly care about!
Leigh Honeywell, founder and CEO of Tall Poppy, created the following values writing exercise for people experiencing Impostor Syndrome.
Take about 15 minutes to go through the following 4 exercises, and repeat it whenever you need a confidence boost. Right before you pitch a project is an ideal time!
Exercise 1: When you think of the times in your life where you’ve been the happiest, the proudest, or the most satisfied, which of the following values come to mind?
Coolness under fire
Helping other people
Power and authority
Exercise 2: Pick one and write a couple of sentences about why one of the values you chose is important to you.
Exercise 3: In general, I try to live up to these values.
Disagree 1 ----- 2 ----- 3 ----- 4 ----- 5 Agree
Exercise 4: What was the last topic that someone asked you for your advice?
3. Brag About Yourself
Remember that Mastermind group I mentioned earlier? Well here's another way to become more confident through your group.
Take turns sharing your accomplishments and promoting yourself. You need a group that you feel completely comfortable with so you can brag about yourself with people who will genuinely feel happy for you.
Practicing the art of talking about yourself will help you to feel more natural walking that line between sharing your accomplishments and over-promoting yourself.
Take some time to answer the following:
- List 3 things you have accomplished.
- Why are you proud of these accomplishments?
- List 2 skills that you have.
- List 3 personal qualities that you like about yourself.
Once you're done answering these questions, share your answers with others. Go around the group and share your achievements. Think about the achievements of others and show your support!
If you find yourself downplaying your achievements, why do you think that is? Remember to monitor your thoughts and practice taking proper credit for your achievements.
Feeling "Good Enough"
It can be difficult to feel truly confident about your abilities and skills. With the tips I provided, you can practice getting into the right mindset today.
Remember to focus on the positives and find a group of people that you can trust to share your accomplishments with. With the right group, you'll find your productivity and confidence soaring.
Do you ever feel like you're not good enough? What do you do when you're having a particularly bad day? Leave a comment and let me know!