Imposter syndrome affects over 70% of people and often comes from the fear of being caught not having the answer – and sometimes you’re not going to have the answer, and that’s cool!
It’s the feeling that you’re not able to do something, despite whoever asked you to do the task believing you can. You feel that you’re going to be exposed as a fraud, that you’ve got a job based upon a perception of your skills being stronger than they are, or your successes are down to luck and you don’t warrant the praise, despite evidence to prove otherwise.
Put your thing down, flip it and reverse it
Turn the voice asking “What will happen when they find out I have no idea what I’m doing?” to “What steps can I take to make sure I do have the right things in place, and ensure I have time to work out the right way to do this.
You’re not crazy
Imposter syndrome is universal even if no one in the workplace or even amongst peers wants to talk about the issue.
It’s not hierarchical – in fact, the feeling intensifies the higher up you climb
Every Oscar-winner has probably felt like a fraudster as they make their acceptance speech, having the most exciting moment of their career live on stage in front of the world. Part of impostor syndrome is that it’s actually rife amongst intellectuals and high flyers. It’s a sign that you have worked hard to get where you are and that you are proof of a beautiful evolution.
It’s not a fact. Even Tom Hanks gets it!
In a 2016 interview, Tom Hanks explained “No matter what I’ve done, there comes a point where I think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’ ” If the most famous American actor feels out of place, imposter syndrome must be more a feeling than a fact.
You may need some feedback
As a freelancer, it can be rare to get feedback – often the only way you know if your work was good enough is if they ask you back. This means you can very easily end up relying only upon your own thoughts and feelings about your work. Break this cycle by asking for feedback. Find a structured way to get input from the client on what they liked, what impact the work had, and what you could do better next time. If you’re not already, join a community of other freelancers where you can share your work so that others can give you feedback, praise and support.
It means you’re a hard worker
Despite all its downsides, having imposter syndrome makes you feel a need to prove your worth and at the heart, this means you’re a hard worker, passionate about making good work.
It also means you are more likely to get anxious
Learn how to manage the warning signs to prevent biting off more than you can chew. There is a time in life for getting out of your comfort zone but there’s also a time when you need to be right there in it, just coasting along and enjoying other things.
Where to get help:
Leapers offer a community of peer support, create tangible things that help, and guide those who hire freelancers to help us all work well together.