“Maybe I just got lucky.”
“Am I actually good enough?”
“Did I make it here by mistake?”
When sleep can’t seem to find me, this internal dialogue will rear its ugly head. Sometimes, I’ll lay wide wake and wonder if my accomplishments were just “one hit wonders.” I often ask myself if I will be able to deliver something great the next time I sit down for a songwriting session or set out to compose a new piece. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I realized these feelings had been given a name… I was experiencing the Imposter Syndrome.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
According to the Harvard Business Review,
“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. 'Imposters' suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence” (Harvard).
Suzanne Imes, PhD was one of the psychologists who first described this Syndrome in the 1970s. Imes mentions, "Most people don't talk about it (Imposter Syndrome). Part of the experience is that they're afraid they're going to be found out" (APA).
And boy, do I ever feel that way at times! I’m always worried that someone will hire me for a project or will want to do a co-writing session and they will in some way discover I’m not as great as I’m made out to be.
So How Do You Deal With Feeling Like a Phony?
1. No! You are not a weirdo:
These feelings are completely normal for all creative people! Even Jennifer Lopez has dealt with Imposter Syndrome. She said, “‘Even though I had sold 70 million albums, there I was feeling like ‘I’m no good at this’” (MC).
2. Silence is not an option:
Talk about the way you feel with a family member, close friend, or trusted mentor. Sometimes we need someone else’s perspective in order to see the bigger picture
3. Take that leap of faith:
According to Psychology Today, one of the biggest hurdles for people dealing with imposter syndrome is to step outside of their comfort zones. There is a fear in the back of their minds saying things like “you’re a poser,” and “you’re not worthy.”
When you are concerned about taking on a big project because you’re worried you’ll be exposed as a fake, remind yourself of all the hard work you have put in to get to where you are. Force yourself to take credit for that hard work, and then take the leap! You can do it!
4. Don’t Stop Believin’!!!
Keep active! Think of your life as a giant game of dodge ball. Every time a big opportunity lands in your lap, imposter syndrome will hurl a ball aimed right for your head. It is going to be way easier to dodge that ball of negative thoughts if you are moving. Don’t pause to worry if you are worthy because that makes you a sitting target. As the Huffington Post mentions, “The best way to beat impostor syndrome is to continue taking action, irrespective of how you feel.”