For the majority of my life, I have always felt this odd hesitation or uneasiness in my stomach — like I am a “phony” for being able to accomplish XYZ or that I am not competent enough to get something done. For the longest time, I didn’t know what it was called… and it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I realized what I was feeling actually had a scientific term and can pretty much affect anyone and everyone that’s living and breathing.
Imposter syndrome can be described as the feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt — of believing we are not as competent as others may perceive us to be. It creeps around when it isn’t invited and lingers for days at end. Not only does it make us feel icky and defeated, but it sucks the life out of us in a matter of seconds.
Sounds fun, huh?
For those who don’t know me well, prior to launching Grace & Oak and jumping into the design world, I am actually a certified event and wedding planner and have been planning weddings since 2017! Yet every single time I gear up for a wedding, my brain goes into overdrive – and not in the way that feels good. In fact, I beat myself up internally and try to sabotage my own success…
For being a fraud.
For being “lucky”.
For wondering when I am going to get caught.
I mean, until this year (and there are still days here and there), I still didn’t really see myself as a “real” wedding planner despite having planned and executed dozens and dozens of weddings successfully. Or the fact that I “never really belonged” amongst all the other talented planners… even though I have leads coming into my inbox monthly, was nominated for a handful of awards, and have received 5-star reviews from every client that I worked with.
Oh, the joy of imposter syndrome.
The thing about imposter syndrome doesn’t really give a crap about age, race, or gender. It never discriminates. And it is there to eat you alive if you don’t develop a plan to squash it down. Over the years, I have taught my brain to recognize that it is my imposter syndrome speaking when my doubts or insecurities creep up on me. So, today, I wanted to share three effective ways that have helped me managed imposter syndrome when it does appear.
Creating A Hype File
If you haven’t heard of this yet, you are in for a treat. Think of this “HYPE FILE” like a time capsule of all the things you need to hype you up. It’s your 24/7 best friend/cheerleader/hype girl rolled into one.
First, create a folder on your desktop or on Google Drive / Dropbox. Next, upload anything and everything from a testimonial or a compliment to an achievement that you have ever received, specifically on projects that you are really proud of. For example, I have feedback & testimonials from my wedding couples/employers/clients, analytics from my business launch, and rare opportunities that I never thought I would have ever received. I screenshot them and I plop them into this HYPE GIRL folder – so that whenever I am feeling down, I have a place to visit, bask in my own badass-ness, and motivate myself to get back on my two feet to crush whatever goal or task I have upcoming next.
I mean, is it genius or what?
You already have it in you to do whatever it is that you want to do. Sometimes, you just need a little reminder to empower you to move forward.
If you are looking for a bonus hack, I highly suggest creating a reverse bucket list (see post here) to give you a sense of accomplishment and to reflect on how much you have already achieved!)
Letting Go of Miss Perfectionist
Ever feel the need to ensure every single part of what you are delivering to a client is 110% perfect, even if it means spending hours and hours at perfecting the tiniest part of a project? Or how about not taking a break from doing “all the things” and feeling the need to spend any free minute that you have to work harder and more to get to where you need to be.
Yup, me too. Been there, done that.
So of course, my business coach called me out the other day and told me that it isn’t necessary because of my perfectionism that this is happening… but instead, it is my imposter syndrome showing up in a way that reflects in my personality.
Imposter syndrome can mask itself in perfectionism and overworking because we are trying to convince ourselves that we are not good enough to do the work we are currently doing. It is pushing us to make XYZ perfect so that our clients (or industry peers) won’t catch on to our “fraud-iness”… when in real life, it is probably something they aren’t even noticing or caring about. Or that the fact we have to work harder to prove our worth and try to achieve some goal or outcome that is probably unattainable and unrealistic.
While it is obviously important to deliver your best work to a client, it is just as important to give yourself some grace (and a bit of space) to take a step back and be proud of your accomplishments (see above and reference hype file). At some point, you got to ask yourself… when is good enough gonna be enough? What does that ACTUALLY look like? Because if you aren’t able to come up with a response that is measurable and attainable, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Ask Yourself: Is This For ME?
How many times have you started shaming yourself on your progress, your skills… or simply not doing enough? I know I definitely have as a new designer in the industry and having started my business during the pandemic. And a lot of the time, I notice that feeling usually appears when I am scrolling through Instagram, Facebook… or even when I open up an email early morning.
“Should I have a passive income course? Is that how I will reach $5K months?”
”Should I change my packages or revise my process too?”
”Should I go on IG Stories every day to promote and sell my services?”
If you are like me, it’s highly likely that all you want to do is everything that you can to get to the next level for your business. And while you are constantly checking off “to-do’s” or monthly goals off your list, you and I both know that that list is realistically a bottomless pit. We tend to check off one goal in search of another right away… and those goals just keep snowballing getting bigger and bigger every week. And eventually, you find yourself in a place where you are asking yourself… am I doing this for ME or am I doing this because someone else is?
Does this sound somewhat familiar to you? If so… I invite you to ask yourself this next question the next time you make a decision:
Is this for me?
As I mentioned above, imposter syndrome appears in the form of feeling like you are not “doing enough”… so you keep piling on more and more work to feel adequate and skilled at what you do. However… the reality is, you ARE already doing more than enough. Taking the moment to ask yourself those four little words can make a world of a difference. It allows you to take up space to reflect where you want to go in your business. Do the tasks that you want to accomplish align with your long-term goals… or are you making a decision based on what others are doing?
Because the truth is, not everything is for you and you don’t have to do everything. You don’t need to do what others are doing to achieve your goals or quantify your worth.
The next time you find yourself feeling like you are not doing something fast enough, good enough, big enough… I invite you to sit down for a moment and reflect on what IS it that you are looking to achieve and WHY.
There MIGHT NOT BE A “cure” for imposter syndrome but WE can definitely recognize the “symptoms” and find ways to manage it. WHILE THIS MIGHT look different for everyone, TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF AND OPENING THE DIALOGUE WITH YOUR INDUSTRY FRIENDS & BIZ BESTIES are ALWAYS RECOMMENDED. remember to give yourself grace from time to time – you are doing more than good, you are doing absolutely great. trust yourself and believe in yourself.
Was this helpful to you? let me know in the comments!