Who here has been personally victimized by their own self-doubt?
Ah, imposter syndrome: a potent blend of comparison and catastrophization. Nearly everyone I know has experienced imposter syndrome to some extent. It’s extremely common in today’s world of endless information and content. We always feel like there’s more to create, more to do, more to become… But the truth is, a lot of it is in our heads.
Imposter syndrome, though a totally valid struggle to have, can be the biggest thing that holds us back from all that we’re meant to become. So allow me to share this one thing that I think every designer, artist, business owner, person with a job, and HUMAN needs to hear. Get your eyes and ears ready for some encouragement:
Yup, you heard me. Normal. It’s normal to feel lost sometimes… or a lot of the time. Ever seen Finding Nemo? Did they kick that little guy while he was down (see: across the literal ocean from his only family member)? No. Instead, they did their best to bring Nemo back to the place he was meant to be.
Okay, maybe you’re not tracking with that metaphor, but the point is — we are so hard on ourselves. As creatives and online service providers, I find that it’s pretty common for us to doomscroll on Pinterest and end up feeling inferior and stuck creatively. Or we open our feed and see another designer announcing they’re booked out for the quarter. Or we wake up in the morning with no motivation to get out of bed, let alone work. These are all super natural occurrences that can lead to imposter syndrome, but a lot of times we just need to be kinder to ourselves.
In the words of John Mulaney: “Do my friends hate me, or do I just need to go to sleep?”
Every business owner has those “why am I even here?” days… Speaking from experience, here! Chances are: if you’re feeling this way, you probably DO know what you’re doing — but something feels off and it’s causing you to spiral into the well-known depths of imposter syndrome (again, speaking from experience!). So let’s equip you to notice when things are off and remedy them before you turn into Alice falling down the rabbit hole.
If you’re in a slump, you might need one (or more) of these three things:
Burnout and imposter syndrome often go hand-in-hand. Have you been working nonstop recently? Be honest, how many lunch breaks have you worked through this week? Are you feeling more stressed than usual? Have you been neglecting basic needs like sleep or social activity?
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, take some time to be a human. No work, just vibes. Watch your fave movie. Read a book outside. Have a dance party if you’ve got the groove in you. Do something that makes you happy, whether it’s for 10 minutes or an entire day without a to-do list. See if it replenishes your energy to show up for your biz!
If you keep yourself on auto pilot without routine check-ins — your business may be getting by, but you’re losing steam (and vision) in the process. How can you bring more clarity to your biz? Take some time monthly or quarterly to sit down and reflect on your business. In what areas are you thriving? What areas are weighing you down? How can you adjust to thrive better?
It can also be helpful to process through some questions with people that you trust, whether they’re like-minded business owners or just your besties. This gives you an opportunity to see your business from an outside perspective rather than staying stuck in your own feelings. Sit with the reflection and take proper action to bounce back in a way that feels aligned and organic to you.
Life as a biz owner can be SO lonely, especially in tough seasons. This can cause a harsh cycle of feeling isolated, bottling up your emotions, falling victim to imposter syndrome, and having no one to talk through it with — and it repeats over and over again. But thankfully you don’t have to do it alone!
Even though it can be scary to reach out to someone, go to designers you trust/admire. Ask them questions and listen to their advice. They’ve probably worn your shoes a hundred times before and can give you some sage advice on how to make it through the season you’re in. Nine times out of ten, someone out there would be happy to lend a listening ear and lift you up.
(Psst, I’m your girl for this!)
If this Journal entry is hitting a little too close to home, it might be time to take a step back and assess what you need to do for YOURSELF in order to thrive in your business.
Lucky for you, my Cheerleading Calls are meant to provide support for you when you’re in seasons like this! Sign up here for a $50 call where you can ask any questions and get insight from a gal with over a year of business under her belt, seven years of design experience, and a lifetime of wanting the best for my fellow humans. Let’s get you feeling on top of the world again!
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