There’s no question in my mind. Every creative experiences it: that tug of anxiety, the dropping of the heart, the pesky itch of insecurity. We’re all imposters in our heart of hearts, because, honestly – who else gets to create all day long and call it a job? There’s something so wonderfully absurd about the idea of a creative job that many of us gape to think of our luck and shudder in case we are found out.
Perhaps imposter syndrome resonates even more strongly with me than some. My path into creative direction is circuitous at best – self trained and (overly) educated at once. Lots of experience, lots of competition. I never thought I’d be living this life of tech and design and content and inspiration. It was a wild dream.
So what happens when we begin to set foot in our dreams, start to wander among the clouds of ambition? For the strong among us, we forge on relentlessly. We ask questions and we do. We iterate, break down, get better. But that tremulous questioning voice – that won’t ever really fade. And it shouldn’t. I argue that imposter syndrome is good for us. It causes doubt and then we conquer that doubt, over and over again, like an old enemy. We can stand the challenge of a niggling voice.
Small business owners know this feeling too well – how can we possibly stand our products up to the sprawl of hundreds of other products, hundreds of other creators whose passion rivals our own? There’s only room for so many people on the success boat, you may tell yourself. Maybe that’s true. So we build new boats, we throw doubt overboard. The imposter in us all teaches us to swim harder, tread more fiercely. We compete only against ourselves.