Overcoming impostor syndrome as a freelancer
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
One of the amazing things about the internet, and social media especially is that it has become so much easier to share our thoughts and feelings with a much wider audience. It has been a huge comfort to me to know that all of my irrational fears and insecurities I have are not mine alone, but are also felt by countless other people. One area that this feels particularly relevant is impostor syndrome.
To be honest, I didn't even know there was a term for this feeling of inadequacy until a few months ago. Now knowing there is and also, that it is an incredibly common occurrence, has been very helpful for me to grow and move forward. Here are a couple of tips that I am trying to stick to whenever I start to doubt myself or my abilities:
1. Stop focusing on how well your competitors are doing
Just because other people in your field are successful at what they do, this doesn't mean you won't be. Focus on your own career and goals and work hard to achieve them. Instead of feeling inadequate by another's success, use their wins as inspiration and something to aspire to.
Also, notwithstanding the great aspects of social media I mentioned previously, I now want to highlight one of the negative points. With Instagram especially, more often than not you are only seeing the positive moments of peoples' lives that have been specially curated and edited to present an image of perfection. It is always worth trying to remember that, when your insecurities and doubts start to sink in.
2. Everyone makes mistakes
Mistakes are something to learn from, not something to beat yourself up over. This is a point that I most definitely struggle with and am trying very hard to combat. We are all our own worst critic and, when mistakes are made, this can cause the idea of failure to escalate. Remember that we are all only human and that everyone makes mistakes.
Celebrate the little victories and try really hard to focus on any positive outcome from a mistake you make.
3. Take some time to step back and remember why you started this career
When things get a little too stressful, it is always worth taking a step back to evaluate why you chose this path. In my case, I only have to think about how happy I am when behind a camera, or in the midst of a design project to realise that I am passionate about the work I do and wouldn't choose anything else!
Carving yourself a freelance career is a daunting prospect but hopefully you can take something from this article, even if it's just the assurance that so many people feel the same way as you do.
If this is also something that you struggle with, and you have any other hints or tips that you have found helpful, I would love to hear from you in the comment section.