On this episode of Passion and Potential, I’m talking about the struggles of comparing yourself to others and imposter syndrome. I unpack the reasons why we have this negative self-talk and how to overcome it.
Imposter syndrome. Why is it that we all struggle with this?
When we experience imposter syndrome, we convince ourselves we’re not worthy or good enough. As a result, we talk ourselves out of doing things and we keep ourselves small.
I might think to myself, maybe I’ll still be a photographer; but I don’t want to be too big of a photographer because that puts a lot of pressure on me and I don’t want to disappoint.
I’ve now convinced myself that I’m an imposter, and that people will see through me. This is an extremely common thought pattern for creatives, particularly in the photography community. Even today, six years from becoming a full-time photographer, I’ll still occasionally convince myself that I’m not worthy of something. Or telling myself I’m not as great as I potentially could be.
Overcoming imposter syndrome isn’t easy, but it is necessary if we want to grow. So what can we do to fight back?
We constantly compare ourselves to others. Comparing our work, our personalities, our looks, and all of it leads us to thinking that someone else is better than us and that we’re not that great.
We need to reframe the way we look at other people’s success and focus more on the positive side of things.
For example, instead of turning another photographer’s work on myself and deciding I’m not good enough to do what they’ve done; I’ve reframed my thinking to view their work as an inspiration, and challenge myself to think about what I have to do to create it.
Reframing takes time and if you can’t do it right away, unfollow people until you can learn to stop comparing yourself in a negative way.
Remember that when you’re looking at someone else’s work, you’re typically only seeing their very best output. Even if it’s on their website. You’re not going to see the failures or the things that didn’t turn out well, even when they tried. So when you’re comparing yourself to someone in this type of setting, remember that you’re not even comparing yourself to a reality. You’re comparing yourself to the best version of someone else.
Let people in on your failures and the fact that you’re an actual human being. The more pressure you put on yourself to be perfect, the more you’re likely going to disappoint yourself, which is ultimately going to lead to you feeling like an imposter.
I personally try to be very authentic on my Instagram – I’m a hot mess half the time and I don’t want people to think I’m perfect! Rather, I want to inspire people to face life as it is. For example, I love to share a good “Instagram vs. reality” post. If you can learn to laugh at the quirks and the failures and take off some of that pressure, you won’t feel like so much of an imposter. Instead, you’ll learn to laugh along with the journey.
When we experience imposter syndrome, we over-analyze everything we do and put ourselves down. We need to remember that it’s not really about us, and that what we’re doing is actually for someone else.
For me as a photographer, I’m creating wedding photos for my clients. So rather than putting all the focus on myself and thinking about what I did wrong, I need to remember what I did right.
When I started this podcast, I could have focused on the many other successful podcasters out there with thousands of subscribers, but that would have taken the focus off of the people I can help with my voice. Rather than thinking about what I’m doing wrong, I should be thinking about what I can do right for someone else. For me, if one person listens to this episode and benefits from it, then I did it right.
You have to remember, everyone starts from somewhere. I’m not seeing the mistakes or struggles these other successful podcasters made along the way while they were getting started, I’m seeing their thousands of subscribers and comparing myself to that.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you’re thinking, why would someone trust me to sell them a house? Turn that around and reframe it – someone needs a home, and I can help them get it. Don’t focus on past failures; instead, focus on what you can do right for this person and how you can benefit them now.
Reframing the way you talk to yourself is a journey and it takes a lot of practice. When I first began my career as a full-time photographer, I was only 22 years old. I would compare myself to all the photographers who had been in the industry for years and were making so much money, and I would think about how my work didn’t look anything like theirs.
This had a major impact on my self worth, and I would charge less than I should have because I had convinced myself I wasn’t worth it. I would keep myself small and not go for the bigger, more intimidating jobs, putting all the focus on me instead of the clients who needed me.
Reframing your self-talk takes plenty of self affirmation, as well as getting honest and sometimes uncomfortable with yourself. Being authentic on social media is not easy, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. Plus, people will respect you for it.
I recommend you make this a priority in your life. Quit making yourself small and passing up amazing things in life because of the way you view yourself. Don’t give up on things that you are passionate about or things you want to try just because you think you’re an imposter.
Do you have any friends who you know struggle with imposter syndrome? Share this episode with them or let me know your thoughts by DMing me on Instagram or tagging me in a story!
Be sure to join my Facebook group that goes hand in hand with the podcast – Passion & Potential Facebook Group
Until next time my friends – Arastasia
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