“I constantly think I'm a fraud – that this success is not warranted or justified.” – David Chang, Born Aug. 5, 1977.
I've had the privilege of being in several high level masterminds with some super rich people – the kind where people air their personal crap as well as their business crap.
And it's amazing to hear people with means, power, and success beyond the dreams of most…
Skilled, talented, attractive, fit, amazing and accomplished people who may as well be super humans…
They pay a bunch of money and come together to talk about how they feel like phonies and they will get found out and lose it all.
Impostor syndrome is a beeeeetch.
But it's kind of heartening to know that everyone gets it. There is no escape.
So I have a little perspective hack I like to use myself, and recommend to others when I'm in the position to give that advice. Here it is.
See: Part of the feeling of being a phony comes from success coming easy. Getting rewarded in a way that feels excessive relative to the effort.
And the reason even successful people can get that perspective is you only remember how easy it is now. You don't remember how hard you had to work to get the machinery of easy success in place.
You worked hard for a long time BEFORE you were successful yet, too. So in your mind, when you were overworking and double hustling, it felt more like you were “earning” it.
Also as you gain more experience and skill in your chosen field, you internalize and become unconsciously proficient with so much valuable knowledge that you had to create through trial and error.
So it feels like you're not doing much. That you're just barely trying and people are reacting well even though it was super simple to do. But you really ARE doing more than anyone else does – you just operate from a place where it is easy – because you've done it so many more times than the average joe has.
You’ve sown the seeds, now you reap the harvest. But we aren’t talking wheat where you have to plant again and again. We are talking blackberries, where you planted a crazy wild weed that grows on its own and you just come pick the fruit.
I hope that perspective helps, but it’s just a band aid. The feeling will persist, so you have to learn to abide it.
Don't spend too much time worrying about what other people think of you. If you need to worry about someone's feelings, care about the people that love you and your work.
Don't waste a second on the opinions of people who don't like you or your work. They have plenty of other options, and you have better people to spend time with.
And if that doesn't work, just remember: nobody deserves anything, and we're all gonna die someday. Enjoy it!
<!—- lagniappe Cultist, if you are specifically in the arena that I am in - copywriter/copyguru - I have good news for you about impostor syndrome. It can actually be one of the biggest benefits to you and your work. See, when the work is basically pretending to be other people... Pretending to be BETTER VERSIONS of those people to make them look good in front of their audiences... then aren’t we just *professional* impostors? It’s what we do. Someone’s going to discover we are fake and phony and expose us? That’s literally our business - we are pre-exposed and for hire. When it comes to the writing-for-hire side, anyway. When it comes to the guru side, it shifts. “Do I know enough? Why would anyone listen to me? I don’t have anything new to say,” etc. You have to turn your work self around like the snake eating its own tail. Pretend you are your own client. Approach the work not as the guru, but as the writer - the “guru” is someone else. Make them sound awesome - then, self-deprecate. Never put yourself on a pedestal. Just talk laterally - as though you’re always addressing peers and colleagues. Be honest about your results and level of expertise, and the people who aren’t there yet will become followers. No one beyond your current level or on your current level ever has any reason to call you out. This is my way, and I stole it from other people who did it before me. Steal it from me. —->
6 thoughts on “You Will Never Escape Impostor Syndrome (But You Can Get It To Shut Up)”
Why did this particular subject appear multiple times in my world today? I’m yet to find out.
Beautiful words Colin, needed to hear this. Thank you.
My take on this is, "Shut up and trust the numbers".
Lots of people parrot the advice, "Fake it till you make it". I say that's bullshit. Nothing breeds confidence like competence. The tough part is accepting that you have to fail a ton before actually becoming competent. But as your competence grows, the results you get will be your yard stick. You can't argue with numbers.
Yes, I still suffer from Impostor Syndrome. I'll never really get rid of it. But when the doubt starts gnawing away at my confidence, I look back at the results I got for my clients. I take those numbers and stick them in the metaphorical face of my inner detractor, and shut him up (at least for a while).
Absolutely incredible today! Thank you. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Thank you, for that! How many times do people let the feeling of being discovered self sabotage themselves into failure? Years of therapy and thousands of dollars I could have saved if someone would have just told me the reason it feels like I was not doing much. Was that because I had worked so hard to learn it. And I really was doing more than anyone else did – but I was operating from a place where it is easy – because I had done it so many more times than the average joe has. So simple but so true. Thank you.
It is a pleasure receiving and reading your daily message, I can relate to everything you write because you keep touching a variety of nerves.
One can’t help feeling like others because we are all a part of the greater universe and at different times have similar experiences.
This really hit a home run with me.