It is believed that impostor syndrome affects 70% of the population. I think the number is closer to 99% with artists, since we are always comparing our work to others and this can lead to never feeling good enough. Impostor syndrome is when you think that the success you have was brought on by accident or luck, and any minute now you will be discovered for the fraud that you are. Some wildly talented celebrities that admit to having the issue are Natalie Portman, Ryan Reynolds, Amy Adams, and even Tom Hanks!
I personally suffer from this ALL the time! When publishing my first art class, I almost didn't want to because I was doubting myself and thinking: "Who am I to do this?" But thank goodness I ignored the voice! Now, with 20 successful classes & over 100,000 students later, I still feel that way a lot of the time! I feel like a fraud that will be discovered for not being a 'true professional artist.' Every time someone tells me how much they love my work or my classes, there's a part of me that doubts it or doesn't feel like I deserve the praise! Deep down, I know it's silly, but it's a feeling that comes over me. But luckily, I've found ways to deal with the hurdle.
My top tips to overcoming impostor syndrome:
Fake it till you make it! Pretend you are your art heroes. Imagine you make the work they do. Lie to yourself. Tell yourself you can do this and you are good and worthy. Act out the role of confident artist, even if you don't feel it.
Feel the fear/anxiety/doubt, but do it anyway! You have to keep taking action towards your goals, no matter how you feel! One step at a time. Keep pushing and when success comes, remind yourself how hard you worked for it and that you do deserve it!
Practice meditation. Meditation is one of the best things you can do to improve every area of your life! Just 10 minutes a day is enough! It really helps with impostor syndrome, because it will help you to become more aware of your thoughts and to quiet your mind. You will realize you are NOT your thoughts, and it will make it easier to disregard the negative ones and just let them go. Also, you will live more in the present moment and in doing so a lot of the anxiety will naturally disappear.
Practice affirmations. You can do this by thinking the opposite of every negative thought that pops up, just repeating it over and over. Or you can write down a positive statement about yourself, like:"I am an amazing and successful artist. I know what I'm doing and I believe in myself. I love the work that I make." Put the note somewhere you'll see it a lot, like on your wall, desk, or in your wallet. Repeat it 10 times every time you see it or when self-doubt creeps in.
Love yourself and your art! Self-love is super important!!! You are so unique! There will never be another you! Same goes for your art, it is something special and unique that only you can offer to the world!
Impostor syndrome really sucks, but realize you are not alone! I bet almost all your heroes have it! It's extremely common and normal. Once you realize that everyone has it, people you respect and look up to, you can understand that it's a lie you tell yourself. You are worthy, good enough, and deserve all of your achievements!! :)
Do you have something to contribute? Another way of dealing with it? Leave a comment!! Share your story!! :)