Imposter syndrome. It’s a beast, am I right?
According to Merriam-Webster, imposter syndrome is “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments, accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.”
Does that sound relatable to you?
Of course, I’m not a licensed mental health professional, but I can speak from personal experience and observation, and I’ll let you in on a secret: Many of us—if not all of us—have likely experienced imposter syndrome at some point in our lives. And, for those of us in the music industry, it seems to be especially prevalent.
Whether you’re an artist or a songwriter, a publicist or a manager, a social media marketer or a booking agent, imposter syndrome is real — but, the good news is that you can beat it. Here are some tips for overcoming those inner hurdles that may be standing in your way.
Be kind to yourself.
We’re all hard on ourselves sometimes (okay, maybe most of the time), but it’s so important for us to remember to be kind to ourselves.
That means engaging in positive self-talk and acts of self-care.
When you think about it, you wouldn’t be harsh or cruel when speaking to your best friend, right? Of course not! So, why would you want to speak to yourself in a way in which you wouldn’t dare speak to them? Likewise, if they were going through what you were going through, would you tell them to continue subjecting themselves to madness? Of course you wouldn’t!
Being kind to ourselves can do wonders for our spirits and mindsets. It can help us claim our worth, it can make us stronger, and perhaps most importantly, it can help us transform our perspective.
Yep. That’s right. When we treat ourselves with kindness and respect, we can become more secure in who we are, have more confidence in our abilities (no, you are not a fraud just because you feel like you don’t everything there is to know in the world; the knowledge and skills you do have are valuable), do our jobs better, pursue our passions with more enthusiasm, love more, and get more out of life.
Never stop learning.
One of the most incredible parts of life is that we have the ability to learn. We are constantly learning throughout our entire lives, from the moment we open our eyes, until our time on Earth comes to an end. And best of all, no one can stop us from learning. The right to education is number 26 under Amnesty International’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We actually have the right to learn.
As we all know, the creative space grows and changes at what seems like the speed of light, leaving many of us feeling like we just got whiplash as new social media platforms, streaming platforms, and new universes pop up. We can so easily feel left behind, and like we can’t keep up with how fast trends and technology are evolving around us. This sometimes results in us feeling “not good enough” or “unworthy” of our current or dream positions.
As fast as our industries move, we can learn, and we can grow, and we can always keep cultivating the foundation on which we are basing our careers.
Staying on top of your game by consistently attending events and learning the latest news will help quell the voice convincing you that you don’t know what you’re doing. It will nurture your roots, simultaneously helping you to enrich your skill set and develop confidence, so you can claim your power. Taking action is key to moving forward, and it will help you avoid remaining a slave to those pesky lies that your brain is trying to deceive you with.
Stop your obsession for perfection.
Perfection is a slippery slope. If you’re an artist, you know the struggle is real. Your work probably never quite feels finished to you, and you feel like there will always be ways to make your creative output better. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Of course, you always want to do your best, and make your art the absolute best it can be. However, it’s important to remember that constantly striving to achieve perfection is like fighting an uphill battle. It’s exhausting and will hold you back, without a doubt.
Trying to be perfect — and then beating yourself up when you feel that you have fallen short of achieving perfection — is totally not fun, and it’s just not productive. What may seem “imperfect” to you can knock someone else’s socks off. So, instead of getting caught in a downward spiral of questioning your choices and the quality of your end product, think about all the things you’re doing right and all the successes you’ve achieved so far — no matter how big or small they may feel to you. Has your recent single hit 1,000 streams on Spotify? Incredible! Have you racked up 5,000 streams on your new music video? Amazing! Did you get five new social media followers over the weekend, or pen the last verse of the song you’ve been working on? You deserve a round of applause!
Never lose sight of how amazing you are.
If there’s anything you take away from this post, always, always remember how amazing you are. You were put on this planet for a reason, and you deserve to be here. As an artist, you’re pursuing the purpose that you know aligns with the core of who you are. In following that purpose, you are touching the lives of others. You have value. Your work has value. Mistakes or “imperfections” don’t change that. Don’t forget it.
Imposter syndrome sucks, but with just a few simple tweaks to your mindset, like those I’ve shared above, you’ll be able to tame it—if not completely overcome it—in no time.