Experiencing Imposter Syndrome
By Samantha Sellars @forloveandhair
“They’re going to realize I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I’m not as good as they think I am.”
“I can’t take this opportunity because I’m a fraud.”
Sound familiar? This phenomenon doesn’t get talked about a lot, but it should—because everyone experiences imposter Syndrome. So, what is imposter syndrome? It’s that tiny voice in the back of your mind that makes you doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud. That feeling in which you find it hard to accept your accomplishments and wonder, “Do I even deserve this?” A brand wants to work with you. Your books are full, and your work is getting shared by major publications. You should be feeling so satisfied, but instead you are filled with this fear of success. Guess what? That’s a very common feeling.
Social media plays a major part in amplifying imposter syndrome because we all end up comparing ourselves and our work to others. Sometimes that can be mixed with some jealousy because we subconsciously downplay our success by comparing it to another’s and then we feel inferior. Remember, we all have our own journey and it’s pointless to try to emulate someone else’s. Let’s also not forget that often people are posting the edited versions of themselves. We see the best and not what gets cut.
So, what do we do? How do we bring ourselves out of this loop? I remind myself that it wasn’t luck that built my career. It was sacrifice, blood, sweat, heart, and tears. It was countless hours of education, practice, and mastery. It was all the failures and all the learned lessons. It was the relationships I built with my clients and the solid work I produced. And it’s the hours I’ve spent on social media building my brand and figuring out who I am as an artist. The biggest life lesson I can give regarding navigating imposter syndrome is knowing when to say yes and when to say no.
That’s another side of this that really hits home for me. When self-doubt kicks in it’s so easy to just say yes to opportunities, even if they’re not a good fit, because you’re worried what it says about you if you say no. Are you that cocky? Could you say no to a major brand that wants YOU? The answer is yes—yes, you can. Know yourself and know your worth. Just because opportunity knocks doesn’t mean you always answer the door. It’s totally OK to be selective and only say yes when it works for you. Piggybacking on that, knowing when it’s time to go and actually going is just as important. Staying with a salon, a brand, or a partnership past when it’s mutually beneficial leads to resentment and a lot of heartache. Staying because you’re afraid you’re not good enough on your own is something a lot of people struggle with. When it’s time, and you know it’s time, it’s so much better to branch out than to break.
So, the next time you feel inferior or that you’re a fraud, remember that your journey is one you’ve earned and that you should celebrate success. You deserve it!