If there’s one thing that raises its ugly head from time to time, and threatens to undermine all freelancers, it’s imposter syndrome. I don’t know a single freelancer who hasn’t been hit with it at some point.
It starts off as a niggle … ‘oh, I do that differently to Freelancers R Us.’
Then, despite the shoulder shrug and the acceptance that we all do things in a different way, the little niggle turns into a monster that runs off to hide in the corner.
Within a few days the little monster wants feeding again … ‘Oh, hell, am I doing this right?’ (Yum, he likes that … back to the corner a little fatter and more satisfied).
By the end of the week he’s sitting by your side as you work, he’s stroking your shoulder and feeding off your fear … ‘Oh, I’m rubbish, no-one will want to hire me ever again, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a fraud.’
It’s about time we all understood the genesis of this particular type of monster, and learned how to crush him.
The Imposter Monster seems to prefer a solitary environment and he also seems to prefer women (are men naturally more confident?) although he will attack both genders and will creep into a busy office if it takes his fancy. If you work on your own, and have no-one to reassure you, there are steps you can take to avoid monster propagation.
Realise that this monster will attack the vulnerable.
If you feel the first niggle, take stock, understand the situation and realise that the monster is trying to feed. This may be enough to kill the monster dead – accept what it is and let it go.
If the monster does take hold understand this:
To keep the monster at bay realise your self-worth. It is not a dirty word.
Kill the monster. By believing in yourself, and understanding the nature of the beast, you may eventually kill it. If you do you are one of the lucky ones.
So … realise, take stock and understand the problem to keep the monster at bay, then kill it. Imposter syndrome can be a career killer, it’s about time this monster was vanquished.
(For the record, I haven’t killed my monster yet, it’s right beside me as I type this … I may feed it in a minute).