Let’s face it: building a personal brand is an intensely…well, *personal* experience, and it can leave you feeling pretty raw – even before the dreaded impostor syndrome creeps in.
Before you know it, you’re asking yourself unhelpful questions like “What if I don’t have enough knowledge/power/money/[insert valuable commodity here] to make it online?” and “WHY did I wear that yellow dress for the photoshoot?”
And you know what? It’s not just you. It can happen to anyone – but no one experiences it quite as deeply as a special breed of people called Creatives.
Creatives are super vulnerable to criticism, not only from literally EVERYONE who so much as glances at our creations, but also from ourselves.
The good news is that there are strategies you can use to overcome this sense of dread, land in a better mental space, and maybe even sell a few more ecourses or memberships while you’re at it.
Here’s your two-step program for the next ten minutes:
- Read over these points.
- Tell your inner voice to STFU.
Examine your own thoughts
The mind is an extraordinary thing, but it has the power to make us feel pretty ordinary. No matter how well things are going in your lives, a flick of the Impostor Syndrome switch is all it takes to leave you questioning everything from the pattern on that new shirt to that thing you said in the office breakroom three days ago. Thanks to a few cunning thinking errors, you can be totally deserving of your success and seriously hardworking and still feel undeserving and out of place.
Action it: Watch a module from your ecourse (or read over your latest blog post) and write down any criticisms that come up. Then, ask a family member/partner/close friend to do the same. When it’s over, compare notes – then rewatch the module with your viewing buddy’s feedback in mind and let those kinder thoughts flow.
Impostor syndrome might leave you feeling like a black sheep in the pigpen, but it’s actually super common – especially amongst high achievers who like to get sh*t done. You read right: it’s often the most successful, famous, wealthy, [insert enviable adjective here] people who are most affected. The problem is that most people don’t talk about it. Why? Because it’s easier to learn how to do a smokey eye, whack on a perfectly-blended cheek contour, and make your life look easy than it is to admit that sometimes it’s anything but.
Action it: Send a real-life post out to your social network telling them how your day really went. It’ll be great for your personal brand, because, at the end of a day full of duck faces and humble brags, all we really want is something real.
Change your own rules
Here’s a serious question for you:
Who decided that you have to always be right, perfect, and generally on the ball?
Unless you have some seriously controlling family members, chances are that person was you.
You made a subconscious, unspoken rule that you would be expected to somehow produce perfect content, write perfect social posts, and take perfect selfies with your perfect family – and now that it’s not going perfectly, you feel like a failure. Newsflash: you’re not failing. You’re falling for the myth that you deserve to be held to a different standard than everyone else, and it’s about time to change your own rules.
Action it: Write yourself a mantra – an ode to imperfection, if you like – and make a commitment to read it out loud every day. It should go something like this:
“I am allowed to have off days and get things wrong sometimes. I don’t deserve to feel guilty for being imperfect, because everyone is imperfect.”
Celebrate your successes
You might not feel like you’re #winning, but if you look back over everything that has happened today, this week, or this year, you’ll probably realise that you’re doing much better than you thought. Realising it is only the first step, though – it’s time to start celebrating it, and as you work on overcoming impostor syndrome, you might even enjoy it. You’ll realise that your successes are just as valid and important as others’ and learn to appreciate them (plus, you’ll have more excuses to wear a party hat and pop a few balloons, which is never a bad thing).
Action it: Call a friend and tell them about something great that you achieved recently (without cringing). Then encourage them to share their good news, and bask in each other’s success.
Manage your social media use
Over the years, social media has morphed into something much bigger than a collection of profile pictures and mundane status updates. It’s also a business tool, an advertising billboard, and a great big ball of comparison. How many times have you logged on to Instagram or Facebook only to log off approximately four hours and thirty-seven minutes later feeling infinitely worse about yourself?
Newsflash: social media is not real life, and comparing your daily life to everyone else’s highlight reel is a one-way ticket to Sad City – even if you’re having an incredible time launching ecourses and your new website looks amazing.
Action it: Set yourself a daily limit for social media use, and when you feel the urge to scroll, whip out a notepad and have a brainstorming session for your next product launch/rebrand/email campaign.
Get out of your box
Hands up if you’ve been told that you should find your zone of genius and stick to it.
It’s good advice for those with dreams of being the best in their field, but it won’t give you opportunities to branch out and expand your skillset. What it will do is force you into Competition Mode with all of the other people who are also standing in your zone of genius (rude). Here’s the thing about that: if you never learn any new skills, you’re always going to feel threatened by others who are better at the thing you specialise in, so broaden your horizons!
Action it: Book yourself into a class (bonus points if the class teaches you new skills for your online business). This is a great idea for several reasons:
- Learning new stuff is awesome.
- Being surrounded by other people who are also in Full Student Mode will help you kick your inner impostor to the curb.
- You’ll meet people with similar interests – hello, future collabs!
Sometimes you’ll do everything you can to stave off those icky impostor feels and still feel like you’re just not good enough – and that’s when you have to take a hint from your high school drama teacher and bring out your inner actor. Pretending to be confident has carried many a nervous soul through the shaky stage and into legit success mode, so if it comes to that, pretend away!
Of course, sometimes all you need to do to get over your bout of impostor syndrome is fix up your outdated branding and buggy website – and it just so happens that we can help with all of that! Click here to find out more.
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