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What is Imposter Syndrome? An In-Depth Look for Artists

Many artists face Imposter Syndrome, but many also ask me "what is imposter syndrome?" Imposter Syndrome, which is a feeling of unworthiness or inadequacy despite success, can be a creative roadblock for many artists. It can lead to feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and mistrust in one's own work and achievements. Today I️ want to provide you with tools to understand what Imposter Syndrome is and how it can manifest so that you can ultimately work to overcome it!

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is defined as a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments, and has an internalized fear of being exposed as a 'fraud'. It often accumulates from experiences over time. It often leads to feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, fear of failure and perfectionism. Why do 90% of my coaching clients experience this?

Causes and Contributing Factors to Imposter Syndrome in Artists.

Imposter Syndrome is known to affect many artists, and I️ have a few guesses as to why. One, there is the notion of the “starving artist” so right off the bat we as artists feel that we have something to prove. Two, there is what I️ call the “hobby effect” and that is that people wrongfully assume your career (no matter if it is full time or not) is just a hobby or past time. Therefore we start to believe that as well. Third, with the rise of social media and every artist’s new ability to show off every success (and none of their failures) we only see the highlight reels. This contributes to constant feelings of inadequacy.

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Creativity and Performance.

Imposter Syndrome can really hinder artist’s careers, due to its tendency to cause feelings of self-doubt. This can lead to creative blocks, in which an artist loses their motivation and confidence in their work, leading to stalled growth and potentially even abandoning projects altogether. Similarly, artists often choose to not show their work on social media, are scared or “don’t feel ready” to reach out to galleries or clients. There is this looming feeling of unreadiness to take the necessary risks and next steps to grow. But to grow a business we have to be willing to take a risk and put ourselves out there now and then.

Many fear that they need continual external validation in order to continue progressing forward and keep creating; this becomes cyclical when they cannot find it through sold out launches or constant gallery acceptances or another form of validation it only perpetuates the doubt they feel towards their own abilities.

But, there is a bright side!

Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

It is possible to overcome Imposter Syndrome and regain that creative confidence. To do this, it’s important to identify those thoughts and feelings of doubt and recognize them for what they are: unhelpful self-talk. Becoming aware of these patterns helps you to reframe your perspective, by consciously replacing negative talk with positive affirmations.

Additionally, try focusing on the process of creating instead of the outcomes; this can decrease the risk of feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by a project, while helping to build resilience towards failure.

Also, remember that everyone goes through this at some point in life; being an artist means embracing a creative mentality, where mistakes and set-backs are part of the journey!

Finally, use resources like my podcast where I️ interview artists at all stages of their careers or discussion groups in the membership to remind yourself that you are not alone. We all face feelings of inadequacy and we can’t immediately make it go away, but we can recognize it and learn to build a community that will remind us of our success and that failure is ok and part of the game.

I️ hope you enjoyed this article and if you did consider listening to the podcast!


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