Impostor Syndrome is one of the most common complaints I hear from other photographers – feeling like you’re not a ‘proper’ photographer or business-owner, and worrying that others will think or realise you have no idea what you’re doing. It can be SO debilitating and can stop genuinely talented people from getting the success they deserve.
You might feel like other photographers have their sh*t together and it’s only you that doesn’t. But the fact is, after over 15 years in the industry and working with hundreds of photographers at all stages of their careers, I can tell you that almost ALL of us feel like this at least some of the time, myself included.
Time and experience don’t necessarily make Impostor Syndrome go away. And the fact is that you may always feel this way to a certain degree. I say this not to worry you but to reassure you – it’s just a normal part and parcel of the journey. We sometimes stop feeling like an impostor in one aspect of the business, but then as we start to grow and take on new and different things, we just transfer our Impostor Syndrome to those instead. If you’re waiting for a time when you feel 100% confident about being a photographer or business-person then you might be waiting a long time! Do you really want to put your progress and business on hold indefinitely?
On the assumption that Impostor Syndrome is here to stay, the answer is to learn to co-exist with it whilst treating it with the knowing contempt it deserves. Impostor Syndrome tells you what you are NOT and makes you want to retreat and do nothing. So you need to counteract it by getting out there and doing something.
You just have to commit to ‘fake it till you make it’! Counteract these negative thoughts with ACTION. Accept that you will always feel this way, and that your head might be telling you that you’re not cut out for it, but that you will ACT as though you are. The best thing for Impostor Syndrome (which tells you what you are NOT) is by doing the action anyway and showing it that it is wrong (by telling it what you ARE). You ARE that person because you are DOING exactly what that person does.
Not a ‘real photographer’?
But you’re taking photos and have happy clients who love their pics – sounds like a real photographer to me!
Not a ‘real businessperson’?
But you’re filling out your tax return, creating a marketing campaign and liaising with clients – sounds like a real businessperson to me!
Take the wind out of the sails of Impostor Syndrome by sticking two big fingers up at it and BE the person it’s telling you that you’re not.
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