by Liz Skelton, freelance writer and millennial marketing genius
How do you overcome an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome?
When I launched my freelance marketing firm I wasn’t worried about it getting off the ground. I didn’t stress about designing logos, developing a web presence, or going out and finding clients. I was ready to pitch myself with the fervor of the Starbucks holiday drink launch. But despite all of that, there was still one thing standing in the way of me becoming a millennial marketing genius. That “thing” was me.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
I didn’t realize I was suffering from Imposter Syndrome, or that it even existed, until I attended a lecture hosted by Together Digital, a group of women supporting women in the business world. That night I learned the definition of Imposter Syndrome, and diagnosed myself with a serious case of it.
The majority of people agree that Imposter Syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evidence of success. If that doesn’t hit you where it hurts then you’re either lying or you may be a sociopath. (Watch the Jeffrey Dahmer flick on Netflix and get back to me).
There’s no definitive cause of Imposter Syndrome, but consensus says you can probably blame your parents. (Your therapist will be THRILLED). I blame my parents for a lot of my other flaws, so out of fairness I’m going to chalk my Imposter Syndrome up to the oh-so-outdated female modesty mantra.
Don't Be Too Modest
Have you ever been told to be modest? Not to brag about yourself? To be gracious when receiving compliments? Do you receive a compliment and immediately feel compelled to correct the complementor and list every flaw you see in yourself to keep them from mistakenly believing you have any value as a human at all?
Welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Support Club.
On top of Imposter Syndrome I have also been blessed with a big ole double scoop of anxiety!
So when it comes time for my inner mean girl to undermine my accomplishments and instill feelings of inadequacy, she does not hold back. The girl is cruel and she is efficient.
How to Cure Imposter Syndrome
Unfortunately, as of yet, there is no magic cure for Imposter Syndrome. You can’t pop a daily confidence vitamin, or drop in to your doctor for a yearly insecurity vaccine. So what can we do? How do we overcome the overwhelming sense of inadequacy and battle the fear of failure that haunts our daily drive?
While there is no magic cure, there are things we can all do to combat this together and on our own.
First and foremost, start acknowledging those bah humbug thoughts as irrational and ridiculous. Imagine they’re your racist uncle at Thanksgiving and just mentally mute them. Don’t give them power over you, and don’t waste your valuable time worrying that there is any truth in them.
Now that you’ve dispelled your inner mean girl, replace her with an inner cheerleader. I want Lizzo and J-Lawrence level perk. Let yourself and the cheerleader who now lives on your shoulder throw confetti on everything you do. Show yourself some love and acknowledge all the hard work you do!
Last, but certainly not least, reach out for some real-life cheerleaders too. If I learned anything from a room jam packed with women all frantically nodding at Imposter Syndrome symptoms, it’s that none of us are alone in dealing with this. I’d venture to guess that most if not all of your friends and colleagues are dealing with the same insecurities you are. So embrace the sharing, and give and take all kinds of compliments.
I firmly believe that we all have an absolute superstar inside us, and if we can learn to cope with our anxiety and insecurities, that superstar can shine.
Liz Skelton is a freelance writer and millennial marketing genius. She dreams of publishing a series of young adult novels, but is currently better at pitching them than writing them. She is the founder of Just Me Marketing, a consulting business with a focus on supporting small and independently owned businesses. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, spoiled puppy, and oversized collection of books.
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