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How to Beat Imposter Syndrome

Most of us encounter imposter syndrome at one point in our lives or another.  This is especially true for creative entrepreneurs like photographers.  There aren’t a lot of credentials to validate us as professionals so it is a lot less black and white.  This is the perfect setting for imposter syndrome.  When I say imposter syndrome I’m describing feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.  That feeling of “nobody’s gonna know….THEY’RE GONNA KNOW”.  They’re gonna know I’m just a hack with an expensive camera and not the professional they are actually paying me to be.

Conquering imposter syndrome for me had a lot to do with a mental checklist I would replay in my mind.  When I had those feelings creep up on me I would go over the following:

  • I’ve worked very hard to get to this moment.  I CAN do this.  Positive self-talk will change your life.  I try to always talk to myself exactly how I would talk to a friend.
  • This person would not of hired me/asked me to do this job if they didn’t think I could do it.  They believe in me and I should respect them enough to believe in myself.
  • Double check my gear and remind myself what I use each piece of equipment for to remind myself I know how to use it and therefore know what I’m doing.  This helps separate feelings from facts.
  • I think through the logistics of the session.  The light is coming this way, these are the barriers I can see being an issue at this session, I should bring “xyz”, SEE I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!
  • If none of the above kicked the imposter out of my brain I would call a friend (my husband, my Mom, my brother, and my Dad are all my biggest supporters).  They would remind me that I kick ass.  My husband would also remind me how honest he is and that I know he wouldn’t lie to me.  Everyone that struggles with imposter syndrome and anxiety NEEDS a supportive friend who also knows how to be honest.  Then you know you can trust their opinion.  Having friends your industry to hype you up helps so much too!  Another photographer’s advice/opinion will always go a long way!

I hope going through this checklist will help overcome your feelings of imposter syndrome.  The good news is, if you have feelings of being an imposter it probably means you aren’t.  Actual imposters don’t question such things.

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