Imposter Syndrome (noun): The feeling that you are a fraud, not good enough, and why should anyone listen to you?
This week, I gave my very first live workshop (aka webinar, but I prefer “live workshop” because so many webinars are super sleazy). It was about 5 steps to making money from your blog.
And when I was sitting down to plan it, I came down with a major case of Imposter Syndrome.
Some of the thoughts running through my head included:
I’m not making tons of money from my blog, so why should anyone listen to me?
My blog traffic numbers aren’t big enough for me to be considered an expert. What if people just roll their eyes when I tell them how many people are reading my blog?
Who am I to tell bloggers what to do, when I haven’t even reached the success of [INSERT SUCCESSFUL BLOGGER’S NAME HERE]?
Luckily, I have an awesome BFF who helps me feel better in times like these, so I called her.
We chatted about random things for a few minutes, and then I said, “Danielle (yes, my BFF’s name is almost the same as mine. And my husband’s name is Daniel. But I digress…) I am feeling scared about this workshop on Wednesday. Why should anyone listen to me? I haven’t reached the traffic numbers of the super successful bloggers. Tell me that I can do this.”
She paused for a minute, and then said, “I think you’re feeling nervous because your workshop topic is different from what your area of strength is. You help bloggers find their voice. As long as you refocus your workshop on that topic, and keep coming back to it, you’ll be great.”
Once I focused more on identifying bloggers’ “superpowers” and less on the idea of “I made it and so can you,” I felt a lot better.
Also, having my ugly fears out in the open made them seem less real.
I was able to move forward and give a really great workshop.
Imposter Syndrome is very real. Especially for bloggers.
How many times have you sat down to write a blog post, and thought, Who am I to say I’m an expert on this topic? Why should anyone listen to me? There’s someone way better than I am at this.?
Yeah. Me too. And here’s what I’ve found helps to get past it.
1. Just pretend that you are good enough.
The most damaging thing about Imposter Syndrome is that it can stop you in your tracks.
Luckily for me, I had over 200 people signed up to watch my workshop, so I had to follow through and do it, even if I was scared.
But if you don’t have anyone else depending on you to write a blog post (and most bloggers don’t, in the beginning), Imposter Syndrome can prevent you from writing that post. Or even stop you from starting your blog in the first place.
What if, instead of letting yourself spiral down into that self-doubt, you thought, Maybe I am good enough. I might as well try and see what happens.
Just going forward, despite feelings of self-doubt, does a lot to make those feelings go away.
2. Realize it’s not about you.
Yes, people care about who you are and your credentials and all that, but really, they care more about themselves and how you make them feel.
If you make people feel empowered and less alone, they will benefit from your blog posts.
It doesn’t matter if you made your DIY pegboard and it came out crooked, as long as you help your readers understand how you did it and feel empowered to make their own because of it.
It doesn’t matter if your kids got bored in the middle of your homeschool lesson and started poking each other, as long as you give your readers some creative ideas and let them know that they’re not the only ones with squirmy kids.
It doesn’t matter if you miss a few days of running and then write a blog post on how to start a running habit, because your readers probably miss a lot of days, too.
It’s better to be real than to be perfect. If you do come across as perfect, it will just make other people feel inadequate. So embrace your imperfections, because they will make other people feel like they’re not alone.
3. Get aligned with your superpowers.
In my story about my workshop, I needed to reconnect with my big WHY, with my superpower.
By getting back to your areas of strength, and NOT trying to be like everyone else, you will banish your Imposter Syndrome.
The main reason that I’ve been able to quickly build my audience for this blog is because I threw out my need to do what other people were doing.
But here’s a secret: I still struggle with owning my voice.
I still have to remind myself it’s okay to write and to run my business in my own way. When I do, everything falls into place. But when I try to imitate what others are doing, that Imposter Syndrome attacks hard core.
Getting aligned with your superpowers means looking at your strengths and celebrating them. It means embracing your uniqueness and throwing out your need to “fit in.”
I’ve been watching a bunch of superhero shows recently, specifically Heroes, and Daredevil. And what sticks out is that superheroes are often misunderstood by the larger society. But the people who love them REALLY love them.
So don’t try to take on someone else’s superpower. Cultivate your own.Feeling like an imposter? Tap into your blogging superpowers.Click To Tweet
4. Ask yourself, “Is this true?”
Often, our minds come up with a lot of crap that has nothing to do with reality.
And then, instead of challenging ourselves, and thinking, What a load of #$@!, we start to believe our own lies.
After I gave my workshop, I had 8 new people sign up for my blogging membership site, Have Your Cupcake. I had a bunch of people tell me it inspired them.
Was it perfect? No.
But did people get a lot out of it? Yes.
And no one commented telling me that I was a fraud.
If you are feeling like an imposter, write your negative thoughts down, or call a friend, like I did. Get them out into the open.
And then question them. Ask, Is this true? Or is this just my fear?
Imposter Syndrome is only as strong as you let it be.
5. Realize that you are not alone and that Imposter Syndrome is totally normal.
Last year, I went to a conference called Pioneer Nation in Portland, Oregon.
It was the first conference I had ever been to, and I was nervous. I could barely sleep the night before.
At the conference, I felt super awkward and shy. There were all of these successful business owners there. Who was I to “pretend” that I belonged? But eventually, I found my groove and connected with some great people.
After the conference, a bunch of people wrote blog posts about their experiences, explaining that they had felt like imposters until they jumped in and talked to people. I wished I could go back and do it over again, knowing that I was surrounded by people feeling the same exact way I was.
This summer, I went to BlogHer. But this time, instead of feeling like a lone imposter, I thought about how many of the people there were probably feeling nervous and alone. I was able to just go with the flow and enjoy myself.
If you are feeling like an imposter, realize that 99.9% of people feel the exact same way at times. And that it’s the people who refuse to give the Imposter Syndrome power who get to their goals.
The next time you come down with a bad case of Imposter Syndrome:
- Pretend that you are good enough.
- Realize it’s not about you.
- Get aligned with your superpowers.
- Ask, Is this true?
- Know that you’re not alone, and it’s only as powerful as you let it be.
Next month, I am doing another live workshop, on 9 Ways to Write Like a Pro.
This time, I’m going to go in with my superpower fully activated. And when those feelings of inadequacy come up (like I know they will), I’m going to reread this blog post and give myself a kick in the butt.