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Creative Imposter Syndrome - No, You’re Not Alone



Rosanna Bhanji, associate creative director at Manifest on the blessing and the curse of being the 'creative' person in the room

Creative Imposter Syndrome - No, You’re Not Alone

Being the ‘creative’ person in a room can feel like such a blessing and a curse. As an associate creative director at Manifest I find myself constantly battling my creative imposter syndrome.

Creative imposter syndrome - when someone working in a creative field worries that they don’t have 'real' talent or feels they don’t belong in the creative community.

And I mean insecurity is normal, we all experience it from time to time - whether we admit it or not. But for me, dealing with creative imposter syndrome is particularly hard. Why? Cause working as a creative means that there’s no proper way to measure if you’re doing a good job or not, it can only be a good or a bad idea. It’s more about putting yourself out there, your entire self, and constantly giving a little piece of your own personality to every single idea or project. It’s quite vulnerable, humbling and hard to constantly balance your work persona and personal self, which is why most of us simply put the two of them together and just hope for the best.

My conclusion is that as a creative it’s completely normal to walk around on a daily basis wondering when people are going to call you out and discover that you’re a complete fraud with nothing special to add to the business. But I still go to work every single day and absolutely love my job. How is that even possible? I guess all these insecurities, slight midnight panic attacks and feelings of anxiety come with a beautiful silver lining - that moment when everything falls into place. The fix you get when an idea or a project comes to life and you see how it impacts others in the exact way you visualised it from the get-go, and the goose bumps on your arms when someone shares you vision. That feeling is absolutely priceless. And TBH, highly addictive.

But there are things you can do to ease your creative (or any) imposter syndrome. A few tricks that are useful when it feels like you’re about to lose your mind and go bury yourself under a rock. At times, this one is truly a lifesaver.

Stick to the facts

Take a step back, look at the bigger picture and address the cognitive distortions contributing to the creative imposter syndrome. It’s easy to get all caught up in your emotions, but try to get out of your head and see things from a sober perspective.

Share your thoughts

If you, for some reason, don’t trust your own facts, talk to the people around you. Sharing what you’re going through with others can not only reduce the feeling of loneliness, but also work as a confidence boost as it’s more likely than not that the person on the other side will share the great things they see in you. Building a circle of trust with a few carefully selected people can make all the difference.

Applaud yourself

It’s way too easy to brush off your success. If someone congratulates you or gives you a high five for a job well done - own it. Don’t move on too fast or excuse the job you’ve done. Applaud yourself and make sure you respond in a way where you speak positively about yourself. You killed it!

Don’t aim for perfection

Not saying you should lower your bar, but don’t aim for standards that are unreachable. And when you feel like you don’t meet the standards you’ve set for yourself, try to see your ‘failure’ as an opportunity to learn and grow. Yes, it’s cheesy and such a grandma thing to say, but it also works. Trust the process and that everything is as it should be.

Talk about your failures

It might sound scary, but discussing what went wrong and why, in a group, can help create a more realistic picture of what’s really going on in a project. You don’t know what your colleagues have struggled with behind the scenes, as they don’t know your struggles. By sharing your failures, you can spark compassion, which can alleviate all of those nasty imposter feelings.

Just accept what is

Acceptance is hard but crucial. Because in all honesty, even if you manage to work through your imposter feelings, they are most likely to pop back up when you least expect it. And when they do, accept their presence, breathe and go back to the top of this list. You’ll be fine - as will I.

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Manifest, Fri, 10 Mar 2023 11:11:33 GMT