4 Things I Do When Imposter Syndrome Strikes
Since Eroticon (2019), there’s been a lot of talk about imposter syndrome in the sex blogging world — acknowledgement of a very common feeling and proof that many of us deal with it. It’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately, and a recent conversation with the fabulous and super-talented Cara Thereon told me it was time to write this.
Even after all these years as a freelancer and a sex blogger, imposter syndrome kicks my butt (though not as much as it once did). No method is perfect, and I’m not “cured” but if it can help someone else, here’s what I do when self-doubt kicks in.
Remember Past Successes
This can seem impossible to do when you have your first success as a sex blogger or erotic author. The good thing happening that has triggered your imposter syndrome might be the first time it’s ever happened. But after all your years on the planet, this surely isn’t your first-ever success. Think back to other times in life when you got the promotion, did the thing, and achieved something — especially if you felt imposter syndrome.
Did your worst fears get confirmed then? Or did you move forward and do the thing, have the moment, and survive feeling like an imposter? My money is on the second option. That means if it happened once, it can happen again. You’ve succeeded before without your worst fears coming true. Remember that feeling now.
If it is your first success, congratulations! Lean on the next solutions liberally until you begin to rack up other successes.
Tell Your Community
We can be our own worst enemy sometimes. You’ve gotten the good news about a thing you want, but you’re not sure you deserve it. Do yourself a favor and tell people who care about you. Even if your lying brain says they’re only saying nice things to be polite, who gives a fuck? This world can be miserable on a good day. Take well wishes and happiness where you can get it.
Also, one of the rudest things we can do is tell someone their congratulations or well-wishes for us aren’t “true.” So don’t do that!
Tell your partner, your friends, your family (assuming they’re supportive), or your online community. The people who matter most will cheer you on, even when you feel like a fraud. You might not believe it, yet, but the good wishes of people who love us really can help.
Rationalize Your Win
This doesn’t work every time, but when I achieve a thing and imposter syndrome hits, I try to look at things logically.
I’ve got ## years experience in this.
I planned for [fill in the blank] and it happened.
I got a degree from [this institution].
I’ve already done this before in another way.
Yes, I know, the other side of your brain is telling you that none of it matters, but sometimes you can trick yourself into believing you deserve your success. This is especially true if you try to look at it from an outside perspective. What if you didn’t know it was you, and you only knew your qualifications?
For the record, you do deserve it — or you wouldn’t have imposter syndrome in the first place. I assure you that the assholes and narcissists out there who think the world owes them something never feel this way.
Do It Anyway
Imposter syndrome will make you believe you should quit and let someone “more worthy” have your place. Bullshit! Don’t you dare do it. (Note: quit if it’s right for your health, your life, your family, or some other factor. Just don’t quit because you’re scared or because of imposter syndrome.)
Yes, your brain is sending the message that you don’t deserve it, that other people are better, that you suck. Whatever that message is, I know it’s powerful. Do the thing anyway.
- Write your story or blog post.
- Submit your piece.
- Apply for the position.
- Talk to the stranger.
- Present your information.
DO IT. I don’t know if imposter syndrome can ever completely go away. But the more I do things I’m not sure I’m qualified to do, the more confident I (sort of) become about doing new things and taking on new roles.
I’ve heard people say that imposter syndrome is a sign that you’re growing and doing new things, stretching yourself and taking on new challenges. Frankly, it just feels like fear and unworthiness, but I like this particular definition. When I’m doing things that move me closer to my goals (even when I’m terrified), it really is a good thing. Whatever your goals or ambitions, consider imposter syndrome a sign of potential or very real growth and progress.
Now it’s your turn. When imposter syndrome strikes, what do you do to cope with it?