Impostor Syndrome? Here's How to Handle it..!


Ever get that little voice in your head that says “you don’t belong in this group”, “you’re not good enough” or “this project is too much for you”? It tends to happen when you’ve worked too much or are anxious about a new big change.



As a freelancer, that voice might visit you more often than you’d like to admit.

But you’re not alone. This feeling has a name. It’s called impostor syndrome and is a scientifically researched phenomenon. Impostor syndrome is self-doubt taken too far. Dealing with it is much easier if you understand what it is and how it works. In this article, we’ll talk about those things as well as discuss why impostor syndrome seems to latch itself onto freelancers and the best strategies to deal with it:

What is impostor syndrome?

Impostor syndrome was first coined as a term in 1978 by American psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. It all started when the former noticed traces of the syndrome in herself: “I would take an important examination and be very afraid that I had failed. I remembered all I did not know rather than what I did.” What did Clance do? She researched that feeling. It’s a trick the human brain plays on us.

Imposter syndrome, as described by the two researchers, is a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” Impostor syndrome is something that successful people get. They have gotten in high places, look at their achievements and wonder – “did I really deserve this?”
Imposter syndrome is a feeling…..

A slight case of impostor syndrome might be good for you

Living in the constant fear of being found out as a fraud can be nerve-wracking. But don’t get me wrong, overconfidence isn’t the way to go either. Questioning yourself and constantly striving to become better are practices that most people should be employing way more often than they already are.

But impostor syndrome drives that to the extreme. It leads to a strong fear of being “found out”. That can hamper you in your ability to do your work. A healthy dose of confidence can motivate you to keep going and achieve great things. You can also motivate yourself - check out these 5 tips will help you stay motivated as a freelancer.

Why does this phenomenon occur?

But why does impostor syndrome happen, and furthermore, why does it happen to people who are very successful at what they do? Here’s why: When you’re an expert at something, e.g you are an WordPress expert, you have spent a lot of time playing around with WordPress and perfecting that skill. As a result, completing tasks which require that skill come much easier to you. And the better you get, the easier it becomes. But when something feels easy, self-doubt creeps in.

Maybe it actually is easy? Maybe everyone else think you’re doing something amazing, but it’s trivial? No, that’s your mind playing tricks on you. Using your skills just comes so naturally to you that you start thinking it must be the same for everyone else. But it’s not!

Why are freelancers in particular experiencing the impostor syndrome?

There are a couple of reason why freelancer might be experiencing this syndrome more than regular employees. The main reason is a lack of feedback sources. When you work in an office, there’s often an integrated reward system or people around you who see how good you are at what you do. People who sit next to you every day and are aware how difficult some tasks are.

As a freelancer, people often only get to see the end product rather than all the hard work that went into it. In a way, you’re the only one that can remind yourself of how much work it took to become as good as you are.

What are the best ways to deal with impostor syndrome?

If you relate to all that we have told you, don’t panic. There are some tips to overcome this insecure feeling and here are a few of them:

1. Relax, self-doubt is just a part of being human

Dealing with impostor syndrome is, first and foremost, changing your state of mind. Everyone doubts themselves sometimes. Like we already discussed, that can be a good quality. But next time that little voice calls to you too often, remind yourself that it’s just a part of your human brain and you can chose to tell it it’s wrong.

2. Remind yourself of your achievements

A good way to do that is by thinking of all the things you’ve accomplished. At least once a year, often at its end, I like to think about what I’ve achieved. As a freelancer, you can translate that to your business and create a list of the things you’re proud of business-wise.

3. Having imposter syndrome because things feel “too easy” just means you’re that good

Last but not least, remember that impostor syndrome tends to visit people who are really good at what they do. Your work feels “too easy”? Dealing with certain tasks “just seems to come naturally”? That’s no coincidence. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve worked hard to get where you are right now. Don’t let yourself forget that.

We would be happy to hear your stories on dealing with the impostor syndrome. Leave a comment on the section below!
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Comments

  • Commented by John on 18.12.2017 at 19:57 h

    Great article, thanks for writing it.

    I'm about to make the jump into building my own business by first gaining useful entrepreneurial skills through freelancing. This is an intimidating move for me, despite having a technology education and background, but this article is reassuring.

  • Commented by Natalia | freelancermap.com team on 18.12.2017 at 23:41 h

    Thanks for your comment, John!

    As you can see, we all have fears and insecurities but you already have the experience, so we're sure everything is going to be alright!

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