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6th February 2024

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is a silent assassin that prowls the minds of freelancers, even those who appear confident and successful, often striking at the most inopportune moments. 

It’s that gnawing feeling that you’re not good enough, that you’re a fraud who somehow slipped through the cracks, and that any success you’ve achieved is just a result of luck. 

In this article, we will explore how to overcome this paralysing mindset and become the authentic, successful freelancer you were meant to be.

You’re Not Alone

Imposter Syndrome is more than just a psychological hurdle; it affects a significant number of freelancers across various industries.

In fact, recent studies indicate that around 80% of freelancers experience imposter syndrome at some point in their careers, making it an all-too-familiar companion for many in the freelance community.

Some of the reasons why imposter syndrome is prevalent in freelancers include:

  • The nature of your work: As a freelancer, you often work independently, without the structure and validation that comes with being part of a traditional workplace. Without the constant feedback and recognition from colleagues, it’s easy to doubt one’s own abilities and feel like a fraud.
  • Constant stream of new projects and clients: Each new endeavour brings with it the pressure to prove oneself once again, amplifying feelings of inadequacy. The fear of not meeting clients’ expectations or falling short of self-imposed standards can fuel imposter syndrome and hinder confidence.
  • A Highly competitive freelance industry: With freelancers constantly comparing themselves to their peers. Social media and online platforms can showcase others’ success, making it easy to perceive oneself as falling short. This constant comparison can create a sense of self-doubt and contribute to imposter syndrome.
  • Fear of failure: You may typically bear full responsibility for your work, and even a minor misstep can lead to self-doubt. The fear of making mistakes or not meeting your own high standards can prevent you from taking risks and pursuing opportunities, further perpetuating imposter syndrome.

Build a Success-Oriented Mindset

One common mistake that freelancers make when dealing with imposter syndrome is trying to copy others in their field. They assume that emulating someone else’s success will guarantee their own, but this approach is fundamentally flawed. 

It doesn’t help you build an authentic brand or business. Instead, it robs you of your uniqueness and stifles your creative potential. Embrace your individuality and let it shine through your work; it’s the key to your success.

Creating a success-oriented mindset is essential for overcoming imposter syndrome. To help you cultivate that mindset:

  1. Focus on your own growth and celebrate progress.
  2. Set realistic goals and celebrate milestones.
  3. Practice self-compassion and remember mistakes are opportunities for growth.
  4. Embrace the lessons that come from failure and continue progressing forward.
  5. Choose to be in the company of individuals who inspire and support you.
  6. Cultivate gratitude and reflect on achievements to maintain a positive mindset.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Coping Mechanisms for Imposter Syndrome

Dealing with imposter syndrome can be challenging, but there are coping mechanisms that can help such as:

  1. Deep Breathing: Calm anxiety and regain presence by taking slow, deep breaths. It helps break the cycle of negative thinking and brings a sense of calm and clarity.
  2. Positive Affirmations: Challenge negative thoughts with positive statements like “I am capable and deserving of success” or “I am enough just as I am.” Repeat them consistently to cultivate a positive and confident mindset.

If imposter syndrome is severely affecting your life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to get to the root of the issue. There’s no shame in seeking assistance to overcome this internal struggle.

Perfectionism and Fear

Imposter syndrome often goes hand-in-hand with perfectionism. The fear of failure or even the fear of success can paralyse you, preventing you from taking action.

It’s important to recognise that failure is a part of the journey to success. It provides valuable feedback and learning opportunities that help you grow as a freelancer.

To overcome perfectionism and take action:

  1. Embrace “good enough”: Understand that perfection is unrealistic and focus on delivering work that meets expectations.
  2. Break tasks into manageable steps: Divide work into smaller tasks to make it more approachable and manageable.
  3. Set realistic deadlines: Prioritise completion over perfection by setting specific deadlines for each task.

Remember, mistakes and failures are opportunities for growth, so embrace a growth mindset and seek constructive feedback to refine your skills. Celebrate progress along the way and shift your focus from attaining perfection to recognising your achievements.

The Art of Being Authentic

Authenticity is a powerful antidote to imposter syndrome because it encourages you to embrace and showcase your true self.

By being authentic in your branding and copywriting, you present your genuine skills, values, and personality to your audience. This builds trust and relatability, as people are more likely to connect with and believe in your abilities when they sense authenticity.

Moreover, authenticity empowers you to express your unique voice and perspective, setting you apart from others. Embracing your uniqueness reinforces your sense of self-worth and builds confidence in your capabilities.

This confidence becomes a shield against feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome, allowing you to thrive as a freelancer in your chosen field.

Harness the Power of Community Support

Being part of a supportive community is essential for freelancers facing imposter syndrome. By connecting with like-minded individuals who understand the challenges of freelancing, you can share experiences, seek advice, and gain perspective.

These communities offer validation, reassurance, and access to valuable knowledge and resources. For example, Danie Evergreen’s Greenhouse suports female entrepreneurs and small business owners, providing a safe space to connect and find support in overcoming imposter syndrome and thriving as a freelancer. 

Joining such communities can be a game-changer in your journey to success.

Value Action Over Endless Planning

Overthinking and endless planning can often exacerbate imposter syndrome. Taking action, even if it leads to failure, is better than inaction. 

Failure provides valuable feedback and learning opportunities, and it’s a necessary stepping stone on the path to success. Embrace the mindset that action beats perfection every time.

Learn How to Build Trust

Building trust and confidence is crucial for freelancers looking to overcome imposter syndrome. Clients and customers can spot sincerity from a mile away, and they are more likely to engage with you if they feel they can trust you.

Here are some key strategies you can employ to build trust:

  1. Embrace authenticity: Be true to yourself and your values to establish a genuine connection with clients and customers.
  2. Deliver on promises: Consistently meet deadlines and provide high-quality work to showcase professionalism and reliability.
  3. Communicate clearly and transparently: Keep clients updated, address concerns openly, and manage expectations effectively.
  4. Provide social proof: Share testimonials, reviews, and examples of past successful projects to demonstrate your credibility and expertise.

Conquer Your Inner Imposter

Imposter syndrome is a common hurdle that almost every freelancer faces at some point in their career. Conquering imposter syndrome not only leads to professional growth but also has a positive impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing.

The key to overcoming it is to shift your mindset, embrace your authenticity, and take action. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Seek support from communities and never underestimate the power of authenticity and trust in building your freelance success. 

Stand up to imposter syndrome, embrace your uniqueness, and let your true potential shine through. Your authentic self is your greatest asset in the world of freelancing.

Continuing to learn and develop will really help with imposter syndrome. Grab my Free Reading List of recommended books for freelancers and build your confidence.

Laura Bean Copywriting Blog Posts
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