Hey UPSTAGE family! Happy Tuesday. This week, we're taking a mini- dive into imposter syndrome. By the end of this little piece- I'm hopping I'll have convinced you to ditch it.
A term I've tossed into at least one of my prior blogs, "imposter syndrome" has become an increasingly talked- about phenomena in today's "hustle" culture. For good reason, too.
Imposter syndrome might be the most playful of an umbrella term coined to self- internalized issues such as self doubt, lack of confidence, or fear of failure. It's that little voice in your head telling you: "Who am I to try and accomplish ______?" That voice is one that up to 82% of people surveyed by the National Institutes of Health admitted to experiencing. Keyword "admitted". It's likely more, if I were to guess.
Imposter syndrome is a metaphoric name associated to the feeling or fears that the life we are leading, risks we're taking, or goals we are pursuing are unrealistic, risky, or impossible for us to accomplish. As if our attempts and successes in these areas are in fact, not carried-out by ourselves, but an imposter. An imposter that none-one else must find out about, less they "give us away" to be a fake. An imposter SO good at what they do, that they even fool us at times.
But thats just it! The reason the imposter seems so good at what they do is because they're not an imposter at all! They're you, me, and everyone else- challenging ourselves, taking baby steps to get to where we want to go and making genuine progress regardless of the pace. The best way to "fake" an accomplishment, after all, is to actually accomplish it. And we do. Even if it feels like we're actually faking our way through it all.
Why you should ditch it:
We're so focused on getting our "perfect" final product- that in doing so, we're stripping ourselves of the most relatable and "believable" of products that we have: our vulnerability.
As artists and creatives, we often find ourselves internally striving to make products; our music, videos, photos, or live shows look so flawless, that any attempt at devaluing of our art would be impossible. A defense mechanism called perfectionism.
Although a professional and amazing product is a great thing to strive for, the additional pressure on ourselves isn't. Especially when that voice is feeding that "imposter" in us to work harder to "convince" everyone else, including ourselves of our worth.
Meanwhile, it's our work leading up to the final product that IS the proof to the pudding. The work that we try so hard to hide under the rug. The struggling, the setbacks, the "not- 100%- sure- but- gonna- try- it- anyway 's" that are occasionally painful, but real, relatable, and oftentimes....... captivating to audiences. Authenticity.
Being an artist IS being vulnerable. We owe it to ourselves to own our vulnerability as much as we can. Because if you don't work with it- it works against you.
I'm not telling any of you to go hop on instagram live and start streaming your meltdowns, but I AM saying, to identify the fact that having those "unsure" moments are normal. The amount of meltdowns you have along the way has absolutely no correlation to how much you deserve your own success in the end. Someone----- put that on a coffee mug and then also give me one.
It's not authentic for all artists to share, or even write about their hardships openly. But however you manage show up authentically to everyone else, I hope you show up also for yourself. Note all the work that goes into your success and remember it so that you can look back on it later knowing that there wasn't any room for an imposter to help you.
You're doing the work, so why give the credit to someone else?
You're doing it. Keep doing it.
Jada LaFrance & UPSTAGE LLC