Hey lovely ones,
I hope your all doing well.
I recently came across a post in an Indie Biz Community group I am part of. It was from a woman who was feeling called to really step into being an illustrator. The thing that was wobbling her was this notion of being self taught illustrator/creative somehow meant that she wasn’t a “real” illustrator.
The community is incredible and everyone rallied round with beautiful comments of support. Many of us are self taught creatives and shared our journey of learning how to own the titles we give ourselves within our businesses.
It inspired me to share a bit about my journey and reflections on imposter syndrome and comparison-itis, which lets face it we have all experienced at some point.
When you start a business and as your side hustle grows you will probably find that you will start showing your little business in the sphere of social media. Social media is an incredible tool for sharing your work and Social Media Marketing is a huge part of many small business owner’s marketing strategies (check me out with my fancy terminology don’t I sound all professional! haha). It takes a lot of work alongside the pieces you create to create content for the many different channels you can promote your work through.
When I started my adventure into self discovery I remember shedding layers and finding the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and share my work. It can be an incredibly vulnerable thing to share your work with the world as a creative. You often put your heart and soul into your creations and the process can be quite personal, so putting it out there for all to see can make you feel quite in the spotlight.
When you start your different social media channels you are stating yourself as an artist or illustrator or whatever it is that you do. Giving ourselves these titles can be quite a huge step.
As someone who is completely self taught in illustrating, graphic design (bar some experience from high school) it felt like I couldn’t really call myself these things as I wasn’t formally trained. To be honest I don’t believe that you need a degree to give ourselves these titles. I know many people who have spent years committed to their practice and because of that they are incredible artists. Studying these subjects is an extremely helpful process and we will be taught techniques and be able to explore different styles but really it comes down to practice. With the internet at our fingertips we can literally find anything we want to learn on places like YouTube or through artists who are offering online classes and courses.
The thing is it’s not always an easy ride. Putting ourselves out there on the internet and showing our faces can be quite a process. Self doubt can kick in and we can start feeling like a bit of an imposter against all the other people we see with their slick ass branding and on point content. The thing is even the best art techniques and training won’t help you outrun confidence issues. It’s a struggle that many creatives will come up against. Your confidence issues can cause you to question yourself even more if you see likes and follows on social media pages as a validation point for how worthy and good we feel about your work. And trust me I have been there too.
The thing is imposter syndrome isn’t based on reality. It’s based on a perception we have and our mental mind chatter. It’s your mind running with fear and going wild of negative thoughts and self doubt.
As creatives (and humans in general) looking after our mental and emotional wellbeing should be a top priority. I am a big believer in living life to its fullest and equipping our emotional wellbeing toolkit with practices to help us move through emotions rather than holding onto them.
Before I go into some tools you can use to help move through imposter syndrome I need to address the issue of comparisonitis. Something that you will most likely be feeling alongside imposter syndrome.
There’s no way that being on social media as a small business owner or creative hasn’t made you compare yourself to other people who look like they’re doing “better” than you. People who maybe have more followers or likes and comments than you. Or maybe you think your work is rubbish in comparison to theirs.
So what can you do to shift imposter syndrome and comparisonitis?
The first thing I will say about comparisonitis is stop judging your level of experience against another person’s level. You have no idea what background or journey that person has been on and it’s more than likely that they compare themselves against other people too!
Be inspired by other artists. Something I have learnt with comparisonitis is that as soon as you notice your mood drop, a negative thought or a judgement come into your head then you need to stop scrolling on social media. When you look at peoples work look at it for inspiration not as a judgement piece to drag yourself down. What can you learn from that person’s work, are there elements that you would like to incorporate into your own work?
Here are 3 ways you can shift imposter syndrome:
Change your space.Step away from your work, take a break and do something different. Go for a walk, put your favourite music on and dance. Shifting your space is incredibly important when we go into a negative emotional state. Our energy gets stagnant and we end up in this loop of self doubt and dullness. Anytime I feel in a funk and hear the inner critic enter my mind I stop.
Use Emotional Clearing. This is an incredible tool I use regularly for shifting emotions. Emotional Clearing is a method of using kinesiology and muscle testing to clear emotions from our body. Dane Thomas is the creator of this incredible modality and has trained hundreds of people to become Spiral Practitioners who use this method of emotional clearing. He has created a free video series explaining how to use emotional clearing and has also written a book on it called Clear Your Shit which goes into all the different clears you can do. I highly recommend getting on the videos and reading the book as it is an incredibly powerful tool.
You can do emotional clearing on a variety of things from statement clears like “I’m Okay with feeling like an imposter in my work” and “I’m not okay with feeling like an imposter in my work”. It’s important when you do a statement clear you clear both sides, being okay and not being okay.
Become a risk taker. Fear is a natural human instinct it tells you to stand back from the cliffe edge or run from danger. It is trying to keep you safe. We have to really work on ourselves in our fear state to be able to shift it.
The thing is fear can propel us into incredible opportunities. The problem is when it keep you from doing the things you really want to do. You know, those things that would make your art and business level up.
Being safe isn’t always the best place to be. The fear that we have when imposter syndrome kicks in is not fear for our safety it’s actually a fear of failure. We don’t want to leave our little bubble of comfort and be seen failing in front of others.
To get past fear we have to become more acquainted with the idea that failure isn’t the end of the world.
So take those risks and put your work out there. Not for anyone else but yourself. Use putting it out there as a way to document it for yourself.
Create a celebrations box for yourself. As artists and entrepreneurs you have a responsibility to acknowledge and celebrate your own successes.
Next time you create a piece of work that you’re proud of or you sell a piece of your work write down the accomplishment and how it made you feel. Keep it in a little box so that you can pick yourself back up when you need it.
So remember that you are worthy, your work is good enough and the great thing is that there is alway’s new things to learn.
When you find yourself spiraling into self doubt, judgement and comparisonitis, step away.
Celebrate all the little wins, all the pieces you create, all the sales you make and complements you get about your work. Celebrate it all!
I hope that something through what I have shared with you has landed.
Wishing you a beautiful day.
All my love,