Conquering Impostor Syndrome: A New Perspective on Self-Doubt
Impostor Syndrome seems to be a popular topic lately, and as someone who embarked on a completely new career after more than two decades in a different field, I can certainly relate to it. Switching gears so dramatically naturally brings about those nagging feelings of self-doubt and makes you question your abilities. It’s like a persistent voice in your head whispering, “Do you really know what you’re doing?”
When I first started freelancing, I agonised over every single thing, every word I wrote, every post I made, and every full stop I typed. I began to get frustrated with myself. I couldn’t help but compare this struggle with my previous career and wonder why I hadn’t faced this issue before. That’s when it hit me — I’ve always grappled with Impostor Syndrome.
Back in my previous job, I remember the anxiety before meetings, the fear of asking clients for specific documents, and the worry that my submitted work might be completely wrong. It wasn’t a daily occurrence, but it did happen from time to time. And you know what? Not only did I survive those moments, but I also excelled in my role.
Impostor Syndrome doesn’t discriminate. I recently watched a TV program about the RAF, and even a pilot climbing into a fighter jet mentioned experiencing Impostor Syndrome. When you consider the high-stakes nature of their work, my concerns about making a small mistake in a meeting or process suddenly seemed trivial.
But now, the work I do doesn’t just represent someone else and their business; it represents me and my own business. So, getting it right feels more important than ever.
When I completed my first copywriting job, I was absolutely terrified of making mistakes. I lost sleep, endlessly edited and rewrote, and even considered giving up because I didn’t feel good enough. But then, after much procrastination over the first draft, I decided to take a deep breath and hit “send” (with my eyes closed, I admit).
As I anxiously awaited my client’s response, I reflected on the effort I had put into that piece. I meticulously followed the brief, generated numerous drafts, and revisited the final version multiple times. I reminded myself that the first draft was just that — a draft. Feedback isn’t criticism, and my job was to translate the client’s vision into words.
As it turned out, the client was pleased with my initial draft, and they had a few additional ideas to incorporate that weren’t in the original brief. After a few minor adjustments, I had successfully completed my first copywriting job.
This knowledge has given me the confidence I needed: the ability to challenge that critical inner voice known as Impostor Syndrome.