Have you ever considered yourself a fraud? Well a psychological study done in the early 1980s have found that 70% of the population at one point in their lives have considered themselves frauds or imposters. It comes down to people not being able to internalise their accomplishments even though there’s proof that contradicts this thought pattern. People who suffer from this are said to have Imposter Syndrome and now I have a peg to hang this feeling on.
I’ve been writing this comeback post for about 2 months but my procrastination ability has exceeded all previous delaying tactics. Yes the life of a procrastinating imposter syndrome sufferer is a rather bumpy road to travel along.
I’m writing this for 2 reasons. To help me come to grips with this and out myself. Also to bring awareness to others who may be feeling the same way. You are not alone.
Looking back I can say this all started around the time I was asked by Jay and Varina Patel to contribute a few articles to their photography teaching website Visual Wilderness about 18 months ago. I didn’t and still don’t consider I have enough to offer (Imposter Syndrome still prevalent) but through the fear of being exposed, I trusted their professional opinions and gave it a shot. Now my photography prowess then covered a whole 4 years. 2 less than it stands now. For some reason within that first 2 years Google decided to make me a “Suggested User” to follow in the genre of photography. I later was featured in a 2 part blog post by On1 Software, a photography editing package that has been with me 90% through my journey. These were my 2 claims to fame. Oh I also take “above average” images too. These should have been enough to convince me that I had “something” to offer the Patels. I did knock out a few blog posts for them and the fear eased. Then an offer was giving to me for a more profitable project to participate in. I can’t go into details but this REALLY scared the crap out of me but like the previous Patel offer I thought I could overcome the fear and accomplish this. As I layed down the groundwork for the start of this project my Imposter Syndrome really kicked into gear and the fear became unbearable. I quit the project. The fear of being exposed as a fraud was insurmountable.
It was around this time that 1 of my images was selected to be displayed on Google’s Chromecast device as a screensaver. Congratulations I hear you say. “That will give you more exposure.” Yeah current count is just over 1.43 BILLION views. WTF!!! Exposure and Imposter Syndrome are a lethal cocktail. I slowly faded away from Google+ and my photography outings became few and far between. I still have images from our 3 month Europe vacation to post before all of this started. Then there’s the 2 week New Zealand South Island campervan tour to post as well. My family and close friends, along with a few die hard supporters, have seen a preview of images shot with my Olympus point and shoot that were edited in Snapseed. The good images from my Olympus OMD cameras, which are dwindling in number as I procrastinate over the final selection, are still to be seen.
So the question is now how do I get out of this predicament? I want to break free from this cycle of self doubt. It’s not going to be easy and It’s going to take some time to get my confidence back again. There has been so many changes made to Google+ with Collections, Communities and general posting since my absence. I’ve just about forgotten how to use WordPress for my MykalHall.photography website and that needs updating. What I need to do is get out shooting with friends I have neglected recently, share images regularly and blog posts. I have to start posting images to other communities too. Flickr, Instagram and Facebook. I also need to develop some useful habits that will help me achieve a few goals. One of those habits has to be gratitude which will aid in the internalisation of accomplishments. A key factor for breaking out of the Imposter Syndrome cycle.
If you have overcome or are in the same situation I would love to hear how you are coping or conquered this fear. Please leave comments below or share this post to someone in need.