Could you be suffering from Imposter Syndrome?
Ever feel like you just won’t cut it as a blogger? Filled with self-doubt? (why would anyone listen to me when there are so many other better-qualified people out there doing this, who have been at it for so much longer?)
Don’t fret! Sounds like you could just be suffering from a touch of Imposter Syndrome…This is a psychological problem which can strike anyone at any time, landing the sufferer flailing in the huge lagoon of I-am-inadequate-and-incompetent, and standing alone in the desolate expanse of I-shall-be-exposed-as-a-fraud land.
Although imposter syndrome can strike those who have been successful for many years (regardless of how well they are or are not doing, and even those who are brilliant in their chosen fields are not immune), it is a particularly common problem for those just starting out, and something you see all the time in bloggers.
You only need to hop onto a couple of facebook groups for new bloggers to see how many people are feeling like they just can’t cut the mustard.
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It’s all too much!
Thing is, there is just so much to learn isn’t there? And where you may have initially thought this was going to be a breeze, once the initial thrill of starting a new project wears off (and believe me, I’m terrible for this one, it’s always so exciting to start something new, and then the real work begins and pffft, I’m so over that…) you realise that this is real, like an actual JOB.
And then you start to compare yourself to the bloggers you admire, subscribe to, look up to…and suddenly you feel like you’re in waaaaay over your head, and how on earth did you ever feel like you could compete with that?? And that is when the imposter syndrome creeps in…
Well, stop right there. That there is your first problem!
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
Right now. Got it? Good. When you are starting out in any field, it’s always your first impulse to look to others who are already successful in that area for guidance. Makes perfect sense right? And sure, by all means, do that…look for guidance – just don’t get caught up with the comparisons.
The wonderful thing about the blogging community as a whole is how helpful everybody is. There is tonnes of free advice out there, just because people truly do want to reach out and give others the step up they never had, or maybe they did get a step up and want to pay it forward.
And yes, some of them also profit from this information, making a big chunk of their income by selling products in this area, but these products are often designed to help bloggers follow their exact model for success, which when you think about it is pretty neat!
Not many industries will offer you so many insider tips because traditionally the world of business is so competitive, everybody for themselves and trying to get one up on everybody else.
This is not a competition
We don’t work from a place of competition, we work from a place of creativity, and if you aren’t in competition with other bloggers (and you really aren’t!) then that frees you up to be a creator. Learn from others, be guided by them, invest in their courses, but don’t lose yourself in it.
It is YOUR voice that will bring you success, you can follow somebody else’s exact formula for starting a successful blog, but it ain’t gonna happen for you if you are writing as a vague and diluted version of somebody else.
You need to remember that you are not them, and ultimately you need to sell YOU!
And you rock, you really do! Which brings me to the next issue…Why would anybody want to hear what you have to say about something that may have been written about time and time again…
What can you possibly have to offer?
OK, listen…You can offer YOUR take on it.
There are so many different types of people and so many different ways of doing things, but nobody else is you, nobody else has your unique viewpoint. And for as many different types of people there are, there are as many different ways to resonate with those people.
Tell your story. It will resonate with those who need to hear it.
And people love to collect information on a subject, don’t they? When you decided it might be cool to start a blog, did you read just one article about it? Or did you spend days devouring every piece of information you could find?
You might have read LOADS of really very similar posts, ebooks, articles or whatever, but you resonated with some more than others, despite the bones of the content being pretty much identical because it was the individual flavour of the writing and the character of the person writing that grabbed you.
THAT is why what you have to say is just as important and valid as what anyone else has to offer.
“But I’m not an expert….”
I hear you cry! OK, let’s take a look at this, you’re in a place of panic and insecurity right now, so in your mind, you’re probably around about somewhere like this:
“Expert:A person who:
- gets paid by people for their knowledge or skill because they spent years studying at the World Mega-School for the Insanely Gifted
- has a lifetime of awesome first-hand experience
- has built a business that changed the world and/or made them millions
- has so many Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest followers that they broke the internet”
Sound about right? Ok, so here’s what the dictionary has to say:
“Expert: a person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area.”
Don’t sweat it! You know some stuff right? You got some skills?
Congratulations! That makes you an expert! Cool huh? Also, you really don’t have to know everything about a subject, you just need to know more than the person you are writing for:
Be a Leading Learner, or as I prefer to think of myself, a procrastinating pioneer!
Sometimes this is waaaay better, as those we consider to be “experts” can actually be a little bit intimidating, or else just not seem to be very ‘real’ to us, like they exist and operate in a totally different realm.
Those who are learning and sharing what they are learning as they go can be much more approachable because readers can relate to them so much better and so establish a much stronger connection.
You can have so much fun setting up a blog, and really enjoy feeling like you’re building this little world, but also at times it can feel crazy, like a puzzle with missing pieces, or pieces that just don’t seem to fit, or else just so very overwhelming, trying to find the time to work on it when you have so much else to do in a day.
But it’s a process…
What surprised me on my own blogging journey is that the more I learned, and the more I got stuck in and I tried to put together those puzzle pieces and overcome each obstacle, the more it had a knock-on effect in my life overall.
I found I was also learning how to be better in all areas of my life, becoming more organised and efficient, and developing a confidence I hadn’t even realised was lacking.
These things take time. Be kind to yourself!
You are not just adding a new skill to your bow – You are building a new and more powerful weapon (the weapon being you my friend, in case my analogy missed the mark…sounded better in my head y’know?)
Love yo self. You are a badass!
Related reading… Why you should take time off when starting up a blog
So, to recap….
- Stop comparing yourself to others. You are somebody else entirely and are at a totally different point in your journey, don’t compare your chapter 1 with somebody else’s chapter 7! You are bright and shiny and beautiful, with your future stretching out before you ready to be molded to whatever is a right fit for you; go shine your shiny light!
- Be a creator, not a competitor. There is room for all. If you’ve been struck by a desire to create a blog about going vegan on a budget but then find out that others are already all over that subject, it doesn’t matter! People gotta eat.. Get in touch with your fellow vegan bloggers and say hi! The quickest way to feeling like you’re on the right track is to surround yourself with like-minded souls.
- Own your expertise. You got this. You know your onions. Sure you do.
- Love yourself! A feeling of inadequacy comes from a lack of self-confidence.
Has imposter syndrome been a problem for you? Let me know below what helped you through in the comments below!