Do you ever feel like an impostor?
I know I did. Often.
Feeling like a fraud was holding me back. And I used to hate it.
But my opinion of feeling like a fraud has changed.
Now I say that if you don’t feel like a fraud sometimes, you’re not growing.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably feel like a fraud. But you have lots of company: I’ve known academics that feel like frauds. Presidents. Schoolteachers. Copywriters. New mothers. Pastors. Even surgeons. Frauds every one of them — in their own eyes.
That fraud feeling comes to even the top people in every profession — Milton Glaser, for example. The famous graphic designer remarked that interesting design comes from “moving around in areas you are not a master of.” Sounds pretty impostor-y to me.
So if you feel like a fraud when you’re thinking about taking your skill or your passion to the world, you’re running with a crowd of some very high achievers.
If you’re growing professionally, you probably feel like a fraud
If you’re in your 20s or 30s, here’s a great truth to know now. If you think this impostor feeling is going to disappear as you get older, think again. I’m on the other side of 50 and it’s still there.
It never leaves as long as you’re growing.
The promotion for the Michelangelo: Love and Death show at the National Gallery of London bills the great artist as:
“Sculptor. Painter. Architect. Poet.”
You can’t tell me Michelangelo didn’t feel like a fraud.
One of the ways to manage that “impostor feeling” is study. My desire to know the art and technology of persuasion got me a BFA in studio art and a MFA in advertising design from one of The Wall Street Journal’s top-ten ad schools. I’ve visited agencies and interviewed copywriters, art directors, and creative directors, and presented to — and suffered under — some of the best minds in the business.
Study is how I kicked fraud in the teeth.
I have over 60 certificates in skills you and your organization can use — and some of the courses I’ve taken more than once. See some of them here on LinkedIn. And through Lynda.com, the technology learning site, I’ve studied under some of the leading lights in the business:
- Website design that looks good anywhere with James Williamson;
- Website coding with Carrie Dils;
- Website creation through WordPress and setting up online stores in WooCommerce with Morten Rand-Hendriksen;
- eBook production with Anne-Marie Concepción;
- Book design with Nigel French;
- Photo manipulation with Julianne Kost; and
- Google Analytics and Adwords with David Booth;
And over at Copyblogger.com:
- Content marketing with Brian Clark;
- Website reviews with Sonia Simone and Pamela Wilson; and
- Writing headlines with Jon Morrow.
And with every course, the voices accusing me of being something I’m not got fainter and fainter.
Feeling like a fraud is your gut telling you, “Welcome to the next level.”
Feeling like a fraud never leaves you; you just learn how to manage it better. You come to grips with … well, death. You think of the things you want to do and ask yourself: “If not now, when?”
A poet once wrote that many people die with their music still in them. Don’t be one of those people.