Believing in yourself when you feel like a fraud. . .plus a special event announcement February 10, 2014 08:00
Ever feel like you don't belong or wonder if you're worthy of attention?
Have you questioned whether you deserved or have the right to do what you're doing?
Perhaps you've doubted the reality of when good things actually happen to you?
Or do you ever simply feel like a fraud?
It's no secret that feeling like a fraud, fake, loser, etc. has always been a problem of mine. In some ways, I've overcome these anxieties but they always strike in new forms.
A while ago, I wrote about my struggle with believing in myself as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I always wonder why I can't just believe.
I mean, I survived building a business, built this pretty decent blog along the way, brought art back into my life, and even got to experience my work in a gallery. I always carry out my ambitions and seek new levels even if I'm not entirely certain about my path.
In fact, four months ago (October 2013), I got tired of selling my illustrations in the form of posters, pillows, and the occasional iphone/ipad decal. So, I decided to learn 3D modeling and printing.
I immediately fell deeply in love with 3D modeling and printing. The learning curve was steep, I crashed my computer more times than I can remember, I occasionally forgot to go to sleep, and I mostly stumbled around blindly.
And I loved every second of it. I knew this was my art's next evolutionary step, which brings me to...
THE AWESOME NEWS: I've been selected to showcase alongside some amazing 3D artists in the prestigious Adobe & Shapeways artist exhibition in the 3D Printshow in NYC from February 12-15 (more details below).
And you know what my first thought was when I was emailed about this news?
They must have made a mistake. Maybe this email was supposed to go to someone else. Maybe they're pitying me.
So, what did I do? Instead of joyfully replying back, I actually waited for this imaginary email that would inform me of their careless error. I waited for nearly three hours...but no amendment email came.
Talk about a serious case of impostor syndrome...
Even worse, I looked up all the other exhibition artists and found architects, designers, sculptors, senior modeler...10 years experience, 20 years experience...fine arts and architecture degrees here and there... My insecurity increasingly chiseled away my confidence.
They're the real artists. They're the pros. I don't belong there. They'll see me as a joke. A wannabe.
Maybe you think I'm ridiculous. Or perhaps you've felt this way too—the constant inadequacy and feeling like you're entering territory you don't belong in. As if at any moment, someone's going to discover you in all your shameful ineptitude.
I've never done anything remotely related to 3D modeling until four months ago and I don't have a fine arts degree (or MBA), and I don't have years or decades of experience in any industry.
All I had/have is the desire to pursue something because I want to. Because I'm hungry to explore something amazing and new.
And that's when it hit me. I'm not drawing and 3D modeling to seek fame and accolades or whatever. I draw and 3D model because I think it's fucking awesome and I can't get enough of it. My work electrifies me when I'm truly focused on myself (and not comparing myself to others).
A good friend and mentor once told me (and I'm paraphrasing):
"Everyone lives in their own movie. Some people spend their whole lives trying to star in someone else's film or role. It's up to you to wake up and decide if you want to star in your own."
I'm choosing to play my part in my own movie. I have every right to call myself an artist, blogger, entrepreneur. This is my journey.
I have every right to be here, to pursue what I want in my own way.
What do you think? I know it's always easier said than done but perhaps these thoughts can help:
Pay attention to when you're feeling like a fraud or coming under your own fire and acknowledge it.
Recognize your own successes (journaling about it seriously helps me lots).
Occasionally reflect on what you've already achieved instead of constantly focusing on what you haven't accomplished.
When your negative self-talk becomes unmanageable, talk to someone you trust and who can offer more than just showerings of empty praise.
Your fears and insecurities are your feelings, not necessarily your reality.
Feeling insecure doesn't make you weak, it makes you human.
You're not the only one who feels this way.
And if none of the above helps even a little, try this one out:
"Accept that everyone everywhere—no matter how successful—experiences the self-doubt that underlies impostor syndrome. It is part and parcel of becoming accomplished and successful. There is nothing unusual or wrong about feeling these things. Leave no cognitive space for them to grow, and regain control of your life and your future." — Denise Cummins, Ph.D.
AND if you're in NYC and love 3D printing, art, tech and fashion, come check out the NYC 3D Printshow, February 12-15.
Maybe we'll bump into each other :) Here are the details:
WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011
WHEN: February 12-15, 2014. See timetable.
TICKETS: Click here.
DESCRIPTION: 3D Printshow New York will be our most exciting show to date; a combined business, arts, design, education and consumer event with cutting-edge technology, world exclusive features and some of the sharpest minds in the world of future-tech.
Our NYC show will include some of the most incredible new content that we’ve found around the globe, combined with incredible new exclusives created specifically for our US audience.
Your turn. Have you ever suffered from impostor syndrome? What do you think of the new Lumecluster 3D printed art?