This week I had a great conversation with a friend from elementary school. We’re both named Sarah. Both of our careers have led us down creative and design related paths. Not surprising given that we were the creators and editors of our elementary school newsletter – which also got us out of going to recess in the winter!
Our discussion somehow ended up on the topic of feeling like we’re both in the right places in our careers, but also about how we regularly feel like we have no idea what we are doing.
Imposter syndrome. The idea that you’re somehow a fake — that you’re not qualified to do what you’re doing. The idea that somehow it’s a mistake and that someone else should be in your shoes.
I’m sure there are points in your week where you feel lost. You say “yes” to doing something, only to sit down to start it, and think “I have no idea how to start this”. Don’t worry. It gets easier. But it never goes away. I think it’s part of having a career that’s creative. It’s in the doubt that we wrestle to come up with our greatest ideas.
When I was just starting out in my career, I remember thinking to myself that I wasn’t going to try and be the smartest person in the room. Instead, I decided that I would embrace my novice-ness because it allowed me permission to be wrong. My lack of knowledge somehow made it more acceptable for me to ask questions, request clarifications, and offer up ideas that I was half confident in.
Here you’ll find the article from Harvard Business Review about imposter syndrome. I think you’re really going to like it and hopefully it will give you ideas and insights to help you deal with it … I don’t say “overcome” because I don’t actually think it ever will stop!