Confessions: Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever feel like your accomplishments and successes are nothing more than mere luck, rather than accepting the fact that you did something well and should be proud? Do you worry that people will somehow find out the "truth" (it's not the truth) and think you're just a phoney who doesn't know what they're doing?

Guess what! You are not alone, and you're also wrong. And I mean that in the best way.

"Impostor Syndrome is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud"." —Wikipedia

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I have a feeling that creative people experience this quite frequently. For me it isn't an ongoing feeling (thankfully) - it just comes in waves every so often. My feelings about my work and my business fluctuate. Some days I'm thrilled with a new accomplishment, or meeting an awesome new client, or delivering finished artwork for their home... everything is going well and I'm excited about the future. But then some days come, and for whatever reason this little part of my brain insists that I don't know what I'm doing at all. The beautiful images I've created are mostly just luck... that any new photographer could do better work than me if they tried... that my clients and followers will think I'm no good, etc.

Why do our brains do this? Rationally I know that this voice isn't telling the truth, but it can be hard to fight it on those days. I know that I've worked hard for years to get to where I am right now. I know that I've built great relationships with my clients and they genuinely do love my work. I know that I do have a skill that not everyone with a camera can replicate. But I think sometimes our brains don't allow us to feel "too much" pride in our accomplishments. I think we subconsciously remember how often our society has shamed people for feeling "too confident" in themselves. So if things are going really well for us and we're feeling really good about our achievements, our brain decides to knock us down a peg, just to keep us in check.

I really wish it wouldn't, though! Most of us already spend so much time feeling bad about ourselves and having low self-esteem. I've finally found something I'm pretty good at and I thoroughly enjoy, so it's nice to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride sometimes. I'm sure the same is true for you as well!

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"I have written 11 books, but each time I think, 'Uh oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out.'" — Maya Angelou

To combat Impostor Syndrome the last time it appeared for me, I decided to write some affirmations to myself. I reminded myself of the things I knew to be true every other day, even though it was hard to truly believe them that day. I reminded myself of my worth, of my skills, of the time spent educating myself in this field and business, of my clients who love their images, and of all the other things that I am usually reminding others of (on their bad days). That day I had to remind myself and give myself the same pep talk that I'm usually giving to friends and colleagues. It helped a lot to write those things down and remind myself that they were true. And after talking with my fiancée about the negative feelings in my head, I was able to refocus myself and get back on track.

Have you experienced Impostor Syndrome before? How does it manifest itself in your life? And what do you do to push it away?

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Pup Parent Confessions: The Beginning

 
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Hey, fellow dog parents! Today I wanted to "sit down" with you today and talk about some stuff that I think many of you will be able to relate to. I might make a series out of this and have more blogs in the future that cover topics like the one I'm about to discuss today.

I want to talk about those sneaky feelings of guilt that we have, as dog owners. Just like parents of human children, we often experience guilt about whether or not we're doing everything right for our pups. Whether we've made all the right decisions and choices since the day we brought this precious soul home. On almost every possible topic in the dog community, it seems that there are often two drastically different viewpoints. But lots of us are stuck in the middle and not sure which side is right (or right for us) until we do more research. Or sometimes we make a decision, and then later educate ourselves and realize that maybe that wasn't the best one to make.

Nobody is perfect! Everyone is continually learning and growing for their whole life. We all make mistakes or regret some choices, but that is life, isn't it?

Today I'm confessing some of my guilty feelings. Something that can't be changed now, and I honestly don't want to change it now anyway. But whenever the subject comes up, I feel a little guilty and embarrassed about the decisions of my past self.

 
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We didn't adopt Ruby, and we didn't get her from a reputable breeder either.

We got her from someone who had a puppy who needed a home. Yep, the thing you're not supposed to do. The shady people you're not supposed to support. Those are the kind of decisions you sometimes make before you're better educated about these things. And I am no exception.

 
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So sometimes when people ask where we got Ruby, I'm embarrassed. That is where we got her and that will always be the answer - there's nothing I can do to change it now. But do you know what? Ruby is perfect for our family. I mean, none of us are perfect (including her, haha) but she fits our lives so well and we love her so incredibly much. I don't want to think about where she might have ended up if we weren't the ones who took her home. It could have been bad.

But guess what - that didn't happen! We have her now, and she is ours forever. We may have made a less-than-stellar choice in hindsight, but since it's in the past and I can't change it now, all I can change are my feelings about it. I'm SO glad we got our precious Ruby because our lives are so much better with her in them. She is right where she belongs.

 
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