Imposter Syndrome, we all feel it sometimes. According to Wikipedia the definition of this phrase 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".'
I'm sure at some point we all feel like this. That we are too similar to others, we have the same ideas as other writers or bloggers. But there are a few things that I have learnt over time that helps me deal with this thought process.
Accept that you have had some role in your successes. We feel like frauds because we are "unable to internalize our successes." We were given an opportunity that others weren't. And so nothing we achieve after that opportunity was actually deserved. There are plenty of people born with a silver spoon that still manage to fuck up. They were given every opportunity and never could take advantage of them. Opportunities come to those who expose themselves to them.
Focus on providing value. I feel like a fraud when I'm concerned about myself. What will they think of me? What if they make fun of you for trying to help? What if your sincerity is smashed under the laughter of others? Then OUCH! That hurts bad. Not nearly as bad as it hurts to feel like a shell of yourself though.
Keep a file of people saying nice things about you. I just started this earlier this year and it's been amazing. Every time someone writes that I helped them online I take a screenshot and put it in my folder. When I feel like a fraud I can go look through the stories of people I have helped. Collect your wins, testimonials, whatever and then visit them when you're feeling like a fraud.
Stop comparing yourself to that person. There's no good reason for you to be reading what I'm writing. There are world class biographies of Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, and Einstein. James Altucher has had more successes than me. Peter Thiel just wrote a book. Tim Ferriss, Paul Graham, Kevin Kelly… these guys blog! But still, I'm writing this because I think I have something to offer. Actually, when I look at my praise file I have proof that I have something to offer.
When I compare myself to these others it's easy to fall into the trap of "my life sucks compared to that life." You might as well not even do anything! Your life isn't the best life! Emerson said, "Envy is ignorance…" and he was right on. You aren't here to live the life of another person. You're here to do whatever life you can. Turn Facebook off, get off Instagram, stop reading biographies of "successful" people and learn to respect your own experience. You're not a fraud, you're just you and that is damn amazing.
Get advice from trusted friends. I actually have four writerly friends that I go to if I need a little pick me up. If I am unsure of something, I just ask them to look over it or ask them what they think of this idea. Sometimes I even ask them to look something over just to make sure it's not too similar to something they have seen before. This can be invaluable as a little pick me up.
What do you do to get over Imposter Syndrome? Let me know in the comments.