If you’ve never heard of “Imposter Syndrome” before, no worries – I hadn’t either. A close friend of mine actually pointed mine out to me recently and I thought, “Holy Crap! I’ve had that my WHOLE life!”
Basically, Imposter Syndrome is a pattern where you tend to doubt your accomplishments and have the persistent fear that you’re not qualified or good enough to act with authority on a subject. You tend to go through life feeling like a total fraud.
I’ll give you an example.
Over time, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the gut microbiome simply through research and writing. So much so, that doctors have asked me to ghostwrite entire textbook chapters on the subject.
But my persistent Imposter Syndrome whispers in my ear every time, telling me I have no idea what I’m doing and I should just stop.
Even typing out the sentence, “I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the gut microbiome” was really scary to type out just now!
I’ve talked to people who wanted to become writers that were clinical psychologists, college professors, and nurses that had worse Imposter Syndrome than students of mine who had a high school diploma only. They felt as though they needed some sort of certification in writing to officially start writing.
For many of us, it’s because we grew up in a time where college was considered a pinnacle of achievement. Degrees were our proof of success. But this is no longer the case, especially with writing. People can take one look at my website and know right away whether or not I can write.
Now, I can spot people with Imposter Syndrome a mile away. They are the ones who are asking things like:
- What if I’m not qualified to write on that subject?
- When will I know I’m good enough to be a writer?
- Isn’t there some sort of certificate I can get first?
Ahh, these are my people… I ask myself these questions daily. But the answers are these:
- The internet is your new best friend. A good writer can write about anything as long as they do their research on the topic.
- The only way to become a better writer is with practice. The great news is you can often get paid while you get better.
- When has anyone ever asked to see your certificates anyway? Don’t waste your time on a certificate that’s purely subjective. Just get to work! Pick up the pen and start writing, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day.
The bottom line is this:
There are people less qualified than you doing what you want to do. Simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period.