Imposter syndrome. That feeling of inadequacy. A subconscious fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’ affects so many of us, especially in the design industry.
It can hinder personal growth, stifle opportunities and perpetuate a cycle of anxiety and insecurity. However, the good news is you’re not alone, and there are effective ways to overcome this self-doubt and unleash your true potential.
Whether it’s starting a new position, preparing for a big presentation or even spending years in the same job, many designers will recognise the symptoms of imposter syndrome, even if we haven’t labelled it. How many of these sound familiar to you?
Perfectionism and fear of failure
It’s no secret that many designers are perfectionists through and through. We relentlessly chase the flawless and often feel like our work is never quite good enough, even when it gets rave reviews from clients and peers. Sometimes design can feel like a perpetual quest for perfection. That’s dangerous when combined with the nagging fear of failure that lurks in the background.
This kind of fear can make us shy away from taking on new challenges, afraid we won’t measure up, or we’ll stumble along the way. To compensate for that fear we tend to overwork things, which can block the path to unleashing our full creative potential.
Modesty and praise
As designers, we often find it hard to accept praise for our work. When someone mentions our creativity or problem solving, we might downplay it, attributing success to luck, our colleagues or external factors, rather than acknowledging our own skills and effort. While modesty can be endearing up to a point, it can also hold us back from recognising and celebrating our achievements.