"They're gonna find me out."

Recently, a younger photographer who is just starting out asked me for some advice... She asked about lenses and cameras and was very interested in my opinion. That’s when it hit me: she thought I knew what I was talking about. She thought I was a bona fide adult with my life together and knowledge to spare.

Suddenly I became incredibly self-conscious. I was afraid to answer her questions, afraid I would give her bad advice. Never mind that I’ve been shooting for a few years and have a decent amount of experience. (See? I'm a professional photographer and even I just said "decent" experience.)

Imposter Syndrome, or the Fear of Being Found Out, is something we’ve all dealt with to some degree.

Even Maya Angelou once said, "I have written eleven 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." A Nobel laureate can attest to the woes of feeling ill-equipped and incompetent. How crazy is that? And, why is it happening?

In the likeness of most other pitfalls in our world, Imposter Syndrome can be traced back to a singular source: comparison - the thief of joy. No matter how good you are, no matter how much experience or schooling or knowledge you have, there is always going to be someone more qualified, skilled, and seasoned. This feels like a discouragement. If you can’t be the best, might as well throw in the towel, right?

Heck no, techno.

The beauty in any skill, gift, talent, or ability is that you can only move in one direction: up. Your growth is constant and continuous as long as you put in the time and effort. Matching your abilities against another’s may result in an overwhelming sense of defeat, but matching your abilities against your own past can only produce the excitement of improvement.

Simply put: instead of looking at how far you have to go, marvel at how far you’ve come. You are spectacularly, and uniquely you, and that is an accomplishment. Improve upon your personal best and you will never feel dissatisfied with your abilities.

You cannot be an imposter if your eyes are fixed on being you.


Brunch enthusiast, copywriter, and moment capturer

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