We’ve all been there. Suddenly we get this great opportunity. Something that makes us think “wow, I’ve hit the big time!” Then suddenly, our internal monologue starts up “What are you gonna’ do? You aren’t qualified for this?! You don’t have enough training/experience/talent/intelligence etc. etc. etc…. It’s only a matter of time before everyone realizes that you’re a FRAUD and IMPOSTER!”
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.
According to an article published on Time.com: “An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives”. A review article from The International Journal of Behavioral Science says “Impostor syndrome affects all kinds of people from all parts of life: women, men, medical students, marketing managers, actors and executives.”
So, why do we even feel this way? Well, like what I spoke about in a previous post–it comes down to confidence, and how you deal with failure. When we internalize criticism as a set personality trait rather than learn how to use it to propel us forward, you create a system of self-limiting beliefs. For example if you’ve been told by someone, you’re more of a dramatic actor, you’re not suitable for comedy. But then you start getting auditions for sitcoms–you might feel like “oh, I don’t deserve this–I’m not funny.” Or when all you’ve done are bit parts in commercials, and you start getting auditions for supporting roles in film, you might think “I can’t handle all these lines! Auditioning is one thing, but if I get on set, they’ll see that I can’t do this!”
BUT YOU CAN!!! Recognize that as long as you’re getting the auditions and the opportunities, it’s because casting sees something in you. And if you’re getting booked–it means that even more people can see it. All anyone asks is that you don’t self-sabotage to prove yourself right. Work as hard as you did for the audition as you do to prep for the rest of the role, and you’ll be awesome!
You can also change your mindset.
Impostor syndrome expert Valerie Young often reminds people that “the only difference between someone who experiences impostor syndrome and someone who does not is how they respond to challenges. People who don’t feel like impostors are no more intelligent or competent or capable than the rest of us,” Young says. “It’s very good news, because it means we just have to learn to think like non-impostors.”
Learning from our failures, and taking pride in our previous achievements, no matter how small they may seem to us–can often give us the validation we need. Remember, every audition we EARN is a opportunity that we got over someone else. Every role we book, is not based on luck but on a combination of talent, training, and focus.