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011: Imposter Syndrome Sucks and What To Do About It

January 20, 2017

The Bearded Tog Podcast by Washington DC Wedding Photographer Adam Mason

When people ask you what you do for a living, do you feel uneasy or awkward about it? Do you have trouble saying what you do? Often times, we feel like we’re “faking it” and are just a fraud. That’s called Imposter Syndrome. 

Everyone struggles with this, and to not waste any time, here’s the key thing I want you to take away from this Bearded Tog episode:

Don’t let the feeling of being a fraud, keep you from the feeling of being YOU.  

Imposter Syndrome just a feeling, but it can stop us from being the best and truest version of yourself. It can stop us from being successful in both business and life. It’s hard to  be open about who you are and what you want to do if you constantly feel like someone is going to “reveal the truth” that we are a fraud or a joke.

For a long time, I struggled with this too. In this episode, I’m going to go give you tips to overcome these feelings of fakeness, and remind you of the the most important thing to remember: 

You matter, and are valuable not because of what you do or accomplish, but because you are you! 

Adam’s Advice

  • Imposter Syndrome is just a feeling. It comes around when we compare ourselves to others, when we think that they have it all together, and because we don’t, we must be a fraud. It can also happen if we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, or if there’s an area we are still learning and growing in that we think we  should be past by now.  
  • Imposter syndrome especially prevalent in the photography industry because we have no certification or degree to say we are qualified to do what we do. 
  • When you first start, the skills of your photography, or whatever work you do might not be matched are on the same level as your business skills or vice-versa. This can leave you feeling frustrated.
  • The first step battling imposter syndrome is to realize that your value as a person has nothing to do with your business success, or how skilled you are at your craft. In fact, it has nothing to do with what you do at all! Your value comes from just being a human. You matter. 
  • Take one year, focus on your skill, and do it for free. You will grow your skills and master your craft. And do it for fun, because you want to. Mastery of skill helps you from feeling like you don’t know what you are doing. 
  • If you have or have had clients, don’t let them be the measure of your success. They provide a lot of valuable insight, but they’re not the full story. Also, your clients are usually short term whereas to really gauge your success, you need to know if you’re taking the proper steps to be sustainable.
  • How do you know if you are on the right track? Find a mentor, and pay for their time. Even if you have supportive friends or family, you’re going to need people you trust in the industry. They will help you on your journey for long term business. This is just because your family or friends may not be the best authority on your business, not because their opinion doesn’t matter.
  • Find or pick people who you will allow to speak into your life and give advice, even hard advice, when you need it. 
  • Stop being afraid of being wrong. Stop being afraid of having an opinion. This fear stops us from doing so much. 
  • So many people want perfection, but what happens when our goal is perfection, it often leaves us paralyzed because we’re scared to execute on the idea. Don’t seek perfection, seek progress. 
  • A guy I love, Mike Vacanti always says “Consistency over perfection”. If you focus on perfection, you won’t go to the gym, get the salad, try something new, write a new piece. You’ll be paralyzed after the first little failure. Show up everyday. 
  • Don’t judge your behind the scenes, by someone else’s highlight reel. Another guy I love, Sean Wes says “If you subject yourself to someone else’s definition of success, you’re never going to allow yourself to speak from experience”. 
  • Gain experience to be able to speak authoritatively on something. 
  • You can’t fit in someone else’s mold, you can only fit in yours. You can always change your mold, but if you try to fit into the mold of others, you’ll never be happy or find yourself feeling like a success. Success is different for everyone, and we all get there differently.
  • Focus on being you. You’re great!!!

Links

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See Adam Mason’s work here: adammason.com

Follow Adam on Instagram @masonphotography

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To learn more about booking your Washington DC Wedding, Engagement, or storytelling session contact Adam via the Contact link in the menu, or email directly at web@adammason.comAdam is local to Washington, DC and is currently booking 2017 & 2018 Sessions.

Adam Mason frequently travels for wedding, event, and non-profit portrait sessions and has clients from coastal Maui to Iceland. To find out details regarding his upcoming travel dates to a city near you or to book a custom travel session, please contact for more information. You can also subscribe to Adam’s business podcast The Bearded Tog on iTunes!

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