Congratulations, you booked a dream job! You’ll be working alongside top talent doing what you love the most. “But are you actually good enough?” a voice croaks from the gutter of your mind. Yes, you earned the part over hundreds, maybe thousands of other actors. This is your time to shine! “You fooled them at the audition,” the voice bellows. “But once you get on set, they’ll all see the truth.”
Meet the imposter syndrome monster. Psychology Today defines impostor syndrome as “a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” It’s essentially a pattern of behavior where someone doubts their accomplishments and persistently fears they’ll be exposed as a fraud. Unfortunately, we all suffer from this sludge of self-doubt at some point. Award-winning actors aren’t even exempt. “I go through [acute impostor syndrome] with every role,” Lupita Nyong’o told Time Out. “I think winning an Oscar may in fact have made it worse.”
At the end of the day, we can’t let those thoughts swallow us whole. We must take control and slay imposter syndrome so our career doesn’t tailspin. How do we do that?
Here are five ways to rein in the imposter syndrome monster and hopefully destroy it indefinitely!
1. Take out the trash.
When self-sabotage bubbles up in your brain, drag it out! Lasso those rude quips and throw them into the real world. Just in case these metaphors aren’t coming across, I’m saying to talk to someone! Unload your fears out loud to someone you trust. It’s not only brave, but incredibly liberating.
2. Rewrite your mental script.
Retrain your mind to enjoy the opportunity you’ve been given. For example, instead of thinking, “They’re going to find out I have no idea what I’m doing and fire me” think to yourself, “Everyone gets first day jitters. I might not know everything, but I can learn. They chose me for a reason.”
3. Unearth “failure.”
If you can’t turn off the mean voice in your head that projects failure, why not change the way you respond to failure. Oprah “doesn’t believe in failure. It’s not failure if you enjoyed the process.” Throw the idea of success out the window for a moment and discover the real meaning of failure: a stepping stone to greatness.
4. Show yourself.
Haven’t we all learned to show not tell? Look up any highly-lauded person in society and I guarantee you’ll find an interview where they discuss visualizing their victories. It can be hard, but instead of falling into the rabbit hole of nerves, turn right and run down the path of seeing your bright future. Focus on the positive and don’t look back.
5. Trick the brain.
When all else fails, fake it till you make it! Don’t wait for confidence to drive over. Confidence builds when we take risks. Change your behavior first and your mind will follow.
*This post was originally published on Jan. 28, 2020. It has since been updated.
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