Can imposter syndrome be a positive thing?

Turning imposter syndrome into the imposter.

Imposter syndrome is one of those things that I’m confident in saying everyone has felt at some point in their lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re confident, shy, introverted or extroverted it will happen on some level.  Over the years I’ve seen YouTube videos and articles on ‘overcoming imposter syndrome’ but I think we should change the narrative a little and focus on ‘how’ you react to it and turn it into a positive.

I’m a confident introvert, and like many creative people, I thrive by putting myself out there and challenging myself in the pursuit of satisfying the thirst to prove myself…to myself.

I often start a challenge that’s far too big, and then spend a lot of time questioning why the hell I am putting myself through this whilst at the same time knowing I’ll stubbornly see it through to the end even though it may be a bumpy ride mentally.

This year I chose to change the way I look at how imposter syndrome affects me and turn it to my advantage.  Im confident in my skills as a photographer and writer and my ability to think on the fly. I have a deep interest in storytelling and have always been motivated by people and achievements and the fact I now get to tell those stories is incredibly rewarding.

This year, however, I was presented with an opportunity that involved a lot of pressure and no room for mistakes. I was sent to New Caledonia on behalf of Adventure Magazine to document a mountain bike event and to tell the story of the Island to increase tourism within select markets.

To be transparent, at first, I thought it was a job too big for me but after a chat with a friend it became crystal clear…..why the hell wouldn’t I go, it was a chance to flex some creative muscle, I just needed to take the opportunity for what it was……an opportunity to tell a story. Sometimes imposter syndrome can be simply putting up a wall to protect yourself from failure.

It’s easy to fall into the spiral that is ‘I’m not good enough to do this’ and once that thought process takes hold it’s tough to overcome.  But I found that if I twisted the narrative slightly to ‘I could be good enough, let’s find out’ it changed my mindset to a more positive one that filled me with excitement for the journey to come. I was not so fixated on myself anymore and the story I wanted to tell took over. To quote rocky ‘It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward’

Upon arriving in New Caledonia I knew that I wanted to make this editorial about the people of the Island and tried to show their warmth and passion for adventure through my images.  But it was that initial self-doubt that kept me present and focussed on the task at hand.

It’s easy in the modern day to expect to be great instantly. We are inundated with social media creatives who go with the trends that algorithms dictate and it’s easy to forget what real life creatively looks like. But those who achieve a lasting legacy have done so through grit, determination, and getting shit wrong…. a lot!  Never trust instant success, instead trust your own process……whatever that is, and stick with it.

So maybe imposter syndrome is a good thing.   It keeps us humble, it keeps us on edge, keeps us relatable, and approachable. Embrace the imposter syndrome but don’t let it hold you back or define you….just ride the rollercoaster until the wheels fall off.

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