Wondering how to manage imposter syndrome?
You're not alone. Something like 70% of us are dealing with it to some extent. It's even more prevalent in women and minorities. And I would guess (but this is anecdotal) that it is also more prevalent in singers.
Since learning how to manage imposter syndrome is the same process for singers and non-singers alike, I've got you covered, either way.
For this article, I'm going to focus on one of the main tenets of my approach to coaching clients through imposter syndrome - transforming your perceived flaws into features.
You don't have to actually change anything about your so-called flaws. You just have to recognize their value and move from hiding them in shame to proudly sharing them as evidence of your skills, experience, and insight.
I'll explain an important way I had to do this myself, once upon a time, and why it taught me how to manage imposter syndrome.
As a singer and vocal coach, I was a late-bloomer.
I didn't discover modern vocal technique until I was in my 30's. When I could finally sing the way I had always wanted, I took a certification course so I could teach what I learned and help spread the good word!
In my early years of vocal coaching, when I looked around at the way other coaches sold their services, I doubted myself. Severely. There were coaches who could name-drop famous people. And coaches with years of experience working with well-known studio musicians in Nashville. And coaches who had been university-level singing teachers. One coach regularly talked about being on Broadway when she was eight.
I couldn't compete with any of that!
So, I stuffed the shame of my "insufficient" experience and tried to pretend it wasn't there taunting me. And I secretly hated myself when anyone even remotely hinted at it. That's the problem with imposter feelings. They make you believe you should be able to compete with the accomplishments of others. But really, what's the point of that?
If two people bring the exact same experience and insight to the table, one of them is superfluous.
The coach who can name-drop famous people has a niche. So does the young Broadway singer. And so do I.
Being born an average singer and not finding stardom at a young age are not my flaws. They are my features. I'm the coach for late-bloomers who want to recapture an old singing dream. Not only do I understand firsthand how to help late-bloomers, those other coaches explicitly don't.
This realization was a turning point for me, the moment I began to take back control of my inner "imposter."
So, how do you apply this concept in your life?
You already have plenty of ammunition for this mindset shift. I promise! That's what suggestion #5 below directly addresses. But first, consider these other suggestions for how to manage imposter syndrome and start turning your so-called flaws into features.
1. Embrace Vulnerability:
Imposter syndrome often stems from the fear of being exposed as a fraud. You'll only further inflame those fraudulent feelings by lying about them. Instead, choose the correct people to be vulnerable with about your feelings. Let your partner/kids/audience see your authentic self - doubts, goals, hopes, values. Vulnerability can connect you more deeply with others and make you more relatable, while taking some of the power away from your imposter feelings.
2. Use Imposter Feelings as Creative Fuel:
Imposter syndrome can serve as a well of emotions that can fuel your creativity in art and in life. Again, expressing feelings of doubt and insecurity helps deflate their power over you. You can do this through art, music, poetry, or storytelling. Any outward expression of your doubts and insecurities will be freeing, as well as become a tool for healing and progress.
3. Turn Mistakes into (Creative or Life) Art:
Artists often incorporate imperfections and mistakes into their work. Instead of seeing your doubts as liabilities, consider them unique qualities that shape your style. This is what I talked about above. Embrace your past imperfections as the battle scars of things you've learned from and that make you wiser and even more worthy of respect than before you made the mistakes.
4. Connect with a Community:
Connect with your peeps - ones who get you and create a mutually supportive environment. If these people aren't already in your life, go out and find them. Open mics. Book clubs. Cooking classes. Self-improvement workshops. Consider looking for Meetups near you. Interacting with likeminded people and sharing your journey can be empowering and imposter-thwarting for both you and those around you.
5. Shift Your Mindset:
This is probably the most important suggestion of all, which is why it's last on the list. I want it to linger in your mind. It's the same lesson I learned in those early vocal coaching years. It's time to stop looking at others to assess all the skills, knowledge, and experience they possess but you lack, and time to start noticing the skills, knowledge, and experience that you possess, but they lack.
Your past mistakes add the most value to what you can offer the world. Don't hide them in shame. Flaunt them like an IV league education.
I hope that reading this article has already created a mindset shift in you. You deserve to love yourself, like yourself, forgive yourself, and believe in yourself!
If you'd like help learning how to manage imposter syndrome, use this button to check out my coaching page (with two 15% off offers). Either way, I wish you success turning your "flaws" into features!