Imposter Syndrome Traits and Solutions

Here is the information from the results page of your imposter syndrome quiz. Bookmark this page so you can return to it at your leisure!

You Are a Perfectionist.

Singers (and people in general) with an “imposter” inside them often over-prepare and fret over the smallest details in an unending effort to eliminate the inadequacies they believe others will detect in their singing and performances. Since performance skills can only be improved by performing, these singers often stunt their own growth by waiting to perform until they feel "perfect," which they never feel. 

Solution: Make it a habit to share your singing progress, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. An easy and readily available way to do this is to go to karaoke nights with friends who understand your fears and will cheer you on. In doing this, you will begin to desensitize yourself to the idea of being imperfect and your friends will help you begin to better recognize your strengths. Oh, and you'll get better at performance, too!

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares: “I am a proud imperfectionist.”

You Compare Yourself to Others (& Rarely Measure Up).

Inner "imposters" like to point out all the ways others have better skills, experiences, and/or attributes than you. Undervaluing your own unique offering in this way can stop you from sharing your voice and songs, from adding your valuable creative input to musical projects, and from just being true to yourself and who you are.

Solution: Instead of noticing what others possess that you lack, start noticing what you possess that they lack. Wear your differences as a badge of honor. This is where your power and value lie.

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares:  “My differences are features not flaws.”

You Beat Yourself Up Over Past Mistakes.

For people constantly battling an inner "imposter," the tiniest of mistakes can feel like confirmation that you are, in fact, a fraud. This can tear a singer down over time and undermine your sense of worthiness, your appetite for stretching yourself, and your ability to perform to your fullest.

Solution: Since all success comes about through trial and error, recognize that all mistakes are in reality a sign of progress - because you can only make mistakes if you're in the game. When we refer to someone as being talented and experienced, what we're really saying is, "that person has made a ton of mistakes and learned to be better because of them."

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares:  “There is no mastery without mistakes.”

You Pass Up Great Opportunities Because You Fear You Won’t Rise to the Occasion.

An inner imposter lives in constant fear of being discovered as a fraud, which can cause you to avoid any situation where the truth of your so-called fraudulent nature could be discovered. This will hold you back and rob you of potential fun and future greatness. Just imagine if the next time a musician friend invites you to sit in with her band you go and do it instead of making up an excuse not to!

Solution: Take power away from your inner imposter by having a support system of one or several people with whom you can be honest about your imposter feelings, and who can remind you to stay on course with opportunities that will benefit you (and of course, say "no" to the ones that won't).

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares: “Think of all the things that could go right!”

When Others Compliment Your Successes, You Believe They Are Lying or Just Don't Know Better.

Since singers with an “imposter” inside believe themselves to be frauds, they can’t fathom deserving accolades for their work. This is not a case of feigned modesty but a genuine belief that they are not responsible for what goes well (but ALWAYS responsible for what doesn’t). If you're focused on all the ways you don't measure up as you perform, it's difficult to believe that others aren't also focused on the same. 

Solution: It's time to practice taking credit for what you do. Even if the voice in your head tells you to respond to a compliment by deflecting it, you have to practice ignoring that inner advice and just saying "thank you!"

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares:  “I did that!”

You Aim Low.

 “Imposters” often expect to fail or displease others. Therefore, they aim low (or don’t try at all) to avoid any bumps in the road that would confirm their worst fears about themselves.

Solution: Learn to expect success.When you expect failure, any bumps in the road feel like confirmation of that failure. When you expect success and you meet a bump in the road, your only thought is about how to get around it to reach that pot of gold you're heading toward.

A useful mantra to repeat when the 'imposter" flares:  “This challenge provides new data for my inevitable success.”

You Have a Secret Shame.

Many "imposters" have some event in their past - something that feels huge and symbolic of the worst of their fraudulent nature. I'll tell you mine. One professor gave me an F for my final graduate recital. I still passed and got my master's, but that F haunted me for years. I couldn't think of it without hating myself, and every time someone remarked about my degree, a little voice in my head said, "Yeah, but she got an F!" I told no one about it for decades because I was ashamed and afraid it would make them realize I didn't deserve to call myself a musician or teacher. Do you have something like this in your past? If so...

Solution: Out your secret shame. Start with someone safe you trust and after you realize that it doesn't change that person's opinion of you at all, out it to others. Wear it as a badge of honor. I didn't lose a single friend or client because of that F all those years ago. But I lost the weight of unnecessarily hiding that shame, and I gained valuable insight which I can now share with you because of it. Free yourself!

A useful mantra to repeat when the "imposter" flares: "This will no longer control me!"

Practicing Is Sometimes Disheartening

Some people are fortunate enough to be able to develop a great singing voice at a young age. Good on them! But when those people become vocal coaches or YouTube influencers, they don't necessarily know how to help us mere mortals catch up. And they often don't understand how to help someone with imposter syndrome because they've never struggled with it themselves. If you don't have the right kind of encouragement from someone who can anticipate the negative inner voice of your "imposter," practicing can become another way our "imposters" beat us down.

Solution 1: Find a new vocal coach or singing "guru." We get attached to our teachers and don't want to hurt or disrespect them by leaving. But if you're learning from someone who doesn't understand and address your inner battles, you are compromising yourself and your needs. You can always check out my YouTube channel.

Solution 2: Become a Singer-Athlete Member. Membership is designed for mere mortals (like me) who want to become great singers but need feedback and encouragement along the way. It's all about building muscles and motor skills with support, patience, and self-belief.

A useful mantra to repeat when the "imposter" flares: "Doing something poorly is the first step to doing it great."