We’re All Frauds, and That’s Okay

Photo Credit: Flickr, Alan Cleaver

We’ve all been there. You’re talking to someone, maybe a friend or coworker, or even applying for some sort of job, and behind your smile, you’re terrified that they’ll see straight through you and realize that you’re not only in over your head, you’re drowning.

It’s like there is a flashing neon sign hanging over your head, screaming, “This person is a faker! They’re not really a marine biologist / empress of Canada!” while flashing every alert and waving every red flag ever conceived.

And that’s okay. It’s called imposter syndrome, and it’s a normal part of the creative process.

Unless you’re deliberately trying to take advantage of or harm the person, in which case, let me just say this:

NO! BAD DOG! *hits you with a comically large rolled-up phone book*

Side note: Phone books were thick paper volumes of names and telephone numbers in the days before contact lists, cell phones, and fancy coffee. Ask your parents.

But if all you’re doing is trying to present the best version of yourself, feeling like you’re a fraud, while totally normal and understandable, is your inner bully trying to shake you down for lunch money. Only in this metaphor, the lunch money is your confidence and potential success, and your inner bully is a big ball of imposter syndrome made up of all the little fears, doubts, and insecurities swirling around your subconscious.

But the good thing about this bully is that he can’t punch us in the nose or dump us in a garbage can if we choose to ignore his taunting. The only one who can hurt us is ourselves, by listening to him and believing him when he says that we’re not the marine empress of biology and never will be, so don’t bother even trying.

And you know what? Just because you’re not an artist or writer or programmer or empress of Canada right now, it doesn’t mean that it’s out of your reach forever.

Yeah, you’re a fraud. So am I. But that shouldn’t stop you from fighting for your dreams or becoming who you want to be. So, straighten your tiara, dump in the ocean, write some words, or take whatever the next step is between where you are now and where you want to be.

I’ll be right behind you, just as soon as I figure out what to do with this phone book I have left over from 1993.

Have you ever felt like a fraud? If so, what did you do to overcome it? Leave a note in the comments below, and thanks for reading!