Impostor Syndrome seems to be a popular topic lately, and as someone who embarked on a completely new career after more than two decades in a different field, I can certainly relate to it. Switching gears so dramatically naturally brings about those nagging feelings of self-doubt and makes you question your abilities. It’s like a persistent voice in your head whispering, “Do you really know what you’re doing?”
When I first started freelancing, I agonised over every single thing, every word I wrote, every post I made, and every full stop I typed. I began to get frustrated with myself. I couldn’t help but compare this struggle with my previous career and wonder why I hadn’t faced this issue before. That’s when it hit me—I’ve always grappled with Impostor Syndrome.
Back in my previous job, I remember the anxiety before meetings, the fear of asking clients for specific documents, and the worry that my submitted work might be completely wrong. It wasn’t a daily occurrence, but it did happen from time to time. And you know what? Not only did I survive those moments, but I also excelled in my role.
Impostor Syndrome doesn’t discriminate. I recently watched a TV program about the RAF, and even a pilot climbing into a fighter jet mentioned experiencing Impostor Syndrome. When you consider the high-stakes nature of their work, my concerns about making a small mistake in a meeting or process suddenly seemed trivial.
But now, the work I do doesn’t just represent someone else and their business; it represents me and my own business. So, getting it right feels more important than ever.
When I completed my first copywriting job, I was absolutely terrified of making mistakes. I lost sleep, endlessly edited and rewrote, and even considered giving up because I didn’t feel good enough. But then, after much procrastination over the first draft, I decided to take a deep breath and hit “send” (with my eyes closed, I admit).
As I anxiously awaited my client’s response, I reflected on the effort I had put into that piece. I meticulously followed the brief, generated numerous drafts, and revisited the final version multiple times. I reminded myself that the first draft was just that—a draft. Feedback isn’t criticism, and my job was to translate the client’s vision into words.
As it turned out, the client was pleased with my initial draft, and they had a few additional ideas to incorporate that weren’t in the original brief. After a few minor adjustments, I had successfully completed my first copywriting job.
This knowledge has given me the confidence I needed: the ability to challenge that critical inner voice known as Impostor Syndrome.