Ep. 9 Imposter Syndrome as a Designer and my tips for overcoming it.

Ep. 9 Imposter Syndrome & my tips for overcoming it.


Speaker 1: (00:07)
Welcome to the elevate with eCommerce podcast, a fun and informative conversation for freelance designers, just like you, who are specializing in, or have always wanted to offer Shopify website design as a service. I’m your host, April a freelance graphic designer, successful e-commerce entrepreneur and Shopify expert. I’m here to share with you over six years of tips, tricks wins, and the many lessons learned along the way when it comes to being a freelance designer, entrepreneur, and building Shopify stores for your clients. All right. Let’s with the show. 

Speaker 1: (00:44)
Hello, and welcome to episode nine. In this episode, I have no notes written, which I normally do, and it’s just kind of a topic that I wanna go over because I had a fair bit of feedback from a poster that I did on Instagram this week as well. And I kind of just wanna touch on touch this a little bit, and I don’t wanna go down the rabbit hole of mental health and things, because I think that a lot of that is covered, but I just kind of wanna use this episode to document my feelings before in the middle and after this kind of thing that happened during the week, so that hopefully you might be able to take something away from it and read, recognize perhaps your behaviors and things around when you have a have a pretty day. So this isn’t a podcast to complain about my life or anything like that. 

Speaker 1: (01:34)
It’s really, I, I learn a lot out of this experience and of course, as always, I try and take, uh, the scenario or a, you know, a challenge or something like that that I’m faced with, especially in business, cuz this does relate to business. It’s not just necessarily in my personal life, but I wanna take those things and transform them into something that can potentially help you guys, especially if you’re a designer. So I wanna start with recognizing fact that we can really, first of all, take things personally, I truly believe, and I don’t know if this is backed by research, but I truly believe that creatives are a lot more emotional and feel things a lot more. So then in turn, we, we, we, I don’t know. I don’t know. I, I see a link between people who are really emotional and people who are I and things like that and feel emotion quite deeply and being creative. 

Speaker 1: (02:28)
I have no idea if they’re linked, but it feels that way just from my own experience. Um, my mom who is super creative is also very similar to me. Very emotional look, it could just be, and please don’t, don’t hate me for saying this, but maybe because the majority of us designers, we are females, so we, we feel things a lot more anyway. It’s just the way that we are anyway. So moving sort of forward, I guess, and obviously this is a podcast for designers and I know I’m going off on a little bit of a tangent here because I’m supposed to be talking about eCommerce and Shopify, yada yada. But I think there is, it’s a good platform to be able to discuss this and hopefully you guys resonate. So when it comes to being sensitive and creative, there are times as designers where we can feel imposter syndrome. 

Speaker 1: (03:15)
And I know it’s kind of like this word that talked about, and I wanna just sort of give some meaning to it so that you might be able to relate when, when you hear imposter syndrome and I’ve, you know, I’ve heard it a lot lately, uh, probably for the, like the last six or 12 months of people talking about imposter syndrome, where you sort of overcome with this feeling of the not good enough, the questioning yourself and doubting yourself and your abilities. Then also mixed with looking at other, you know, your Instagram feeds or other designers work, yada yada, and, and these things then mirror a back and reflect to you the way that you kind of feel about yourself. And I don’t know if that resonates with you, but that’s how it makes me feel. And most of the time, the way that I tackle imposter syndrome is I really try and stay in my own lane. 

Speaker 1: (04:16)
I try not to get caught up in the new shiny thing because I used to, I used to be really bad for that. And anyone that’s followed me for a long time will be able to see, I have rebranded quite a few times. I have taken a few different approaches to my sort of style and I have yoed between trends and sticking with my own style. And I feel like the last, probably 12 months I’ve really locked down who I am as a designer and where it’s come from, and this is gonna be another podcast and a whole nother episode that has stemmed from me getting to know who my audience is. And instead of focusing on the things I want, I focus first and foremost on what I feel will bring my audience the most value. So that’s kind of tip number one, and this wasn’t really like a tips kind of episode, but that would be my number one tip. 

Speaker 1: (05:13)
If you are suffering from imposter syndrome, sit with it and recognize the behaviors that have led to that. So are you comparing, are you just finding yourself comparing, are you looking at the new shiny thing and wanting to do that? You, you know, you get that, that feeling of, oh, well my stuff’s now not good enough because that new font fonts come out and I really love that. That’s it I’m gonna rebrand. Um, a lot of the time, your stuff, your designs, your anything that you put on Instagram, it shouldn’t be about you and not, not in terms of the content, but it shouldn’t be the, the value shouldn’t be brought about just for you and to tick that box that you’ve done that new design or you’ve used a new font or anything like that, you should be bringing value to the people that are looking at, you know, your audience is, is what I’m trying to say. 

Speaker 1: (06:04)
Okay. So circling back, that’s sort of the way that I deal with imposter syndrome. Um, I try and stay in my own lane. I’m really clear on who my audience is and I can have an appreciation now of when I look on Instagram, my mindset, I try to have, I guess, geared towards looking at things and appreciating them. And then still reminding myself that I’m still so happy with the things that I’m producing or I’m happy with my brand. I’m happy with the way my website is. I need to be able to see my own value and then appreciate someone else’s value that they’re bringing to their own audience. Because you have to remember people who are doing really well at Instagram or who look like they’re doing really well, that they have their own niche audience. Don’t, don’t be tempted with the newest shiniest thing to, you know, deliver to your audience because the person that you are being inspired by their audience could be completely different. 

Speaker 1: (07:03)
So what you’re doing is you’re confusing your own audience. They’re looking at you. There’s a reason why they follow you. Um, and potentially not someone else because they like the things that you do. They like your style. And if you’re chopping and changing all the time, and I’m a Testament to this because I’ve done it for a very long is, um, you, you confuse your audience and therefore they, the lack of consistency will cause them to feel super confused and probably go, you know, look elsewhere or not be as inspired because they’re confused. Okay. So that’s imposter syndrome kind of wrapped up in a nutshell. So for me this week, I saw something on Instagram and I’m not gonna talk about what it is, cuz it’s not really relevant and it’s not nasty. It wasn’t anything, it wasn’t a comment or anything. It was just someone else’s stuff. 

Speaker 1: (07:50)
And honestly, it, the moment that I saw it, I went into complete anxiety mode. It was insane. I’ve, I’ve only experienced that a couple of times in my life where I, and it honestly, this whole experience I was sitting in the car and we were my partner and I, we were driving to Brisbane and I’ve seen it. And I put down my phone and I have just put my head in my hands. Um, metaphorically, I didn’t actually do this, but I put my head in my hands and I, it made it washed over me. I could feel it washing over me this horrible feeling of doubt and questioning like absolutely everything. This one post made me question everything. And so I spent the day trying to process this, trying to understand why I was feeling that way. 

Speaker 1: (08:42)
And I had to really get clear to myself about the value that I bring to my audience and not to compare because the moment that I started comparing everything, fell apart, everything that I believed in of myself and the value that I bring through, especially my Shopify course, then, you know, I’ve got an, a couple of other things. I’ve got my digital template shop that I’ve just created. And then obviously the work that I do as a designer, it ma it made me C every everything, even, uh, how I feel about myself. It just started to make me it, it started to eat away at me and I hated it. So from here, I had a really not, not a great day and my partner skinny, his skinny season nickname, he poor thing. Like it was not, it was not great. I, we were in Brisbane, we were going, we are moving back to Brisbane. 

Speaker 1: (09:39)
So we were trying to organize logistics for moving back. We were meeting people, we were going to apartments. Like it was just, yeah, it was frustrating. And all the while I can’t make decisions in this state because I’m so anxious. I’m so consumed with all of the things that I’m trying to process that I just felt frozen and paralyzed whilst still trying to maintain, you know, a conversation with people that I hadn’t met before. And with skinny, like he’s worried about me. He can clearly see, like I’m having physical signs of panic attack, anxiety type situations. So all the while I’m just trying to process all of my thoughts, cuz they were just sort of very overwhelming. So we got home and this is the point of this whole podcast episode is that I now know what I’m like. I’m really aware of my behaviors around when I’m feeling really vulnerable like this and not coping in, in a, in this kind of mental state. 

Speaker 1: (10:44)
So for me, I knew even in this state I needed to kind of call on my toolkit. I kind of, I suppose I could call it. I haven’t really called it that before, but that’s the best way to describe it. And for me, me that is being out in nature, listening to like really calming kind of meditation music and being around basle my dog. He is, he’s just the most soothing thing that I can have around me. And he always, always has been because he’s been through a lot with me. So I knew that for me to be able to get out of this funk and utilize this, uh, this thing that I’m going through right now, this doubt, you know, funk that I was in, I, I needed to utilize my, my toolkit. So I got off, I, I got off my computer when I got home. 

Speaker 1: (11:36)
I just, I went, no, I need to do something about this. So I got off my computer, I put my runners on, we went for a walk and where I live, I have a really beautiful spot that I can go and just sit and no one’s gonna bother me. And I just put on my music and I just sat and I sat with how I was feeling and it was amazing the moment that I just sat with it, I listened to this music and I allowed all of the thoughts to come through. I started realizing why I was feeling this way, that I was just, I was comparing, I was forgetting, this is the kicker. I was completely forgetting the value that I’ve already brought to my students, to my clients to kind of, even, even like you guys who are, who are listening to the podcast or my audience on Instagram, et cetera, et cetera, like wherever I’m sort of injecting value, you know, daily out into the world. 

Speaker 1: (12:31)
I, and the fact is I can’t be every thing for everyone, but the, the value that I am bringing to particular people is, is worthy. I’m worthy. And that was a big kind of resonating word that kept come kept coming up in, in my thoughts. And from here I had a massive cry, which just led out all of this emotion. I wasn’t down. I wasn’t sad. I just needed to release. And the moment that I did that, I felt so much better. I come home and sat down with a and I just come up with a plan. I realized that all it did was reflect back to me, the areas of my, a business that I could be doing better, where I feel I’m a bit vulnerable where I, there are things that I don’t know that I don’t know, but these experiences let me know, okay, this is where I need to get better. 

Speaker 1: (13:31)
This is what I need to refine if I’m feeling vulnerable or if, if I’ve have seen one thing on Instagram that makes me think, oh, my stuff’s not that good. It’s not that it’s not good. It’s just that perhaps I’m being called to level it up a bit to inject a bit more into it. So it, honestly, this one thing that kind of affected my day, it affected my mental state. It got me down, it got me doubting my business and everything. I turned it from a breakdown to a breakthrough. And I know that sounds really cheesy, but it’s the only thing to be able to explain it. And that’s why I am talking about this experience on the podcast is because it was really funny. I, when I, I did a post, um, yesterday about it and it was just, just a simple post of, of me and bale. 

Speaker 1: (14:28)
And I had said that I’m having a day and it’s not great, but I’m gonna use this to my advantage and or something along those lines. Um, I’m, you know, if anyone else is having a day, I’m just, I’m here to be a soundboard. And I had one lady write back to me. It was really lovely. And she said, um, something along the lines of, for some, you know, you come across so confident and it’s really lovely to see that, um, I’m not alone in, in having a bad day too. So all the while perhaps I’m coming across as like really confident and bubbly all the time. And I still have days, like, especially with doubt. So I want to remind you you of a couple of things. So first of all, imposter syndrome, there is a really way, good way to tackle it. 

Speaker 1: (15:18)
And it’s to be really sure on who you are, who your audience is, and then understand your behaviors that lead you to feeling imposter syndrome and then coming up with ways of either curbing that behavior or recognizing it. So for example, for me, you know, on Instagram, I can get into this loop of going to, you know, looking on Instagram and going, having that feeling of like FOMO almost. It’s not jealousy because I, I, I don’t, I don’t feel like, oh, I don’t want them to have that. I want it. It’s more of a like, oh, oh, I want that too. I, I love that design. I wanna do that as well. Like I’m happy for those people, but I also want, it’s this feeling of like FOMO envy kind of kind of vibes, right? So the moment that I feel that if I’m sitting on my phone and I’m scrolling on Instagram and I have that feeling, I’m like, no, rephrase that two. 

Speaker 1: (16:14)
I’m so grateful. And I’m so happy for that person. First of all, I’m grateful to be able to look at this design because it’s beautiful. I appreciate it. I show gratitude for it. And then I remind myself that there is someone out there looking at my stuff and feeling the same way. And that, I don’t know if that’s a healthy way of validating myself, but remind yourself that you are worthy. You are good enough. And what you bring to the table for your audience is just as valid as what other people are doing. And how do I explain this? If you go and like copy or want to take someone’s style or whatever, you’ve sort of seen that made you feel about FOMO and try and overcome that feeling of FOMO by going and doing the thing, or like rebranding to look a certain way. 

Speaker 1: (17:08)
Because some person with like 24,000 followers who everyone follows has, has the same style. Don’t, don’t, don’t do it find your own style because what it does is it’s super transparent. Um, I guess what you’re trying to achieve. And first of all, you won’t, you won’t feel happy by the end of it because it’s not, you, it’s not authentically you and you’ll continue to feel imposter syndrome cuz you haven’t nipped it in the butt. And, and the way that you do that is be by being really true to who you are, find your own style. And that can take time. Like I am guilty of all of these things that I’m talking about. It has taken me so long to find my own, my own style, to be able to sit in that space and be proud of it. It does take time and yes, you do have to go through sort of, for me, it was going through phases and trying things and experimenting. 

Speaker 1: (18:06)
And sometimes yeah, sometimes I UN recognizing I’ve gone and, you know, seen something that I’ve loved. And I wouldn’t say, I wouldn’t say copied, but definitely use things for inspiration where I probably shouldn’t have, um, I’m the first to admit that. Um, and it’s because I was, there was this weakness within me that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure I was self-conscious of my own abilities. I tried to cover that up and all it does, is it waters down anything that does come through authentically when you’re doing that, when you’re like trying to mask your own insecurities about who you are or not knowing who you are or that you’re not good enough and all this sort of stuff, throw it out the window, get, stay in your own lane and get super clear on who you are even get your own brand guidelines that you might use for your client and sit down and do them for yourself and then stick to it and have the discipline so that when you are faced with, when you are in your weak moment and you feel imposter syndrome come up, you that FOMO, you can kick it in the and you can say, no, I know who I am. 

Speaker 1: (19:15)
I’m sure of who I am. And there’s a reason why my clients book me and it’s because of this. It’s because I’m authentic. I know who I am and I’m really good at what I do. Okay. So that’s my rant about imposter syndrome. Second of all, if you know that you have these moments where you be quite vulnerable and anxiety can come up behind you or it can be lots of different things. And, and as I said, as creatives, it can be hard. We compare ourselves, we can doubt we can have a, you know, a client that gives us bad feedback or anything like that. Um, even in your personal life, you know, for me, I’ve, I’ve have had a hard time with mental health before, uh, I’ve posted about it kind of like publicly on my page to hopefully inspire someone, to be able to, you know, reach out for help or those things. 

Speaker 1: (20:04)
Um, but have a toolkit, have a toolkit and know the things that will help you kind of process these challenging times where you haven’t experienced that, that rattles you a little bit. That’s all I can kind of say about using the, the, the things that you have that, you know, will make you feel a little bit better or break you out of that funk. And then thirdly is try and see any of these challenges. And I even, I, I know that I have this thought this week when, when I was in that really spot and I’m sitting there like tapping, like I tap on my hand when I’m really, really anxious, um, to like use up this energy that I’m feeling because I’m sitting in like this parasympathetic, um, sorry, sympathetic, like nervous system approach, a fight or flight, like I’m trying to avoid feeling this way. 

Speaker 1: (20:55)
And all I wanna do is just run home and curl up in bed and not talk to anyone and not deal even while I’m sitting in this state. I’m I know I’m well seasoned in having, I mean, these times happen where I just look at it and go, you know what? This is, this is really challenging me. This is challenging my character, my emotions, everything, but I know there’s a breakthrough coming. So I allow it. I don’t try and push it away or pretend I’m okay. Or, I mean, I, I did, I’m an, uh, in Brisbane just to try and cope and, and I guess resolve and work out the things that we need to do. I needed an adult, I suppose you could say, but I knew that there was, I was gonna have my chill time where I could work through what I needed to work through. 

Speaker 1: (21:40)
And since then I’ve had some huge breakthroughs, like huge. I got off my, but, and I finally hire a VA, which I’ve been meaning to do for so long. And I’ve, I’ve been needing to, because I’ve been doing 12 hour days in all of the different forts of my business. And it’s just, it’s not working, no wonder I’m feeling so vulnerable at the moment because I’m, I’m exhausted. I had a massive breakthrough with my course at elevate with eCommerce. So it’s a Shopify course for designers teaching them how to design Shopify websites for their clients. So I had a massive breakthrough with that. It’s having an overhaul next month before it goes live again in may, it’s having an overhaul. My current students will be able to have access to all of the, the newness that it’s coming. And I’ve, it’s honestly, these times reflect back to me, uh, what I already bring to the table and how I can become better. 

Speaker 1: (22:41)
So instead of me seeing it and feeling vulnerable and curling up and not wanting to deal, I face it and go, okay, how can I be better from this experience? And it, honestly, it has, it’s made me have some really cool breakthroughs. So with, yeah, with Shopify, with the way that I have my digital products set up, all of the things I’ve, I’ve reflected in everything and it’s allowed me to level up. And without that experience, I wouldn’t have had this. And I was feeling a little bit stagnant and directionless with a few things in my business. So that’s what I wanna leave you with is those three things, how to overcome imposter syndrome, what it is, how it can affect you and understanding your own behavior, your thoughts, your processes, so that you can have a toolkit to be able to overcome it, put yourself back in a sort of better mindset and also take advantage of the challenge and learn from these experiences that come up and transform them from something that sort of really consumed you into something that you now look back on and are grateful for. 

Speaker 1: (23:48)
Just like me. I’m really grateful that this happened because it’s allowed me to see things that I might not necessarily have seen in my business without it happening. So I’m gonna leave you with those thoughts. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode. If you have be sure to rate and subscribe, and I’ll be the, with another episode, bye. If you’ve enjoyed the episode, be sure to hit subscribe and gimme a five star rating. That would be amazing. And we’ll put a big smile on my dial. If you wanna follow along on Instagram, the handle is by April co until next time. Happy designing. Bye.

This was transcribe by AI. Please disregard any spelling or grammatical errors.