• Catherine Goncalves

Imposter Syndrome

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

Story time!

I was fortunate enough to attend an arts high school but not fortunate enough to escape the inevitable criticism that comes from wanting to pursue a creative career. So like the good student I tried to be I overloaded on courses to "make up" for the fact I was "wasting" electives on art credits in school. This led to me pursuing a degree in Health Science in post secondary education where I wasn't exactly unhappy, but that wasn't the same as feeling fulfilled.

That all changed when I had my first showcase, and as photography became more and more addicting, so did the doubts, insecurities and imposter syndrome.

As someone who is self taught, and has spent the majority of her life in business and science, photography was a complete 180* change in direction, but it was the first time in my life I was excited about getting closer to the destination, and the journey I would have in store.

So what exactly is this ominous imposter syndrome I'm dealing with?

It’s the feeling that I'm not and will never be "enough", that there are countless people out there who will be better and know more, and that I will be criticized for everything I put out. The root of imposter syndrome is that your work as a creative isn't worth anything because other individuals might not like it.

And while this is something I struggle with almost on a daily bases. I hold on to a couple of things to ease the tension I feel.

1. Not everyone will like what I do- and that makes me cherish those who do.

Not everyone will like the work I produce, the lifestyle I live, or give me a high five even when they do. This just makes me appreciate the people who do support me that much more. Fixating on criticism stunts growth, and I'd rather use that energy in a productive way.

2. Embrace the process.

I'm constantly amazed at myself (and slightly cringe) when I go through my archives to see old images I've captured and edited. I can distinctly remember a point in time where I believed that to be my best work, and now wouldn't ever let it see the light of day (okay a little dramatic, but you get the point). As intimidating as it may be to put work out there, when there is a stadium full of people out there who know more than I do, and are infinitely more talented than I am, I'm absolutely more terrified of ending back where I was 4 years ago on a "safer" path. And when I think about it, the people I look up were once (metaphorically) in my shoes, and probably still face the same insecurities.

There isn't creative friend I've confided in who hasn't felt the same way at a point in their life, but I have so much respect for people who push through the voice in their head and create beautiful work - if only for themselves or for the world to share.