How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing aFree People Feeling Groovy Maxi Dress

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Last week, I got offered a collaboration with a dream brand. I was over the moon: this brand is a major retailer that I’ve been shopping at for the past 20+ years, and I’m even a cardholder at said retailer. You’ve seen me organically mention them dozens of times over the past couple of years, and I’m so excited to finally have the opportunity to work with them. I’ve had several “pinch-me” moments throughout my blogging career, but this brand is special to me!

A few hours after I landed my dream collab? I was curled up in a fetal position, bawling my eyes out, feeling like an absolute failure. Instead of being proud of myself for all the “dream collabs” I’ve landed to date, I picked myself apart and felt like a fraud. As if I didn’t deserve any of the projects that I’ve landed to date.

Once I started venting to Tom, he told me that sometimes he struggles with imposter syndrome, as well.
 
How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a Free People Feeling Groovy Maxi Dress

Hmm. Imposter syndrome. What the heck was that, I asked? I googled it and quickly realized: wow, that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now. And after I chatted with you guys on IG Stories last week about it, I realized that a lot of you guys have a bit of imposter syndrome as well.

I never expected to own my own business in my 20s. I started my blog before the term “influencer’ was even coined: I launched it as a way to share my budget-friendly fashion finds in college after I interned in the fashion industry in NYC. Back in 2011, blogging was easy, I didn’t feel any pressure, and I truly just did it for fun. Heck, I never even imagined that I could go full-time with blogging either. The only reason why I took that leap of faith is that I got laid off from my last job (with a generous severance payment) – and I gave it my all and made it work.

Blogging wasn’t a skill that I learned in college. I never envisioned this being my career, but I’m thankful that I took the risk. I earn 3x as much now with my blog than I did when I was working my last 9-5, spoken at conferences, and worked with some incredible brands over the years. On paper, I look like a successful influencer.

But for some reason, I constantly feel that I fell into this career by accident and that I might not deserve any of this success.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a Free People Feeling Groovy Maxi Dress

To be candid, I’ve been inconsistent with posting here lately because I’ve let this self-doubt overcome me. Sometimes when a photoshoot doesn’t turn out the way I want to, or if I don’t get the engagement that I’m hoping for on a post, I beat myself up about it. Trust me, I’ve logged into my WordPress editor almost every day, and have struggled to compose a blog post for weeks. Heck, I’ve even cried/had a few panic attacks lately because of it.

Imposter syndrome “refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be.”

And guess who this affects the most? High-achieving women.

I always knew that I was a bit of a perfectionist and was my own worst critic, but I didn’t realize how bad it’s gotten over the last few months. I knew my anxiety has been through the roof lately: I would shoot and re-shoot project, never be satisfied with my own work, and lie awake at night agonizing over projects.

And honestly? I just needed a break. Hence the inconsistent blog posts lately. I’ve been overanalyzing my work for the sponsored clients that I’ve had lately, that I’ve been feeling uninspired and incapable of producing my own work.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome, featured by top US lifestyle blogger, Alicia Tenise: image of a woman wearing a Free People Feeling Groovy Maxi Dress

If you’re also going through this, know that you’re not alone. I’ve taken a small break here for my mental health, and I finally had an entire weekend alone to think and reflect – I haven’t had time for myself in weeks. Here are a few mantras that are helping me get through the week.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Useful Mantras

  • Your work doesn’t have to be perfect in order for people to like you. Heck, some of you guys have followed my blog since the beginning…and my work was a hot mess then. Yes, you’re going to nitpick your own work and performance, but give yourself some grace.
     
  • Remind yourself what your strengths are. The influencer industry is super oversaturated, and sometimes another blogger’s success can make me feel like crap. I’m human, what can I say? Sometimes, it’s best to put down your phone, step away from social media, and remind yourself of your own strengths and capabilities. There’s a reason why you’re successful, and there’s no real reason to doubt yourself.
     
  • Vent if you need to. Sometimes, you need a good cry. Honestly, bottling up your emotions is worse than just letting them out in my experience. Talk to a friend, a loved one, or a therapist if you’re feeling some sort of way. I can guarantee you that 99.9% of the time, your thoughts and criticisms are entirely irrational, and your people can get you in check.

If you read through this – thank you (this post got real long real quick!). If you’re also struggling with imposter syndrome and you ever need someone to talk to, shoot me an email or DM. I might not have all the answers, but I’m here for you. And, if this was tl;dr and you’re just here for the outfit and the photos, that’s also fine too. I’m hoping that I’m finally over this rough patch and can resume blogging as usual from now on.

Photos by Tom McGovern