As a multipotentialite, you’re bound to experience impostor syndrome from time to time. With multiple interests, a variety of passions, and a whole bunch of creative pursuits on the go, you’re going feel like a fraud sometimes. As if you’ve got it all wrong and that any day now you will be exposed as an outsider, as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
If you’re anything like me, you may have even experienced impostor syndrome here on Puttylike.
“I’m surrounded by Renaissance people – genuine and inspiring multipotentialites. They will see before long that I’m just flakey and scared of commitment. I’m out of my depth and don’t deserve to be associated with the same label as all of these amazing people.”
Ever had a thought like this? You’re not alone. The truth is we are all learning and we’re all different.
It’s natural to feel like you’re stuck on the outside, especially when you’re responding to your own interests, desires, and passions. It takes great courage to start something new and begin following a path that no one besides your own natural curiosity invited you to take.
“I shouldn’t be here!”
I was recently involved in putting together a series of short animated films for a project that a non-profit organisation was experimenting with. It started small, low key, and with a limited budget and a local focus. It was the perfect place for me to play with the curiosity I had for extending this part of my creative portfolio.
But over the past two years something scary has happened. The project has been gathering great momentum. It has been rolled out nationally as a flagship program, and is already being nominated for national awards.
As someone who does not consider himself particularly well-versed in the world of animation, the impostor reflex has been kicking in like mad: “Help! I shouldn’t be here! I don’t know what I’m doing!”
This is what it means to be a multipotentialite
But for multipotentialites, this kind of experience is what breathes life into our days. It’s what brings us growth and the meaningful variety we long for. We learn by embracing our curiosity, not by waiting until we’re ready.
This growth happens when we say “yes” to opportunities because we feel deeply compelled to do so, not because we think we “should” or because we know how or what we are doing. So, of course we’re going to experience impostor syndrome from time to time.
“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt” – Bertrand Russell
It is your humility and those very moments of doubt that enable you to learn new skills and succeed in finding the variety and meaning that your multipotentialite core so desperately craves.
An impostor is “a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.” You are not an impostor. The fact that you worry that you are one shows that you are not. You are genuine.
How to deal with fear
So what do you do with these very real moments of doubt and fear? How do you feel impostor syndrome and continue despite it? Here are three challenges to consider during those times when you feel like an impostor:
1. Declare what you are
You’re a multipotentialite. Now what? Embrace what you are, so that you can move onto the important parts.
One of Jeff Goins’ first books was called You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One). It’s based on the premise that you become the thing you want to be (a writer, a filmmaker, a scientist, etc.), not through some exclusive ritual but by a switch in your mindset and by declaring yourself to be that thing.
In response to Jeff’s question, “how do you know when you’re a writer?”, Steven Pressfield said, “you are a writer when you say you are.”
What do you need to declare yourself to be? Start with accepting some truth about who you are and what you dream of doing. Maybe you need to simply embrace the identity of multipotentiality.
You’re not an aspiring multipotentialite. You don’t dream of being one. You ARE a multipotentialite. Now, how are you going to use that truth to make a difference in the world?
2. Forget us versus them
Impostor syndrome can emerge when you see a community, scene, or industry as a static entity, because you see yourself as either a part of the tribe or an outsider.
When I walk into a room full of strangers, my initial and automatic assumption is that everyone knows one another and that they have always been there together. Here I come, an intruder, stepping into the situation as an outsider.
Obviously when I step back and think about it, I realize this is an irrational and ridiculous train of thought. But it is also the way many of us subconsciously think about certain aspects of our lives.
Remember that we ALL experience impostor syndrome. Realize that other people around you feel just like you. Even those who have been doing it for years can feel unsettled and like they don’t know what they’re doing. This is a liberating truth to grasp.
3. Be open about your struggles
Talk about your own vulnerabilities with other people, especially those who learn from you.
How do you feel when someone you respect opens up about their own struggles, and it turns out that they battle with the same things that you find hard? That they share the struggles you thought you were alone in?
Sometimes we believe that showing vulnerability makes us seem weak. In reality, however, it has the opposite effect. Showing vulnerability shows profound strength and serves to validate and accept everyone else who has similar internal battles.
It encourages us and provides others with a sense of peace, saying that it’s OK not to be perfect. You don’t need to feel like you have everything worked out, and you don’t need to pretend that you do. Be honest.
So, when you’re feeling out of your depth, like an outsider or an impostor in one of your many pursuits, just remember that we all feel that way.
You are not pretending to be something you’re not. You are learning. You are curious. You are interested. You are passionate. You are a multipotentialite.
Have you experienced impostor syndrome because of your multipotentiality? How do you get past your doubts?
Andy Mort is a UK based musician and writer. He is the founder of SheepDressedLikeWolves.com, which is a blog and podcast aimed at encouraging introverted and highly sensitive people to embrace their creativity and push against the expectations of an often overwhelming world. Download his FREE eBook “The Gentle Rebel Manifesto” at sheepdressedlikewolves.com/gentle-rebel.