Imposter Syndrome and Placing Limitations on Yourself

As freelancers, we’re all too aware of imposter syndrome, in fact, it’s an area that is talked about considerably throughout business and the lifetime of our careers.

Here at Freelance Heroes, as part of our regular calendar of events, we recently hosted a roundtable where this was a key theme raised by attendees, so we thought we’d highlight some of those real issues members have faced and how you can think about them and deal with them.

Firstly, how do you know when you’re suffering from imposter syndrome and placing limitations on yourself compared to these limitations coming from other people’s perceptions and expectations?

We often feel like we have to be everything to everyone because of society’s expectations, when the reality is, we don’t.

Today, society’s expectations towards work and family dynamics have changed considerably; business policies and guidance have also changed in line with these views. There is no longer a ‘typical working day’ and there’s certainly no stereotypical freelancer.

Yet, we still place limitations on ourselves, believing that we can’t do something because….

  • You only work part-time
  • You have to do the school run
  • You work from home
  • You’re still learning the ropes of running your own business
  • You’re not as good as your competitors
  • There’s only you!

In fact, many freelancers suffer from an unconscious bias of not being “good enough” that they charge less because they feel like they’re already not meeting others’ “expectations.”

This is imposter syndrome at its finest.

Moving forward

So how can we stop placing limitations on ourselves and move forward in our freelancing careers?

Find you. Refuse to be anything other than yourself. Understanding your worth and surrounding yourself with positive role models and mentors is the key to helping you find your right path.

Own it. We all have different strengths, and these strengths make us who we are. By owning these and really owning who you are, you will vastly boost your confidence, which will transpire into your business, boosting your successes and growth.

By identifying your own values, playing to your strengths, and admitting that you won’t have all of the answers all of the time, you will be free to grow and develop without fear of limitations.

Give it your all. The only way we learn, grow, and develop is by trying, failing, and never giving up. Believing that we can’t do something or believing a perception that isn’t always true is what limits us in our everyday lives and work.

How often have we heard, “don’t believe everything you see, hear or read,” and, “if you’re going to do something, do it well, but most importantly, enjoy it.”

Now, we’re no longer making it work because we have to; we’re making it work because we want to.

Identify the difference between perception and reality. For example, when you start feeling like you’re not good enough, you don’t have the experience in ALL areas, or you can’t do something because you have family commitments, take a step back. Are you feeling like this because you’re scared of change or a new project, i.e., are you placing limitations on yourself and suffering from imposter syndrome, rather than being pushed out or someone telling you you’re not good enough?

At some point, we will all feel or suffer from imposter syndrome and, as a result, place limitations on ourselves.

What’s important is recognising when we impose these limitations compared to when they are imposed by others and taking the right steps to encourage change.

Freelancing can be incredibly tough. But it is also extremely rewarding.

Recognising your strengths, owning these, and grasping all opportunities to learn, and work with others, will all help to keep imposter syndrome at bay.

For an in-depth look at Imposter Syndrome, check out our latest addition to the library section of the Freelance Heroes portal, ‘Loving Your Doubt’ by portal member Adrian Ashton.

If you’re looking for a great and professional community of like-minded individuals to support you through your freelancing journey, look no further – become a freelance superhero today.