Have you ever felt like a fraud? I know I have. In fact, last week I struggled with this. I had the opportunity to create a 45 minute "Intro to A.I." lecture to present to other teachers in our system. Ugh. I have always thought it most difficult to present to the peers that you work with on a daily basis. Who was I to teach anything to a roomful of professional educators, most of whom have more experience in the 7-12 space than I do? I am just an art geek. I could teach a drawing lesson, but to impart knowledge to several "teachers of the year", I am not qualified. These are some of the negative thoughts that bombarded me last week. Imposter syndrome is the feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt despite evidence of your skills and accomplishments. It can make you believe that you're a fraud and that your success is due to luck or external factors. Hmm. I personally think that getting proficient with digital and ESPECIALLY A.I. can be a part of fostering these thoughts. Exactly what I was dealing with last week.
Imposter syndrome, a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a "fraud," widely permeates through the artist community. Artists, regardless of their medium, often navigate through a sea of internal and external pressures, which can exacerbate self-doubt and minimize the recognition of their own talents. I know there are many creatives that have faced this. Also, it is not "one and done", it can creep up on you any time at any stage of your career and most likely we will face it multiple times. Overcoming imposter syndrome is pivotal not only for personal mental health but also for sustaining a thriving and dynamic studio practice. I have found that daily combat is necessary and that recognizing imposter syndrome becomes a crucial step towards embracing one's artistic prowess.
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -
The first step towards overcoming imposter syndrome is acknowledging its presence and that feeling of doubt without judgment. Many of us wrestle silently with our insecurities, attributing our hard-won successes to luck rather than skill and work ethic. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation to the feelings of being a fraud, but instead, it denotes understanding one’s emotional and psychological state. This acknowledgement becomes the foundation upon which strategies to counteract our stinkin' thinkin' are built, creating a safe space for exploration and growth.
Next, adopting a balanced perspective towards both successes and failures offers a constructive approach to dealing with imposter syndrome. Celebrating successes, big or small, is crucial in reinforcing self-worth and acknowledging the merit in one’s work. As creators, what we do is not always easy, although we endeavor to make it look like it is, at least most of the time. Often for me just getting out of bed and getting through the day is a success. West Nile is still a very real thing in my life and sometimes it rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Hitting the studio, or succeeding in any other facet, (no matter how small) of your creative practice deserves celebration. Just showing up is a big deal. Conversely, viewing failures not as indictments of incapability but as opportunities for growth and learning also eases the pressure to perpetually perform. We have talked about this frequently. We need to fail. It is important to make time to "make something ugly", remove the constraints of making "something pretty" and just make marks, make a really big mess. Remember painting as a pre-schooler? Embracing this dual-approach fosters a healthier relationship with one’s artistic journey, making room for development and self-appreciation.
Engaging in a community or seeking mentorship can provide a solid external perspective on a creative's work and worth. Sharing experiences, fears, and vulnerabilities within a supportive community can diminish the isolation often felt when grappling with imposter syndrome. Remember Mother Teresa's words, "You can do things I can not and I can do things you can not." We each have different talents and skills and there is only ONE of YOU. I found that just writing this piece helped to stop the spiral of negative thought processes. My journal is a similar tool. Mentors can also offer guidance, affirmations, and constructive feedback, ensuring that we are on a credible path and assisting us in navigating through our own doubts and fears.
The next step is difficult for many, cultivate self-compassion. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the sweetest people on earth. It is shocking to see how these sweethearts can treat themselves, they would NEVER say, or even think about someone else the way they think and talk about themselves. If this is you...STOP. We need to practice treating ourselves with the same kindness and understanding as we would offer a friend. Developing a habit of self-compassion involves recognizing that making mistakes and encountering difficulties does not equate to being a fraud. Engaging in mindful practices, affirmations, and mental health care can nurture a robust internal dialogue that empowers us to steer clear from the incapacitating thoughts imposter syndrome breeds. 'Nuff said.
Imposter syndrome often feeds on the fear of inadequacy and stagnation. Another life skill that gives us ammunition is by engaging in continuous learning and adaptation, it not only amplifies our skill and knowledge but also keeps self-doubt at bay. By viewing oneself as a perpetual student, who is always in the process of growth and refinement, we can find solace in the journey, realizing that expertise is not a static state but an ongoing process. I am thankful that one never "arrives" no matter what the skill level. It is inspiring to see that the masters were/are always experimenting and failing, every accomplishment or project becomes a step forward in an endless journey of artistic development. Remember how Matisse adapted to his health challenges after becoming bedridden when dealing with stomach cancer? His creative spirit remained undeterred, and he found innovative ways to continue producing art. Matisse developed a new technique that would become one of his signature methods in his later years: the cut-out.
In conclusion, confronting and mitigating imposter syndrome is a vital process we all will most likely need to navigate at some point, most likely more than once. By acknowledging its presence, celebrating every step of the journey, engaging in supportive communities, fostering self-compassion, and committing to perpetual learning, we can dismantle the debilitating effects of imposter syndrome. In doing so, we can pave the way towards an authentic and liberated artistic expression, where our creations are not shadowed by the fear of inadequacy but illuminated by the true reflections of our creative spirit.
Action conquers fear, let's make something ugly this week
News and Play Items
Two really cool resources I have been playing with the last few weeks. First is Khanimigo. It is in beta and may not provide any interest if you are not into teaching. Although for me I find it will be just as useful as a tool to help with my personal continued education.
And an uber cool website that will help you find an A.I. app by use. Sweet. https://theresanaiforthat.com/
Do I Belong Here? Confronting Imposter Syndrome at an Individual, Peer, and Institutional Level in Health Professionals
Digital Art Goes Rogue Magazine Cover contest. DOES ANYONE READ THIS? We finally have a few submissions...we want your ART. Surely there are more artists that want to share their amazing work. Check out the back cover contest for Digital Art Goes Rogue Magazine. We want to see your art. Follow the link for all the deets. https://digitalartgoesrogue.com/cover-art-contest/
2024 Courses in progress.
Selling your art online.
Struggle Like the Masters.