Break Through Imposter Syndrome
Now this next thing is one that I guarantee almost every single person will identify with, that either if you have not felt imposter syndrome yet, you might one day, and it's something that I have often struggled with. The reason why I bring it up here is twofold. One, because this class is taking us from idea to concept to creation to selling our work, and if we feel inundated with imposter syndrome, we're never gonna get to that place where we sell our work properly. We're just not. Because we're going to undervalue ourselves, we're not going to know our worth, and Kenna and I were just talking about this earlier, this idea of, at what point are you undervaluing yourself because you think you're not worthy of something. Now imposter syndrome is feeling like an imposter. Feeling like, oh gosh, right now, for example, I could very easily be feeling this, and in fact have, at many points, in creating this class, why am I the one to teach this class? Why am I the one to impart this knowl...
edge? Everyone thinks that I can do this, but really, I can't. And, really, I'm just tricking everybody, with any success I may have had in this field. And so I could be standing here, tremendously nervous to talk to you all, because I feel unworthy of sharing this information. Now the same goes for art. Art is extremely personal, and if somebody tells you that you did a bad job at it, we immediately believe it, because we think they must be right, because they think it's bad, so it's bad. It's really easy to get into that mindset, because we don't always expect to be good at things. Some people do, and I really, really wish that I had more of that, where you're just like, I expect to be really good at this thing all the time. But others, and I would say most of us, don't expect to be good at things, especially right away, and so we develop this idea that if somebody does think that what we do is good, they must be wrong, and I'm just tricking them into seeing what I want them to see. How do we get over that? There is no short answer to this. I mean, I wish that I could say obviously, blah blah blah, you'll be fixed, it's fine. And I still deal with this, and that's why I say there's no short answer, because I really feel like I would have found one by now if there was one. But my advice is to recognize one, you might not be at your best yet. But that's okay. It's okay to not be producing the type of work that you wish you were yet. It's okay for someone to think that you need to get better at what you do, because what you do should be evolving, okay? It's like if you look at this picture of mine, and you're like, not very good, I'd be like, alright, I tried my best, I really like it, one day, maybe it'll get better. You just have to recognize that this right here, right now, is not the end all, be all, and you're not an imposter. You're just not. If someone likes what you do, that's equally as valid as if someone doesn't like what you do. No good words for that one, sorry. Alright, now this was a really interesting conversation that I had yesterday, and I felt the need to bring this up. There are so many people who will just not keep going. Who will not continue to create art. Who will be given a challenge, and they won't complete it. And I'm not, in any way, saying, shame on you for doing that. I am not at all saying that. What I am saying, is that if you commit yourself to this practice, and you keep making work, even when, and especially when, other people stop, that is what will catapult you into a whole other realm of creating, and a whole other realm of business. It's when we take what we do, and we don't listen to that imposter syndrome, and we don't listen to all those people saying your work isn't very good, this could be better, and we simply grow from that, and we keep making art, that suddenly, we'll still be there when everyone else fell off the bandwagon. And I would say that 90% of any success that I've had is just this. I just keep coming back. You can't get rid of me, like a rash, I just keep coming. It's a great example, you guys, okay? Lots of faces like, what, I don't know about that. Okay, well find a better metaphor for me, so that I don't have to be a rash, please. But it's true. I just keep coming back. I just keep making things. And I keep getting negative feedback. One day I'm just going to compile a book of all the mean emails I've ever gotten, and publish that, and be like, this is my homage to keeping going, and that would be great. But it's true. The fact is that if you want this badly enough, and you keep trying, and you meet those goals that you have, a lot of other people won't. But you will have done that. And that is worth everything to me. Your instincts will lead you to a true and honest place. The same thing as curiosity. Our instinct, our curiosity, they go hand in hand. And in the end, we're trying to get to a true and honest place. Truth and and honesty in art is one of the most compelling things that I've ever witnessed. When you see a piece of work that feels like it had to come out of that artist, is there anything better than that? Than witnessing somebody creating what they were meant to create? It's rare that we'll get there in our lives. It's rare that we'll create that thing that just spilled like blood from us and had to be created. But when we do, if we're striving for that, that's the pinnacle of fine art, is that thing that had to come out of us. This is one of my final points about this topic, which is that your narrative will constantly change. And that's why it's called a story, because it's meant to change. So if you're worried about being original, if you're worried about not living up to your potential, you might as well stop, because you will continuously, like a cycle, not live up to your potential, and then meet your potential, and then not live up to your potential, and then meet your potential. And you're meant to do that. We're all meant to do that. I like to say that I would rather live and die a thousand times than just live one boring life. I would rather live and try and fail, and then let that fall away and be reborn into a new artist, doing something new, doing something crazy and unexpected. And in the course of that cycle, I will feel like an imposter, I will feel like my work isn't good enough, and then one day, I won't anymore. And then, that's when I know it's time to start that cycle over again. It's a story, it's cyclical, every single story that's ever been told has a circular pattern, where somebody goes on a journey, this is the classic hero's journey that Joseph Campbell laid out where you go on a journey, and you're meant to go on that journey. And you learn things, and you battle your demons, and then you come back home, and you teach other people what you've learned, and then you go again on that journey, over and over, and that's one of the most inspiring metaphors that I've ever heard. That idea that we're meant to be on this cycle.