Tips For The Unrelenting Creative: How To (try to) Avoid Impostor Syndrome

Hi everyone,

After over two years of writing and learning about the book writing process, my book is finally on the home stretch! I recently ran a poll on Facebook to determine the cover design (see below). There is still time to weigh in so please send me an email with your vote.

I will be releasing the book before the end of summer so be on the lookout for an official release date in the near future. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

  • How To Avoid Suffering From Expectations Debt: When I was a sophomore in high school, I made it my goal to be first chair bassoon in all-state. That year, I was first chair… the all-state band, making me the fourth-rated bassoonist in the state behind the three bassoonists who made it into the all-state orchestra. Rather than celebrating this incredible accomplishment as a sophomore, I remember feeling frustrated that I hadn’t placed higher.​ ​​ ​

    Tip: Blogger Morgan Housel calls this Expectations Debt, stating that “expectations are like a debt that must be repaid before you get any joy out of what you’re doing.” To avoid this, Housel argues that we need to work to “avoid a certain kind of psychological debt that comes due when reality catches up to our accomplishments.”

    Related: ​I’m the worst at self-compassion.​

  • How To (try to) Avoid Impostor Syndrome: Here’s a secret. Every single time I post something, I worry about whether or not the thing I’ve created is good enough for the world to see. I constantly grapple with impostor syndrome and it is only recently when I started forcing myself to post my writing on a schedule that I started to become more bold and comfortable with putting my ideas out into the world. ​

    Tip: If you struggle with impostor syndrome, speak up and be heard, we need your voice in the conversation! Try setting small regular goals to push against your fears and remind yourself that most people around you experience similar feelings. Did you know that there are 5 Types of Impostor Syndrome? ​​ ​

    Related: ​It’s ok to be average (sometimes)​

  • How To Tame Your Mammoth: Blogger Tim Urban states that “Your Mammoth” is a constant unease about what others think about you. For decades, I found myself concerned about what others thought about me. Now that I’m solidly in my 40s, this doesn’t seem to bother me nearly as much as earlier in my career. I wish I could tell the younger version of me not to worry as much because I now know that most people around me are equally concerned about how they are viewed by others. ​ ​​ ​

    Tip: The best way I’ve found to tame my mammoth is to consistently focus on my life and career goals in spite of what others might think about my path. I also regularly remind myself that focusing on my mammoth is incredibly unproductive. Moving forward without worrying about what others might think has become the cornerstone of getting things done throughout my career. For a deeper dive into taming your mammoth, check out Tim Urban’s amazing blog post on the subject here.

    Related: ​The top five micro-habits creatives should adopt today​

Things I Loved

Photo Credit: Tengyart
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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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