“Sometimes I Feel Like a Fraud: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome,” presented by Erin Servais, Christina Frey, and Kristine Hunt, discussed self-doubt and impostor syndrome during the second day of ACES 2021 Online.
“It’s something that affects everybody… Everyone thinks it’s just them feeling these things, but it’s actually almost everybody, so we should have a conversation about it,” said Servais.
The presentation took attendees through common causes of impostor syndrome in the editing field, along with ways to address those feelings. Social media, specifically the influence of seeing other people’s lives and comparing them to our own, can cause feelings of self-doubt.
“The volume [of social media] is one of the biggest contributors because people aren’t doing amazing things every day and all the time… If you have hundreds of friends and just a few of them share their wins every day, then it looks like everyone is always doing stuff, when it’s not reality for an individual person,” said Frey.
Servais explained the importance of remembering that people show only their wins on social media, not their normal, messy, everyday activities. While their posts and pages might be impressive, they're only part of the story. The majority of lives don't look like social media feeds at all.
The pandemic and resulting shift to virtual life have only expanded the presence of social media in many people's lives, but these online connections have brought some good with them as well. Servais said that some apps, like Clubhouse, allow for virtual connections without furthering impostor syndrome. In Clubhouse’s case, the lack of video capabilities and recording features allow for a low-pressure social environment.
Learning how to operate in the pandemic—such as facilitating Zoom meetings and recordings—has helped Hunt with impostor syndrome as well.
“We get stuck in our comfort zone… we have what we do well or what we think we do well, and then we have to go out of that. And we succeed. That totally counteracts impostor feelings, at least for me,” Hunt said.
The session included actionable insights for combating impostor, namely remembering that almost everyone feels impostor syndrome and weeding social media accounts regularly.
It's perfectly acceptable to choose not to interact with people or accounts online that are negative, judgmental, or just plain unpleasant.
"If following someone isn’t fun, it’s not educational, and it’s not good for you in any way, just click unfollow,” said Servais.
“None of this is about overcoming a flaw. Maybe you experience impostor syndrome regularly, or hardly at all. Just know that you’re not alone, and that when your brain tries to trip you up into labeling yourself an impostor, there are ways to fight back,” said Frey.
Conference attendees can watch this session and more on the conference website. The session will be available to watch until July 31, 2021.