Imposter Syndrome – why I haven’t got it

by Sarah Lockett on May 29, 2020

OK, now I sound like an unsufferable big-head. I’m not. But here’s my reasoning: I am freelance, so if I was no good, no-one would ever employ me again. I’d do one job for each client, and then I’d never hear from them again. So, the fact that I keep getting repeat work means I must be doing something right.

If I were a permanent employee (“staff”) then I’d be waiting for the day I am laid off. Every day, I’d think: this is the day I’m going to be told they’re phasing out my position, downsizing/reorganising etc. But, as a freelance, I’m always delighted any time any new work comes through the door 🙂 I think, well someone, somewhere has passed on my details and said, Sarah’s OK, give her a call.

Sarah Lockett, TBD Media

And in fact, in the lockdown, some pieces of work have come completely out of the blue. An old schoolfriend who is now an exec at a software company saw one of my blog posts about Media Training; the cogs started turning, and now I am delivering some remote training for them. Another colleague who I hadn’t heard from since 2012 (as I discovered from searching back in my emails) recommended me to a client and I ended up doing a really interesting piece of work for them (remotely). So I have had a ‘good lockdown’, as it were (equally, all of my traditional work has evaporated, so I have had to adapt).

On Imposter Syndrome: I definitely used to have it in my 20’s and 30’s. But somewhere along the way, the facts have to be listened to. People keep employing me, so I must be OK! And just because people don’t tell you you’re fantastic all the time, it doesn’t mean you’re not.

So, have faith and keep going, work on improving all the time and expanding/honing your skills. Check back with clients to make sure you’re giving them what they want (“take direction” as they say in the movie business) but at the same time, offer advice if you think your way is the right way (remembering however, as an old boss used to say, “It’s their train set,” if they want it a different way).

That’s a lot of elements to remember, but – in a nutshell – if you love your work and think you’re good at it, keep going.