Tackling Imposter Syndrome in the Creative Industries

When I first joined FUZE, I struggled with imposters syndrome in a big way. Bonus points if you can spot the self-deprecation hidden throughout this blog (spoiler alert: it’s not subtle).

05 Jul 2023

By Cole

Writen by Cole

As somebody with a background in marketing who’s worked in the industry for almost a decade, you would think that coming into a marketing role would be easy, and that I could hit the ground running, making marked changes, restructuring old processes and having a huge impact on growth from Day 1 - but that couldn’t be further from the truth, and honestly, I was terrified.

I tend to be quite an anxious person, although I wear the mask well and I know I’m (pretty) capable, and that I always have my skills, abilities, and deflective (but profoundly charming) sense of humour to fall back on. But in many of my past roles, I’ve never been quite as responsible, accountable, or relied upon to make sure that what I’m doing was worthy of my being here.

A lot of people are no stranger to those thoughts or concerns, but they balance on a knife's edge of very loud ‘what if’s’ that resonate, contaminate and ultimately can lead to one questioning themselves, ending in an increase in errors and mistakes in your work that only serve to add fuel to the fire. It’s a vicious cycle.

These ‘what if’s’ include, but are not limited to;

“What if I can’t do everything I thought I was capable of doing?”

“What if I don’t gel with my colleagues?”

“What if I waste time, money, energy?”

“What if the things that I’m doing turn out to be: wrong/unsuccessful/expensive/stupid".

Research has shown that as many as 70% of people are affected by Imposters Syndrome at one time or another, and these feelings of being inferior can have a profound effect on your work life. Sometimes being overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy can bring about mental blocks such as “what’s the point, I’m just going to do it wrong, anyway”, and can ultimately induce procrastination.

Working in an environment that fosters creative thought, but also advocates for mental health care has become increasingly important to me as I further through life, and I start to prioritise the things that are important to me, and I’ve had my fair share of jobs that claim to promote an ‘open-door’ policy, or to support mental wellbeing that really only go so far as offering an office pizza once in a blue moon. It’s become a TikTok trend because it’s true, but as unfortunate as it is, a lot of companies are just trying to tick boxes, especially during a period of time where personal health and wellbeing has never been so important.

Having been at FUZE for just over three months now, I can truthfully say that all of the initial concerns that I have, that I might comprehensively suck at my job have more or less disintegrated, and working in a relaxed environment which fully champions autonomy and promotes creative thought has helped me to flourish. It helps working as part of a hugely supportive team, which celebrates each other's successes and achievements.

FUZE supports its people, and really what it comes down to is that we’re an agency of normal, innocent, innovative and hard-working, charismatic and sometimes downright weird people.

We're just normal

I think that’s what sets it apart from every other place that I’ve ever worked. And this isn’t just an excuse for me to sycophantically wax lyrical about my job to suck up to my boss either (hi, Dan!). Genuinely, I’ve never worked anywhere that allows, no, encourages me to stretch my creative legs as a human being and promote myself as a Digital Marketing thought leader in the local area. Imagine. Me. Knowing what I’m talking about.

Who would have thought it?

But that’s just it. I feel like I’ve not only found my people, but also defeated a lot of personal demons by working here for just the last 3 months. Things that have infested my mind as a result of having worked at places that treat staff like just another brick in the wall. It’s like getting out of a toxic relationship and suddenly seeing the world a little bit brighter.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that it’s never been more important to consider that everyone might be going through the same thing. Imposter’s syndrome (especially in the creative industries) will always be a thing when your colleagues, staff and friends don’t think their ideas aren’t good enough. So fight their corner, they might just need a little help with feeling confident enough to share their ideas with you.

And a plea to business owners in any industry, don’t show up for your staff because you feel like you have to. Show up because you care.