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8 Tips for Animators to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

ben marvazi 2020

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Have you ever felt like you’re not a good animator, no matter how many times you have been praised? Have you worried that other people view you as a copy-cat or unoriginal?

This feeling is called impostor syndrome, and it can happen to anyone.

If you regularly doubt yourself, get easily disappointed when you don’t achieve your goals, fear that you won’t reach people’s expectations of you, have low self-esteem, and/or don’t link your success to your own efforts, you could have impostor syndrome.

Some animators may use their impostor syndrome as motivation to develop their animation skills and accomplish great things they’ve never done before.

However, people with imposter syndrome are often constantly anxious and think of themselves as inferior compared to other people. They don’t think that they have the right to be praised or recognized for their work.

Not knowing how to deal with this feeling may prevent you from having inner peace and reaching your maximum potential as an animator. It can also really affect mental health and potentially contribute to depression.

If you’ve felt these ways, keep reading. Below, we explain more about what impostor syndrome is and give you tips to overcome it.

Different Kinds of Impostor Syndrome

woman who thinks she's not good enough

Image via GIPHY

There are 5 unique kinds of impostor syndrome. It is possible that one or more kinds of syndromes can be evident in your life.

1. The Perfectionist

  • The Perfectionist is someone who sets very high standards for themselves. They strive to be perfect despite negative mental health consequences.

2. The Natural Genius

  • Natural geniuses strive to achieve big goals. They may feel guilty or ashamed every time they aren’t able to reach their goals.

3. The Superhero

  • The Superheroften struggles with overworking, working almost 24/7 in an attempt to make up for their feelings of inadequacy.

4. The Expert

  • A person who never feels good enough despite being very knowledgeable; the Expert may feel inferior compared to people in their industry if they aren’t familiar or experienced with certain topics. They then push themselves to learn more to make up for this perceived gap in knowledge and understanding. 

5. The Soloist

  • The Soloist finds it difficult to ask other people for help. They have a desire to prove themselves by being highly productive and working alone.

Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as an Animator

1. Talk To Other Animators

close friends talking in a cafe

Image by Christin Hume via Unsplash

You may feel shy to talk about your feelings with impostor syndrome, but talking to other animators is an important way you can learn from others and release your feelings of inadequacy.

You are not alone. Close friends or a mentor can offer you solid advice and encouraging words if you share your feelings and work with them.

2. Regularly Give Yourself Positive Affirmations

woman who thinks she's the best

GIF by Disney+ Hotstar via GIPHY

Whenever you’re faced with a big animation project, tell yourself, “I can do this. I am capable of what I set my mind to.” When you’re done making an animated video, tell yourself, “I did my best, and I am proud of myself!” 

Understanding the roots of your imposter syndrome is important. Create personalized affirmations for yourself that address your insecurities, so you can both appreciate your work and productively deal with imperfections, so you can grow as an animator going forward.

You can talk to yourself out loud or list down several things you like about yourself. Giving yourself positive affirmations each day is crucial to your overall health and will help shift your mindset.

3. Make Time for Self-Reflection

person taking time to reflect

Image from via Google

Aside from having positive affirmations, try to understand the real reasons why you have impostor syndrome. Ask yourself where these thoughts come from: What do you do, read, hear, or see that triggers them?

How will you prevent yourself from feeling like you’re not enough? Make time to self-reflect and write down your thoughts in a journal. Doing this will help you become more self-aware, will help you process your thoughts and feelings, and will help you take actionable steps to conquer your impostor syndrome. 

4. Be Proud of Your Work

a man who is proud of his work

GIF by ABC Network via GIPHY

When you’re experiencing impostor syndrome, redirect your ways of thinking. Remind yourself that your animation clients are coming to you because they really like your animation style and customer service. Remind yourself that you got to where you are because of your efforts and hard work.

Imposter syndrome is often related to social anxiety, so getting affirmation from others may help relieve some of your anxiety and imposter syndrome.

An easy way to remind yourself that your clients and others in the industry value you is to keep a file of the nice and encouraging things people say about you whenever you accomplish tasks.

You can keep screenshots of the positive messages and testimonials you receive and look back at them whenever you’re feeling down.

Reminding yourself of affirmations others give you sounds simple, but doing this can be really effective in building your self-confidence and making your self-doubt go away.

5. Celebrate the Little and Big Things

woman going on a road trip with friends

Image by Averie Claire via Unsplash

We all deserve rewards for the things we do. Some workers get bonuses, promotions, prizes, and cash. As an animator, you can reward yourself too. Associate your hard work with rewards and take time to relax.

Did you just finish an animated video you worked really hard on for weeks? That calls for a celebration! Take a break from work, get a massage, watch a funny movie, take a walk in the park, grab some dinner with your friends, or go out of town with your loved ones.

Though your animation work is important, if you define yourself and your life completely off your work, it can be even harder to overcome imposter syndrome and reduce your anxiety.

Celebrating yourself and your accomplishments and taking breaks from work will help you recenter, appreciate yourself, and appreciate life.

6. Stop Comparing Yourself with Others

man telling you to stop

GIF by Jokoy via GIPHY

You don’t have to follow trends or animation styles just because they’re popular or because you see many other animators following them.

Instead of competing with others, try challenging yourself to be the best version of you. Are you better at animation than you were three months ago? Who will you be and what can you do 6 months from now? A year from now?

You can get inspiration from other animators, but use the animation styles that you do best and that you personally enjoy. Being yourself when animating can make your negative thoughts and feelings go away.

It can also give you a better perspective of your progress and how you can improve more based on your personal experience.

Focus on your own animation instead of trying to match or outdo another animator’s work. Stop scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and blogs of well-known animators. You are a unique person with your own strengths.

Instead of focusing on what you lack and what you don’t know, live your own life as an animator. There’s more to life than comparing yourself with others.

7. Remember That You Are a Work in Progress

a man who says that he makes mistakes

GIF from WiffleGif via GIPHY

You aren’t perfect and never will be. All humans make mistakes and continually improve. Cut yourself some slack. It’s definitely okay to be wrong or fail sometimes. Sometimes your work may not look as good as you want it to, but that doesn’t mean you have failed as a person. Your works do not define you. 

Instead of harshly judging your work and internalizing your perceived failures, look at the aspects of your work you want to improve as learning opportunities. Take online classes, have mentoring sessions with a more experienced animator, get inspiration from animated films, and pursue a personal animation project.

8. Become a Mentor to Another Animator

a man mentoring a man

Image by NeONBRAND via Unsplash

Whether you host an online class, write a blog, join a LinkedIn or Facebook group, start a YouTube animation channel, or have lunch with an artist less experienced than you, you will come to realize how much knowledge and how many skills you have gained through your years as an animator.

You have valuable advice to offer younger or aspiring animators. Mentoring others provides not only a great boost of confidence but can also be a way for you to learn a thing or two from other animators; everyone has unique experiences and skill sets they can share.

Wrapping It Up

It takes a lot of self-care, reflection, and hard work to conquer your impostor syndrome.

Finding a way out of your imposter syndrome and seeking help will benefit you in the long run, help you achieve greater things in the animation industry, and provide more value to your loyal customers.

If you’re looking for a guide to improve your business and animation skills, check out our marketing handbook and our masterclass below.

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