Lights. An Actor sits at a table in a rehearsal room with other Actors, a Director, a Playwright and others.
It’s the first day of rehearsal.
They’re all excited, thrilled in fact, to be in the room. Out of many, they have been hired. Chosen. Handpicked from a multitude of other Actors to be the ones to take on these roles.
After the introductions, handshakes and hugs from those who already know each other, it’s time to sit down and, they begin the table read.
The first time all of the talented creatives gather together to speak the piece into being.
And then we see the Actor is struck with an emotion, a thought. It hits hard. The Actors breathing changes. It’s labored. Short.
The Actor is hearing everyone else read their parts. And suddenly realizes how good they all are. How talented. How skinny, buffed, well dressed, pretty/handsome.
The Actors mind is filled with thoughts of, “What is that accent?”, “How did they think of that character?”, “Can they at least *try* to make it look hard to hit that note?”
Then the Actor speaks the lines for their character and hears, nothing.
Because thoughts in the mind are loudly shouting, “What the hell am I doing here?”, “They’re going to find out I’m not right for this.”, “They’re going to fire me.”
Sound familiar? It does to me. Because I’ve been there.
So many times. In fact, I’m there now.
I’m currently doing a workshop and having the time of my life. I’m acting, singing, laughing and collaborating. Helping to create a brilliant new piece into reality. I’m working with some amazing talented people. I’m right where I need to, want to, be.
And yet…. there’s still that feeling.
That feeling, is called Impostor Syndrome. And every Creative, at one time or another, has felt the exact. same. thing.
Breathe easy. You’re not alone.
Impostor Syndrome has been defined as “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud”.
I’ll say it again, You’re not alone.
“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”
– Tina Fey
“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”
– Maya Angelou
“No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’”
– Tom Hanks
See? There are countless creatives who have the thought that one day, some how, some one will find out they aren’t supposed to be “in the room where it happens.”
So what do they do about it? How do they, and more importantly we, overcome that feeling?
Well, Good News, you can get past it. Bad News, it’s always around. Because the more you create, the more you might feel like you’re a fraud.
But what’s the alternative? To quit? To stop creating? ¡Chale!
Get over yourself – Seriously. If you’re in the room, you were meant to be there. You’re talented enough, smart enough, you are enough.
Remember to have fun – There’s a reason they call them “Plays”.
Keep doing the work – Create a character. Make a choice. Listen to direction and spend every day, every moment, creating the work.
There are a multitude of other things you can do. Meditation, Breathing, Goat Yoga, Dancing, Going to the Gym, etc…
But nothing will ever build your confidence more than continuing to Do The Work and Have Fun.
I’ll see you in the room.