You’ve had that feeling–you get a promotion, you land a great opportunity, you win an award or a grant–your first feeling is that you don’t deserve it, you are a fake. A phony, who just got this through pure luck. An accident. A fluke.
Maybe you even begin to think you aren’t original. Aren’t capable of that level of work. Worry that some of your ideas weren’t original after all.
Stop that. Right now. Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We are born curious, interested. We start by putting everything in our mouth, then we use our hands to learn.
We draw and paint with enthusiasm. You learn how to write the alphabet by copying it. That’s learning. It’s useful, but not original. Eventually you will make it original. When you develop your style and your voice. Which you do by trying, failing, figuring out why you failed. Figuring out how you failed. Improving it. Being creative. Being innovative.
Sit down now and draw a bird. Draw the same thing again. And again. Each bird looks different, even when you want it to be the same. Because you are not a machine, you can’t produce the same exact thing over and over again. It’s not possible. You have your own style now. Because you learned and failed and developed and grew.
So no, you are not phony. You created something that only you can add to human experience. And you can own it. Along with the pride of your accomplishment. Because you earned it. So enjoy it.
–-Quinn McDonald has felt like a phony. She’s now able to own what she is. And isn’t.