Ten ways to kick impostor syndrome in the butt

Do you ever feel like you’re a fraud?

-that nagging feeling that you’re not good enough, not creative enough, lack what others have, and are afraid that you’ll be “called out by customers or peers,”

This excerpt out of Hitomi and Kathy Whalen’s book Designing For Competition opened my eyes. I was struggling with my PFDE (professional floral design evaluation) practicing and feeling pretty down. I read this and knew I was where I was supposed to be.


A professional floral designer is a person who has chosen to earn a living creating floral designs in one of many ways, perhaps as a flower shop owner, a designer, a head designer, a freelancer, or a floral event designer. Ideally, the floral designer continues to be a perennial student improving breadth and depth of his skills in order to be on the cutting edge, both creatively and business wise. Acquiring floral design certifications or engaging in continuing education demonstrates professionalism.”

This blew my mind. I finally got it.

I’m not a psychologist, but I have a few ways in which I have learned to help myself through these feelings.

One- Stop it. Make yourself aware of what you’re feeling. If you feel that certain way when you look at social media. It is so easy to watch what other people are doing and feel inadequate. Everything's so instant and shareable now. Just Stop. Give yourself a mental break from social. Uninstall the app. That works really well for me. Unfollow people that make you feel icky and jealous. Or challenge yourself to # 1.5

BONUS for #1: Dive even deeper, say something nice. Get in there and give a nice comment. You may be surprised at how genuine you can be. Keep in mind how good it feels when you have that thing you post that you’re super proud of.

One and a half- Keep your eyes on your arrangement. Quit looking at everyone else's’ shit and thinking it’s better than yours. Keep an open mind and critique other’s work with the aspiration to improve. For example:

 DON’T say “wow that design is so beautiful, my color schemes will never look that way. As my track coach in high school used to say “stinkin thinkin”.

If you can change your mindset to a positive one it will work wonders.

DO: Wow that design really has a great color palette. I bet if I studied my color wheel a little when I have a minute I could do something amazing like that.

It’s all in your mind set right?

Two- Self-love and confidence. Remember what your talents are. Play to your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a hard time seeing those, ask a friend, co worker, or a family member five things that you’re good at. Write them down. Refer to them later.

Make yourself a praise pin board. Make a file on your computer of all the good things anyone has ever sent you in a thank you card and keep it in a file to check on when you’re having a troubled day. Even just one bride’s thank you because you made her day special is a little gold star.

Three- Get over yourself. It may seem like the whole world is going to see you screw up but they don’t really care. I struggled with this so hard when I started this podcast. I was fine about hearing myself speak (because in all honesty, I talk to myself ALLLLL the time). The part I had the hardest time with was...what will they all think of me, who is going to hear this and think OMG she’s the worst, how annoying. I am pretty sure (hoping that) those people will not leave rude comments and just shut this off. LOL. But really, the sun will still shine, people will still commute to work, and go about life as they know it. You’re not the be all end all of their universe.

Four- Get accountable. Find a friend to bounce ideas off of. Or someone you can just say out loud to “hey, I feel like a fraud”. Admission is tough, but sometimes it just helps to get it off your chest. Accountability groups work wonders. Whether it's a group of like minded industry people or business acquaintances that can give valuable advice or feedback can be very beneficial! If you have the funds, a business coach can really encourage you to hurdle over these feelings and stay on track.   

Five- Do good. Volunteer. Or just listen to a vent from a friend. Make someone else’s day better. As florists and creatives, we tend to be in our heads like most of our waking hours. Take the time to help or listen and you’ll get out of your head and open up your viewpoint a little more.  

Six- Share what you’ve got...You are doing people a disservice by not sharing your knowledge. Sure, you’re not the center of their universe, but you’re you. You may be doing the exact thing as someone else out there. Do it your way. There are people out there will relate to you better, resonate with your personality more than that other person.

Seven- Don’t bullshit. WHAT? You don’t have the answer to everything?!? Point them in the right direction. That’s a proven way to get yourself bitten in the ass. You’ll be called out eventually and it will wreck your self-esteem and credibility. You may be seen in your field as an “expert” but if you don’t know an answer it is best to just be honest and say, “Hey, that’s a really good question maybe I could check it out...Or look to so and so for that sort of question.” Nobody is going to hate you for saying you don’t know. They will love you though for helping point them in the right direction with their question.  

Eight- Reevaluate failures. You didn’t get the job...Maybe they weren’t the right client. Of course, that’s not always the case, but attracting people who are excited to work with you is very important. Take the failure as a way to improve. To see what you could’ve done better. You can’t please everyone and you can’t be everything to everybody.

Nine- Make tiny goals, checking them off will help you feel better. Get in the habit of working on one or two little things that will add towards a big goal. Practice that technique that will give you a next level advantage.

Ten- Keep on trucking. Like back on tip #1.5 Keep your eyes on your own arrangement or business or project or paper. Conquer that goal. Keep on track and when you reach the finish take the time to give yourself a high five, pat on the back and a big 'ol glass of celebration to toast.

Thank you for listening! Have a flower filled weekend! Be sure to sign up for the podletter if you haven't already. Getting the word out to other creatives and florists is so helpful, be sure to fill in a friend, I would be so grateful!