Madeleine Trueman: How I Paved My Way to a Creative Career and Overcame Imposter Syndrome

Maddy Trueman

POPSUGAR Australia is dedicating the month of September to featuring the next generation of inspired thinkers and courageous individuals who are building and manifesting a brighter future — because the next gen is unstoppable. We will deliver personal essays from young Australians who are making a name for themselves, as well as inspiring thought pieces and interviews with rising talent across different industries throughout the month. Find all of our pieces here, and if there’s someone you think is missing, email our editor so we can share their story —

I will never forget the feeling of landing my first paid recipe development job. I felt so excited and motivated. I had paved my way to a career that I felt was right for me and found a way to monetise my passion. I remember that feeling of happiness clearly, a brief moment in time before the positivity was overshadowed by the familiar cloud of self doubt and worry.

I grew up surrounded by amazing parents, peers and mentors who have always celebrated my achievements, encouraged me to take risks and embraced every aspect of failure.

Despite this, I have spent a lot of my adult life filled with anxiety about doing a less-than-perfect job and feeling riddled by a persistent fear of being seen as a fraud. I have achieved many personal and professional achievements over the years and have still found myself feeling stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of self doubt, unable to internalise or own my successes.

My confidence has been tainted by a phenomena known as imposter syndrome.

It is estimated that 70% of all people will experience some aspect of imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Imposter syndrome is the personal belief that you are only successful due to luck, not because of
any talent or your abilities. It is characterised by harsh internal feelings that your achievements are undeserved. You feel as though you are a fraud.

Dr Valerie Young, an imposter syndrome expert and the author of the book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women has categorised the five types of people who suffer from these feelings.

The Perfectionist: An individual who feels as though they have failed when they don’t reach their extremely high expectations. The perfectionist experiences major worry about not doing something to the highest ability.

The Expert: An individual who feels like they need to know every single piece of knowledge about something before they begin and ensure that they meet every aspect of criteria for any given task. The expert’s biggest fear is being exposed for intellectual fraudulence.

The Soloist: An individual who believes that they are not good enough unless they have achieved the task on their own. They find it hard to ask for help and to delegate.

The Natural Genius: An individual who judges their competence based on the ease that they are able to complete the task. The natural genius wants to get things right on the first try.

The Superwoman/Superman: An individual who pushes themselves too hard in order to measure up to those around them. This is a cover up for their insecurities.

If you’re like me and finding yourself relating to the above categories and thinking ‘what now?’, then I promise you that it’s not all doom and gloom. I haven’t found a solution or a ‘cure’ to imposter syndrome but I
have definitely found a way to live alongside it.

Speaking up and breaking the silence about our feelings of self doubt is an amazing place to start. Try reaching out to peers, mentors and professionals to discuss these feelings, to feel heard and understood.

These thoughts and feelings are completely normal, so many people experience this day-to-day. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world, like Michelle Obama, Albert Einstein and Tom Hanks, have
spoken out about experiencing imposter syndrome.

We can channel our feelings of self doubt to drive us forward by reminding ourselves that despite all of the mental obstacles we still continue to grow and thrive each day.

Instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we can teach ourselves to admire the strength that we do have. We can inject self-love, patience and acceptance into every aspect of our being. We can do the work everyday and remind ourselves that we are worthy, capable and good enough, and that most importantly this is never solely based off our achievements.

Perfectionism can be a healthy drive to excel, but we need to forgive ourselves when inevitable failures happen. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and remember that success, happiness and imposter syndrome can all be intertwined.

You can follow Madeleine Trueman on Instagram.

Related Posts
Latest Living
The End.

The next story, coming up!