Imposter syndrome can be loosely defined as a lack of confidence in your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It affects around 70% of the population, both women and men. Freelancers who very often work alone, or who, if they are part of a team, are frequently considered to be either“newcomers – first leavers' ', are particularly exposed to this feeling of illegitimacy. Getting feedback on your work and needing recognition is completely legitimate but often out of reach for freelancers, especially in an ultra-competitive tech and data world, which leaves little room for subjectivity and empathy.

Impostor syndrome can lead to denying one's own merit, the doubting of one's skills and attributing one's success to external causes such as luck or external relationships, rather than one's qualities. To compensate, many of us immerse ourselves in work, compulsively or relentlessly in order to reassure ourselves or others about our abilities… at the risk of burn out.

During our Comet Free Talk dedicated to impostor syndrome, we had the pleasure of welcoming Charles-Louis Allizard alias ok_charlo, an expert specializing in coaching freelancers in tech and data. Check out some of his tips below to understand this pesky shadow.

Simply live better in your daily, professional and personal life.


1. Understand the difference between confidence and skills 

Faced with a new project, it’s normal to have moments of insecurity: am I competent enough to fulfill this mission and meet expectations? Will I be successful helping my client achieve their objectives? Self-doubt is completely healthy. The problem is when doubt keeps you from moving forward. It’s important to distinguish between your self-confidence and your skills. It’s helpful to keep in mind that confidence is not a condition for action, it is a result of action (even if it may not feel like this all the time). Your missions as a freelancer will enrich your skills. They will help you evolve, just like your self-confidence during your journey.

2. Cultivate your incompetence in search of new solutions

Everyone experiences difficulties. So stop comparing yourself to others! Be confident in the direction you want to take in your professional and personal life. 69% of tech and data freelancers in the Comet community choose their assignments based on the skills they want to improve. 51% use their to upskill via personal or open source projects. Learning and up-skilling occupy a prominent place among freelancers. 

3.Communicate, communicate, communicate 

Stop being such a narcissist! Most of the time, impostor syndrome stems from your fear of what others will think of you. What if you reversed this trend? Ask yourself how you can help others: what is your customer's or co-workers’ need? How can you define those objectives in order to help achieve the results? Dialogue is often the key to help you focus your efforts and your attention on the essential.

4. Accept not to be a total expert et choose your environment

You will never be a total expert. But you do have specific skills. Find your niche, and identify what stack is needed to carry out your project. It is also important to find an environment in which you can thrive. Check out  our blog, for more advice, good practices and shared experiences to help you on a daily basis.

At Comet, we want to lead the way to a fulfilling, flexible and innovative world of work. Our Comet Free Talk webinar series with Charles Louis Allizard is part of this approach to promote more well-being at work via sustainable and ethical freelancing.