360 Live Media
360 Live Media is an event strategy and digital marketing agency in Washington, D.C. serving association, professional society, and not-for-profit conferences.

Career Advice from Your Inner Imposter

I’m an imposter.


At least that’s what my subconscious tells me with every new assignment I’m given—blank page staring up at me, taunting me with its emptiness. You’d think that after doing this for as many years as I have and collecting no small amount of Lucite along the way, eventually this Imposter-itus would fade. But it doesn’t.


It’s a conclusion I’ve arrived at with every new project I’ve ever been assigned, going back to day one. With each new undertaking, I’m convinced that this one will finally be the one that stumps me—outing me to the world for the imposter that I really am. But, knock on wood, so far, with each new challenge; somehow, someway, I’ve lucked into a solution.


Some, I’ve been lucky enough to knock out the park (with no small assist from an entire team of equally talented professionals). It’s been my experience that if you swing for the rafters long enough—eventually you get there.


It’s that loudmouthed voice of insecurity that sees something that’s perfectly okay, and declares it “not good enough,” that drives me to push further. But it’s also this feeling of “not good enough,” that I credit for the success I have had.


Now, mind you, when I talk about “good enough,” it’s in the context of personal bests—not industry. Because, believe me, there are gobs of better writers than me. In fact, it’s the desire to be among them that drives me, but it’s also this revelation that provides a measure of credibility to my inner imposter and goads it into to needling me even harder, making me dig even deeper.


So, what’s the secret to succeeding as an imposter?


Simple. Surround yourself with people who are better than you.


Over my career, I’ve been privileged to work with some of the most talented creatives and account teams the industry has to offer. At 360 Live Media, I’m a mere hound dog among Greyhounds. A deeper bench of talent would be hard to find.


That alone, ensures the bar is always moving upwards, encouraging your inner imposter to point out just how insurmountable it is—prompting you of the need to jump even higher. Then, should you manage to clear that bar, the sheer act of doing so puts it out of reach once again.


Call it a carrot-and-stick approach to motivation. Only, in this version, the carrot is tied to a stick and the other end of the stick is tied to your forehead, the carrot dangling just out of reach of your fingertips. Deep down, I know I’ll never catch that carrot.


Because, the day I do, or the day I stop trying—will be the day I retire.