The Impostor Inside

Nate Butler
3 min readFeb 9, 2016


Chapter One —

Everyone has felt that creeping feeling. The feeling that you just couldn’t possibly belong. That somehow you are here by mistake. It’s terrifying because it feels true.

There is a voice inside of me. One that constantly tells me that I don’t belong. The truth is, sometimes I believe that voice.

The impostor is there to remind me of the things I’m afraid to say. You are not a real designer. You just got lucky. You are not as talented as your peers. Even while I read stories of many great people who have struggled with Impostor Syndrome, I wonder if I can really compare my feelings to what their experiences.

My struggles with self value make me feel like I’m not meant to be here.

In my early years of post-secondary education I struggled greatly with Impostor Syndrome. I didn’t enjoy my classes as I felt like I was learning more on my own, and yet, I saw the skill gap between my friends and I widen. That gap became a chasm. I no longer belonged, and missed out on many opportunities.

I was afraid to apply to internships, and unwilling to leave my job to search for something more challenging. I was afraid I was already working over my level and would not be able to find something else. I didn’t seek mentorship because I feared that my lack of skills would be exposed.

Afraid, afraid, afraid.

The crippling fear that impostor syndrome brings can leave you in a hole that feels like you just can’t get out of.

Well — I’m here to tell you that there is hope. You are not an impostor.

You did not end up here by accident.

You don’t have to give in to the voice in your head, and here is how you are going to prove it:

  • Trust others. Trust that they know what they are doing. You were hired for this job for a reason. You made it into that school for a reason. By doubting yourself you are doubting everyone involved in the process. And for the people that trusted you, create something good!
  • Break the cycle. Every time you feel like you don’t belong reflect on your accomplishments. Tell yourself that you do belong, and that you are here for a reason. Take joy in finding what that reason is and working towards accomplishing it.
  • Challenge yourself. Don’t shy away from a problem or learning a skill because it takes you out of your comfort zone. You deserve to contribute. Let the world know what you want to say.
  • Confide in others. You might be surprised at how many people feel the same way. Encourage each other. Sometimes simply verbalizing your thoughts can help you see things differently.
  • Be confident. Don’t place your value in other’s opinions of you. Even the positive opinions of others can cripple your self confidence. Julie Zhou said it best in her article The Impostor Syndrome: “Experience makes anything look easy, but insecurities never fully disappear… [however] it gets easier. You start trusting yourself. You’re an imposter less and less, and you’re yourself more and more.”

When the voice inside you starts whispering, remember that you are here for a reason. You were not chosen by mistake.

You worked hard, struggled long and now you have made it to the place you belong.



Nate Butler

Designer & maker working out of the Toronto area 🇨🇦 relearning the joy of creating + radical self care · he/him 🪴