I know that “impostor syndrome” is something that most people feel, no matter how successful, loved, etc. I definitely feel it, but interestingly I realized today that I feel it much more acutely as a musician than as an actor. I’m generally pretty comfortable and confident when doing acting or voiceover work (not that I don’t have my moments of insecurity), but with music, it’s different. Especially when dealing with other musicians I respect or admire. I get super nervous and in my head. I wondered what the difference was and I have a theory. I think it’s because acting is far less “quantifiable.” It’s far more amorphous and subjective and hard to measure.

Though music has those qualities as well to some degree, there is a technical aspect to it that can be measured and quantified. How well you play technically and how much knowledge you have. Can you play any scale known to man at inhuman speeds? Not that this is by any means the end all, be all, but just one example of something quantifiable. Did they hear you mess up that note in that solo? I know that it’s ridiculous. I’ve been a musician for over 30 years. It’s one of the ways I actually make a living. The quantity and breadth of my experience is dense and deep. And yet I so often feel like some kind of “amateur” when dealing with other people. Or more accurately, I believe that is what they will think of me. It lines up with one of my core insecurities which is that I don’t have low self esteem at all. I am quite proud and confident of who I am and the gifts I possess, and yet for some reason I always think that no one but me recognizes that. I never assume my own self image will extend to others’ image of me.

We humans are strange. I’m not sure of the point of this post other to let all you fake impostors out there know that you are not alone. Even Paul McCartney admitted to feeling this way until fairly recently. Many of the people you idolize have the exact same feeling, though to us that would seem ridiculous. Just know that the only impostor is the lying voice that tells you you are going to be found out as an impostor.