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  • Dawson Propst

Breaking the Barrier of Self-Doubt

Have you ever felt unworthy of praise received at school or work? Perhaps you viewed yourself as a fraud and thought the world was mistaken for congratulating you. If so, then you have probably wrestled with imposter syndrome, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success.” I used to struggle with this phenomenon a lot. I don’t even know if I would have manifested the confidence to start a videography business if my first client opportunity was not thrust upon me, but perhaps that is a story for another time. Every individual aspiring to be something more must eventually realize that achieving greatness is often inhibited by self-doubt. The only remedy is to relentlessly pursue your goals until they become reality—even if it’s uncomfortable.

One of my most recent encounters involving a lack of confidence occurred last year during a client wedding shoot in a Catholic church. It was my first time working in a strict environment, and unfortunately, I ran into setback after setback. For example, I was denied access to the church’s sound cabinet even though I was already granted permission ahead of time and stated my reason for doing so. In addition, I was hounded by a church official who said my tripod was a fire hazard, and the priest also refused to be recorded by a wireless microphone. He stated, “This is a church, not Hollywood!” I catered to all of these orders without question and tried my best to not make anyone angry. I thought, “Who am I to contradict their wishes?”

The photographer I had previously worked with shot several weddings at this church. She saw what was happening, pulled me aside, and said something along the lines of: “You were hired by this couple for a reason. Do what you have to do and stand up for yourself. If you don’t get a shot that you need, there is no redoing it. Have some confidence!”

This advice stuck with me and helped me realize that I needed to stop letting everyone walk over me all the time. Rather than blindly cater to orders that made my work more difficult, I could ask questions, seek compromise and carry out the job I was hired to do while simultaneously respecting the sanctity of the church.

So far in my entrepreneurial career, I have learned that building confidence is a continuous process that takes time to fully achieve. The only way to learn is to pursue real-world experiences, make mistakes and grow from them. Being afraid to mess up, displease someone or ask a stupid question will get a person nowhere in life. Breaking the barrier of self-doubt is a strenuous but necessary step in recognizing one’s ultimate worth and potential. Nothing good comes easy, but most of the time, it is worth it.


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