Episode 80 - Overcoming Imposter Syndrome with Margie Keates

Season #3

Learn about the many sources of imposter syndrome and how you can overcome it as a paper florist. Includes special guest Margie Keates.

Can I raise my prices or try something new? What if I fail? What if people don’t like it? Do I even deserve to be called an artist?

If these doubts sound familiar, you’ve met our old friend imposter syndrome. 


Can we let you in on a secret? We’ve all dealt with feeling like our art wasn’t good enough. We’ve all carried hurtful comments with us for years. Every paper florist, no matter how put together they seem, has to deal with these feelings on a regular basis.

The amazing Margie Keates of The Lovely Ave joined us in our latest episode of Paper Talk to cover this very topic. All three of us have extensive experience with imposter syndrome, and our conversation delved into the many places these feelings come from and how we handle those doubts. 

You should listen to the entire episode to glean all sorts of useful insights about how you can understand and tame your imposter syndrome. If you can’t listen right away, we’ve got three tips for tackling one of the sources of imposter syndrome: a lack of support from others. 


Mute Unhelpful Voices

Starting a business takes a leap of faith. Many of us left successful careers in other fields to start our paper flower businesses. That’s scary enough as it is, but it’s even worse when someone close to us doesn’t believe in our decision. 

You probably have a memory of someone you respect or love not taking your art seriously. A disbelieving look, a series of questions about our sanity—you get the picture. In the episode, we revisited some of our past hurts and how they’re still with us years later. Seriously, they’re persistent. 

It’s okay for you to avoid those Negative Nancies. We’re trained to be polite and not step on other people’s toes, but if someone is hurting you, you don’t have to stay friends with them. Sure, be polite with your words—don’t keep subjecting yourself to someone who is unhelpful. You don’t need more doubts piling up and sticking around for ages.

This goes for online, as well. If following a certain paper florist makes your imposter syndrome flare up, then hit that mute button. Unfollow, if you have to. It’s okay. 


Find a Supportive Community

Sometimes you can altogether avoid interacting with negative voices, but what do you do when you can’t? What if your dad just doesn’t understand how you could go all in on paper flowers, and he seems to bring it up at every family dinner?

You need an avalanche of support to drown out those unhelpful voices that you can’t avoid. Our best suggestion is our Facebook group. Yes, we talk about it a lot, but only because it is seriously amazing. 

Our community encompasses paper florists from around the world who gather to share tips, ask questions, and cheer each other on. It’s overflowing with the positivity you need to bolster yourself against those unhelpful comments in your life. 

In some ways, it’s also easier to share your difficulties and successes with people who live halfway across the globe. You don’t have to sit across from them at the next family dinner and fear that they’ll comment on your latest venture—and if our community was there, we guarantee they would only ever give positive feedback. 


Ask a Mentor

The paper flower industry is fairly new—practically a baby compared to many other crafts. All of us started our businesses from scratch and often without much guidance. We’ve dealt with imposter syndrome at every step of the way: from first starting out, to gaining our footing, to becoming established and respected voices in the community. 

Who better to ask for help along the way than those who have been through it? Our entire episode of Paper Talk is basically a mini mentoring session dedicated to helping people like you learn from our experience with imposter syndrome. We want to help. We love it!

That’s why we’re so excited to offer another opportunity to be mentored by us. On Saturday, February 20 we’re hosting another Paper X Talk. Margie will join us to delve into imposter syndrome even more. You will walk away with tools on how to deal with imposter syndrome, how to find your voice, and how you can learn to be an elastic artist who tries new things. Tickets are only $10 in advance, and you’ll have access to the recording afterwards so that you can reference it later.

Even better, after the main conversation and Q&A you will have the opportunity to add on a breakout mentoring session for $5 with one of the three of us. We’ll each take on a different topic and will only offer five spots for each room so that we can have an interactive discussion. This is a fantastic opportunity to ask us questions and start conversations about what you most need help with.

As Margie said,

“I wish I would have had this when I first started, even year three of my journey.”


Hear more about this lecture and our entire discussion about imposter syndrome by listening to our latest episode of Paper Talk. 

Here’s what you’ll hear when you listen to our conversation:

  • The many sources of imposter syndrome and how we deal with them.

  • Our early struggles establishing ourselves as artists.

  • How to walk that line between imitation and inspiration.

  • Why you should stretch yourself as an artist and try new things.

  • Overcoming that polite urge not to disregard people’s opinions, even if they’re holding us back.


Remember to join our Facebook group, and please consider supporting us on Patreon for even more great content like this.


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