EMAIL NUMBER 54
Thoughts on Impostor Syndrome
Scott P. Scheper
Downtown San Diego, CA
Wednesday 3:06 p.m.
Defined, Impostor syndrome is "a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills…"
This definition is, of course, a crock of horseshat.
I mean, to call feelings of self-doubt a "syndrome," is absurd. Unless you're a sociopath, you have feelings of self-doubt. To call it a "syndrome," is unhelpful. It makes people think self-doubt is a disorder unique to them. In reality, those who have self-doubt are some of the most non-disordered people out there. Self-doubt signals that you care about what you're putting out into the world.
I'm writing about this right now because I've spoken to quite a few Antinetters who tell me the thing holding them back from publishing their work stems from "impostor syndrome."
This is important to address because I see such a huge opportunity out there right now for creators. Because of the internet, you can make a HUGE impact——even in the smallest, most crazy-looking niche out there. (Exhibit A, yours truly, who has created a movement around a fricken' analog notebox system!)…
Anyway, a core part of reaching your audience and creating a lifestyle where you get to read, think, take notes and create something in a field you love——while also making a hell of a living——is reliant on one thing: hitting the publish button. That is, you need to publish your piece of writing, your email, a YouTube video, a book, or even a Tweet (I guess). And you need to push past "impostor syndrome" to do it.
But even after you hit the publish button, feelings of "impostor syndrome" start to creep in.
I mean, I myself, Scott P. Scheper, the analog knowledge revolutionary who has created a movement around writing and developing knowledge the old way (by hand) knows nothing of such a thing as impostor syndrome. I grew out of impostor syndrome after I made a few million at twenty-eight while sipping rum in the Virgin Islands.
I'm kidding, of course. (Not about the Virgin Islands part and being a young rich douchebag, I'm kidding about not getting impostor syndrome). Side note: Thank God I like blowing my money on expensive lime-green sports cars. Otherwise, I wouldn't be writing to you!
Anyway, I'll be honest. I'll tell you about the last time I got "impostor syndrome"…
Let me think… Hmmm…
Oh yes, I remember… The last time I got impostor syndrome was… um, on freaking Monday! No joke.
You see, I shipped out the first issue of The Scott Scheper Letter last week, and I also had an issue sent to my home. I did this because I personally wanted to get the same exact experience as my subscribers.
The newsletter arrived at my home via USPS Priority Mail on a cloudy Saturday afternoon right as my (tolerant) fiancé and I were about to leave for Temecula, California to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Anyway, as I tore open the packaging, I was mostly impressed, but also a little underwhelmed. You see, I micromanaged every part of this physical monthly newsletter. The typesetting, style, margins, and everything. My goal was to have it capture the magic and feel of the best old school physical monthly newsletters out there.
For the most part, I believed it achieved such. However, there were a few things I had gripes about.
First off, I told the printing house that I wanted high-quality paper like so-and-so's newsletter. However, when the newsletter arrived the paper was pretty basic b-word! WTF! I was irritated. I don't care what it costs. I want my people to have the very best paper. It's not that noticeable, but it's noticeable to me. And for the future issues, I'm going to make damn sure the paper quality is the finest. And by that I mean, thicker than your typical printing paper.
Second, I asked the printing house to use a three-hole punch and create holes in the issue so that my subscribers can store each issue in a binder. I guess they had too much coffee that day because these instructions were completely ignored. Squirrel! Idiots. Gripes… Not a huge problem, but still very annoying to me.
Third, and finally, on Monday I received an email from someone who wanted to cancel their subscription because "they couldn't possibly keep up with all the content." They said they absolutely loved the value it contained ("for what it's worth").
This one really kicked my "impostor syndrome" into gear. I thought to myself, Oh crap! I need to email all my Scott Scheper Letter subscribers asap and tell them that the first issue (which is twenty-four pages) is longer and more jam-packed than most issues!
I felt the need to apologize for the twenty-four pages of high-quality content that I put my heart and soul into (and wrote out by hand!).
Granted, there's a valid reason to feel this way. Old-school classic newsletters ranged from eight to twelve pages in length. Mine was twenty-four pages. My goal is to aim for sixteen to twenty pages. But with this first issue, I wanted to go out with a bang.
The bottom line: I began to feel self-doubt start to creep up. And I literally opened up a blank page in my Ulysses writing app to work on an email to pre-empt any perceived issues with it.
But before doing this, I took a step back, I gathered my thoughts, and decided to wait. I noticed my monkey mind creating a story about the self-perceived inadequacies of the issue. I decided to hold off and wait. If there were additional cancellations due to the newsletter being too long (and jam-packed with good stuff), then I'd address it then.
I exercised self-control, and trusted in myself. Within an hour a new email arrived——it was sent to a private email address I set up for my subscribers. I did this so their email would be labeled in red and bumped to the top of my email list. Soon one email came in, and then another, and then another, and another!
Emails started pouring in from people who got the first issue. People were loving it!
I'm still getting these emails (as I don't expect everyone to have read the entire thing yet), and man——it's feeling great.
In fact, I just got an email three hours ago from a long-time Antinetter (you've definitely seen him in the Antinet reddit, on YouTube, and even in Dan Allosso's book club). He wrote to me these words: "I love the letter already more than your book and YouTube channel combined."
I guess that's a compliment…?
(I'm kidding, it is).
I hope this story illustrates how "impostor syndrome" affects ALL OF US——even yours truly.
Impostor syndrome doesn't just refer to the fear of publishing, it refers to the fear of post-publishing! By that I mean, the fear we get after we put our work out in the world.
If I can impart a bit of advice before I close, if you have a fear of publishing, take action. Just start writing. "Motion over meditation," as the late great Gary Halbert used to say.
However, the exact opposite advice stands true if you suffer from the fear of post-publishing (i.e., you publish something and start experiencing impostor syndrome about it). When encountering this experience, the right route is "Meditation over motion."
Hopefully this helps, and as my subscribers now know… The Only Right Answer Is Test!
And stay crispy, my friend.
Scott P. Scheper
"A Man Who Is About to Help Tons of People Quit Their Job in 2023 and Spend Their Days Doing The Intellectual Work They Love"
P.S. #1 Guess what?! On Tuesday, January 10th at 11:00 a.m. PT, I will be relaunching the Antinet Zettelkasten book at the special "at cost" offer price! 500 more copies are about to come in, and they'll be made available starting on Tuesday!
If you're on the Waiting List I'll send you another email next week before it goes live!
P.S. #2 If you want to get the best physical monthly newsletter in the world about learning, writing, and marketing, get your free 1-month trial here: www.scottscheperletter.com/free-trial
If you're not already subscribed, there's twenty-two days left until you can signup to get the next issue.
P.S. #3 I don't advertise it publicly (because I wanted to see how it'd turn out first), but when you subscribe to The Scott Scheper Letter, you also get access to a private community of other Antinetters and subscribers. This group has really started to come to life lately! There's a group for Antinetters who study biblical and theological fields, a group for fiction writing, and an Antinetter group for historians. If you're a subscriber of The Scott Scheper Letter, be sure to login and browse around here: members.scottscheper.com
Wednesday 4:13 p.m.