Back in 2011, Amanda Palmer gave a Commencement Speech to the graduating class of the New England School of the Arts that resonated with me more than I really would have liked to have admitted.
Prefer the transcript? Head over to her forum post.
i am going to tell you today about something that my friends and i call ‘the fraud police’. the fraud police are this imaginary, terrifying force of experts and real grown-ups who don’t exist and who come knocking on your door at 3am when you least expect it, saying “fraud police. we’ve been watching you and we have evidence that you have no idea what you are doing. and you stand accused of the crime of completely making shit up as you go along. you do not actually deserve your job and we’re taking everything away. and we’re telling everybody.”
Every single person out there has had a round of the Fraud Police at least once in their life, if not struggling through them sitting in the back of your head almost every single day of your life. I’m betting more often than not, most folks would lean towards the latter. I know that the seed of doubt sits in the back of mine pretty much every day, waiting for me to hesitate just a moment too long so it can pipe up about how stupid and useless I am… how much of a fraud I’ve perpetrated throughout my career and that someone is going to catch me out soon.
I wish I could say that there was a quick and easy listicle that I could post to banish the Fraud Police once and for all, but I haven’t found one yet. The biggest pain with the Fraud Police hanging out in your brain is that they change up tactics just when you think you’ve won the battle with them.
The best thing that I can really say is keep working through it until that voice becomes a dull roar. Whether your way of doing that is to tell the Fraud Police off, or just politely ignore them until they chill out, it’s up to you and your personality. We all have our Fraud Police, even if that’s not what you call them. They only win if you pay attention to them.