Imposter To Shining Star: Overcoming Self-Doubt As A VTuber
Let me paint you a picture of my first-ever VTuber stream. I’m sitting in my gaming chair, full VTuber model loaded up, scrolling through the sea of 0 viewers on my dashboard, palms sweating and heart racing. I can barely hear the 8-bit intro music I meticulously picked out over the sound of my thumping pulse. With shaky hands, I began delivering my scripted introduction, but a mere thirty seconds in, I made a startling realization — my microphone was muted.
I scramble to unmute and end up accidentally minimizing OBS, losing half my composure in the process. By some miracle, I recover and make it through the introduction without any more hiccups, but inside I’m screaming, “I SUCK AT THIS!”
This moment encapsulates the overwhelming self-doubt and anxiety that accompanied my early days as a VTuber. In this post, I aim to delve into the imposter syndrome that plagues many new VTubers and offer a dose of encouragement, along with actionable tips to help navigate these feelings of inadequacy.
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t truly deserve your success, or that you’re merely one step away from being exposed as a talentless impostor, then this article is tailored just for you!
Table of contents
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Let’s start by defining this pesky phenomenon. Imposter syndrome involves feeling like a fraud and fearing being exposed despite evidence of your competence or qualifications. Common feelings include:
- Downplaying your own skills, achievements, or the praise you receive.
- Attributing your success to sheer luck rather than acknowledging your hard work and talent.
- Fearing the day when someone will unveil your perceived incompetence.
- Convincing yourself that you’re undeserving of the successes you’ve achieved.
During my early days as a VTuber, I was no stranger to these thoughts and emotions. When I miraculously gained 15 followers in my very first week, my inner monologue was a constant refrain of, “Pshh, I don’t deserve these followers. Sooner or later, they’ll see how terrible I am at this.” I brushed off my modest achievements as mere strokes of luck and hyper-focused on every mistake or criticism that came my way.
Through conversations with fellow novice VTubers, I’ve learned these plaguing doubts are incredibly common among new streamers. In fact, one friend of mine even canceled their grand debut because they believed their model “wasn’t good enough,” despite having poured months of hard work into it!
Why Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
What feeds these feelings of fraudulence for many starting VTubers? Unhealthy comparison habits! It’s so tempting when you’re new to measure yourself against the top streamers with millions of subscribers. But doing so can tank your confidence and enjoyment.
Let me share a personal anecdote that illustrates this point. Once, I decided to stream to my dedicated group of 5 followers right after watching Gura’s debut. As I stumbled over my words during the stream, a disheartening thought crept in, “Wow, I’m utterly garbage compared to this polished pro who already has a massive audience.”
But in reality, it was like comparing apples to oranges. Gura’s debut was backed by a well-funded corporate machine, and she already had a legion of dedicated Hololive fans. It was inherently unfair to judge my Day 1 against her well-established success. However, my inner critic latched onto this and used it to weave a narrative of inadequacy.
The key is to define success based on your own growth, not others’ standards. Avoiding direct unhealthy comparisons is crucial to silencing your inner doubter. Remember, you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree!
It’s Okay To Be A Work In Progress
Another confidence-sapper for new VTubers is the overwhelming pressure of perfectionism, where the expectation is that your debut and early streams must proceed without the slightest hiccup. Trust me, I’ve been there! When that minor audio glitch happened in my first stream, I felt nauseous, thinking I already ruined my chances of building an audience.
However, let’s bring in some much-needed reality here — `every VTuber, regardless of their popularity, grapples with technical glitches, off days, slip-ups, and awkward moments, especially during the initial stages! The key is being gentle with yourself when they happen instead of beating yourself up.
Here’s a reminder: Embrace the fact that you’re a work in progress. It’s all part of being a wonderfully imperfect human.
Strategies To Combat Self-Doubt
Learning to reframe my thinking was essential to battling imposter syndrome. Here are some other strategies that helped me silence my inner critic:
- Celebrating Small Wins: Instead of brushing off compliments or positive feedback as mere flukes, I made a conscious effort to acknowledge these little victories. Over time, I realized that these seemingly minor achievements have a remarkable way of compounding your confidence.
- Setting Process-Based Goals: I shifted my focus from outcome-oriented goals like “get 50 followers” to process-based goals such as “stream twice a week.” This shift in perspective kept me motivated, even during the inevitable ups and downs of the VTubing journey.
- Developing a Beginner’s Mindset: I frequently remind myself that I’m still in the process of learning and growing. Instead of chastising myself for mistakes, I adopted a more constructive approach by asking, “What can I learn from this?” This shift in mindset transformed setbacks into valuable learning experiences.
- Cognitive Restructuring: I actively honed the skill of recognizing and reframing negative self-talk. So, “I’m terrible at this” morphed into “I’m still in the process of learning and making progress.”
Once I put these strategies into practice, I experienced a substantial shift. I found myself more motivated than ever to continue improving rather than considering giving up. With each stream, my confidence swelled as I embraced the journey of growth. Now, don’t get me wrong — the inner critic still pipes up from time to time. However, I’ve become significantly better at recognizing it and confidently talking back!
It’s About The Journey, Not Just The Destination
Always keep in mind that your growth as a VTuber is a journey that unfolds over time. It’s essential to remind yourself that the destination you aspire to reach may seem distant, but every step you take along the way is a chance to learn, improve, and evolve.
In my first six months, I managed to gather around 30 subscribers. Admittedly, it was a bit disheartening to see what felt like slow growth. However, what kept me going was my shift in focus. Instead of fixating on the numbers, I decided to pour my energy into enhancing my content, building connections with my community, and most importantly, having a blast during my streams.
Some of my fondest early memories are the hilarious in-jokes and friendships formed with regulars during my “slow” period. With their encouragement, I kept leveling up my editing skills, jokes, improv, and camaraderie.
Then one day, it dawned on me — I had slowly but surely cultivated a small yet incredibly loyal community who genuinely cherished my content. I achieved this without the flash of viral fame or rapid numerical growth. What truly got me through the tough times, especially when imposter syndrome reared its head, was relishing every step of this incredible journey.
The truth is, you won’t always feel confident on this journey. But by focusing on each laugh, each connection, and celebrating small successes, you’ll get there. With time, you’ll go from feeling like an imposter to feeling like the shining VTuber star you were meant to be!
Phew, we’ve ventured through a treasure trove of insights today. To sum it all up:
- Imposter syndrome is common but conquerable for new VTubers! Arm yourself with the strategies and mindsets covered today.
- Avoid unhealthy comparisons, especially early on. Focus on your own definition of success.
- Be gentle with yourself as you learn. Mistakes are guaranteed and also golden opportunities.
- Celebrate small victories, embrace process-based goals, and enjoy the streaming journey itself.
Now get out there and start creating the magic only you can! Looking forward to seeing you shine bright.