Being Dad How To

How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Extreme close up photo of frightened eyes
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Imposter Syndrome is a persistent inability to realistically assess our suitability for a role. And it can grip many parents.

As a result, Imposter Syndrome sufferers can experience increased anxiety and stress, a lack of confidence, and a fear of moving outside their comfort zones.

We suffer from it because we have an innate fear of failure, and we’re also acutely aware of our doubts and shortcomings, yet when we look around us, we only see the success and confidence of others, which makes us feel like an outlier.

However, Imposter Syndrome only exists in our heads, so here are a few Imposter Syndrome coping strategies:

Realise you’re not the only sufferer

For some reason, we fail to acknowledge that other people feel the same as we do. We need to appreciate that everyone else has the same screw-ups and failures; just because they’re not shouting about the potty training disasters in their house, or the times they give in on screen time limits, or not having a clue how to help with homework, doesn’t mean they’re feeling any different from you. 

We usually totally overestimate how skilful or successful other people are. The reality is that everyone else feels just as insecure as you do.

Acknowledge accomplishments and celebrate successes

Create a list that you can refer to when you have moments of doubt, one that reminds you of how great you are and that other people think you’re great too. This helps reframe your mind and evaporate less helpful thoughts.

Celebrating success helps dispel thoughts that we’re undeserving and gives us confidence in our abilities. Also, make a point of celebrating both large and small wins.

Don’t get stuck in a cycle of ‘I can’t do this’ 

Those fraudulent feelings can all too easily prevent you from taking action. Success in anything only exists outside your comfort zone, so you need to take action – feel the fear and do it anyway, even if your head is full of self-doubt. As your comfort zone expands, have confidence in the fact that your levels of anxiety will reduce automatically.

Share your failures

We often see other people’s successes but not their flops, whereas we always see our failures. This gives us a poor perspective and makes us think of ourselves as less capable in comparison. Opening up with others can help demonstrate that you’re no different and that everyone has the same issues as you do. Ironically, it can often be easier to open up to strangers than those who know you well.

Reframe your position

Fear can often be the prevailing emotion when it comes to Imposter Syndrome, but you need to put it back in its box and look at the situation through a different lens. Instead of thinking that you are about to be found out, shift to acknowledging that you may not know all the answers right now, but also knowing that you are smart enough to figure things out. It’s a far more empowering way of looking at your situation.

This article and loads more can be read for free in the latest issue of FQ Magazine.

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