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Imposter syndrome is common

You feel inadequate.

You just can’t believe that you are capable of performing at the required level,or worthy of being promoted to your new level.

You feel like you have been faking your way to where you have come, and sooner or later people will realise.

Imposter syndrome is the tendency to be unable to internalise accomplishments. Many people experience imposter syndrome during the long process of finding their feet in a new role, whether this be as a parent, partner or in a work role.

We don’t realise that while we have not yet completely mastered all of the skills that we need, we are clearly showing a capacity to achieve what we are achieving. We don’t realise that it is normal to not feel comfortable in our new role until we have had a lot of practice and exposure. We need ‘muscle memory’ in our roles in order to feel that we belong and feel comfortable in our role, and this takes time.

It is normal to feel daunted while things are new, and in fact a lot of people around us are ‘faking it till they make it’ also. Meanwhile we feel like a fraud, pretending to play the role that we are in. We need to be patient with the process of adjustment and realise that it is normal. There is not necessarily a problem with our performance; it is just that we have not had the time or exposure to feel confident in our role yet.

Breathe; wait until it is all not new anymore, and then look around and see how you feel.

Kirsten-Hunter-Author

Dr Kirsten Hunter

Dr Kirsten Hunter is a clinical psychologist with 20 years’ experience.

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