Motherly Collective

I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and when COVID hit, that became the reality for my family. As I was thrust into the role I always wanted, I soon discovered that I really liked to keep my mind busy with projects that didn’t involve the house and kids. So, like many during the pandemic, I decided to pursue a passion project: I wanted to funnel my energy into writing picture books but I just didn’t know where to start. 

I soon felt very overwhelmed. I began to think that I was unqualified, unprepared and not knowledgeable enough about the book industry. A creeping thought started making its way into my brain: Was I even good enough?

Related: 6 strategies to keep your career alive while becoming a stay-at-home mom

I soon pushed back at this self-doubt and realized that all authors started somewhere. I was determined to push forward and the more I learned, the more excited I became about achieving my dream.

Throughout the process of becoming a published author, imposter syndrome often reared its ugly head and every time it did I decided to challenge those thoughts. Here are 5 main “tricks” I used when confronting my self-doubt.

Overcoming imposter syndrome: 5 tips to live by 

1. Remember: Your unique life experience qualifies you to be right where you are

Nobody has walked in your shoes. Your education, whether in the classroom or through lived experiences, is one-of-a-kind. You have a story to tell and a perspective to share and there is no other you.

A good friend recently told me, “I’m impressed you have no feelings of imposter syndrome.” She shared that she didn’t know what would qualify her for a new position she’s pursuing and I then explained to her that her education, professional experience, background and passion for what she does is exactly what qualifies her for that role. Sometimes it takes talking to someone else about their path to realize it applies to your own as well. 

Related: To the working mom who’s also a stay-at-home mom: I see you

2. Ask yourself: “If not me, then who?”

Seriously. Who has a better idea than you? There are so many people sitting around considering what to do next. You can be the person who makes the move. The sense of accomplishment you have when you complete it will be worth it!

3. Lean into a growth mindset

You don’t need to know it all right now to be great at what you’re doing. No one knows everything. Start with the basics and build from there. It is OK not to know things and it’s okay to look things up. If you’re unsure about something, ask for help. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help someone who’s just starting out.

Related: It’s science: A major factor in child development? The mother’s mindset.

4. Portray confidence until it comes naturally

Fake it until you make it. Take action (practice positive thinking, a new routine, etc.) until it becomes a habit. Your habits become your natural way of thinking and one day you’ll realize you really do feel competent and confident with what you’re doing. 

5. Keep in mind: no one knows how you’re feeling inside except you (and they don’t need to!)

You know that feeling you have right before you take a test? Give a speech? Have a big meeting? Submit a new piece of writing? The one that makes you feel nervous and unsure and want to run away? No one knows it is there except for you! No one knows that you are nervous unless you tell them, and when you do, they start looking for signs of that nervousness rather than focus on what you’re doing and why you’re qualified to do it. If others assume you are comfortable, they’ll be more likely to view you as competent and confident and tune into your message.

If you’re in a spot where you’re starting to feel that uncertainty creep in, making you feel unsure about whether you “belong”, it helps to remember that everyone is still learning and growing. Everyone starts somewhere. Try singular prioritization where you’re only focused on your goal and the next steps that will get you there. Put your confident face on, jump in, do some research and ask for help if you need it. You’ve got this!

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.