15 min

Episode 17: How we talk to our kids (and ourselves) about Imposter Syndrome The Best We Could: A Parenting Manual for Our Kids

    • Parenting

What matters more, a person's skill set, or the network of people who know about that person and their skillset?  As always, the answer is “it depends.” In this episode, I discuss Imposter syndrome and how it applies to adults (me specifically) and how this perspective might impact my children as they grow up.

Summary and Notes



[00:00:24] – Imposter Syndrome

[00:03:47] – Over-preparing/perfectionism….it’ll never be ready

[00:05:12] – Competence vs Confidence

[00:07:35] – The most important message

[00:11:24] – Conditioning in school vs the real world

[00:14:11] – Building social capital, rather than building a standalone skillset.

Quotes from the Episode:

“A lot of opportunity happens when we don't have full information. And if we wait to have full information on something, then oftentimes that opportunity will have changed or will have entirely passed us by.” [00:02:59]

“The people who have the least competence in a subject area are, generally speaking, those who have no qualms about putting themselves out there and advertising what it is they have and making claims about what it is that they can do.” [00:05:09]

“Rather than focusing on an absolute level of skill and comparing yourself to, other people who you may never meet. Focus instead on who you can help with, the skills that you have developed.” [00:07:38]

“You have to be able to find people who find your skill valuable.” [00:08:44]

Transcript Below

Today I want to talk about one of the things that comes up for me repeatedly, and I think it's useful for my kids to know this, and I think it's useful for other people to understand how I've kind of dealt with this over the years and how I think it's benefited me, but also how I think that it has really held me back. and that is something called imposter syndrome. Now, impostor syndrome is when. You don't feel that you are good enough to be doing what you're doing or you don't feel that you are up to par with your other contemporaries in a particular field. this kind of manifested itself for me early on, I would even say probably going back into, high school where I didn't, I was in the smart kid classes, but. I didn't really feel like I belonged in the smart kid classes, and I realized that there's a lot that just goes into saying the smart kid classes where I went to school, they broke you down into, the a B and C units.

And because they didn't think that kids were smart enough to figure this out, they put all the smart kids in the C. Level classes and all of the kids who are having challenges with the educational system. We're in the A-level classes. And so they thought that if they put the smart kids in the AA classes and the kids who are having problems in the C classes, that would unfavorably stigmatize the kids according to where they were, , kind of stratifying themselves. And they didn't think that we were smart enough to figure that out. So just to give you kind of an idea of the, The what the learning institutions were all about when, when I was a boy, that's the level of intellect that they thought that pretty much everybody was bringing to the game. And of course, the thing was that pretty much anybody could figure out where those kids stratified themselves in terms of not just their intellectual ability, but also their desire to be in school. I remember, there was this one kid who I went to school with who, He actually is a brilliant, brilliant kid. His mother passed away, I think maybe his freshman year of, of high school. And he actually went on to be a professor at a, at an Ivy league, university.

And in high school you would not have guessed that from just looking at his academics. he was, he was in those A classes, but he should not have been there. bringing this back to what we're talking about earlier with the imposter syndrome, so for me,

What matters more, a person's skill set, or the network of people who know about that person and their skillset?  As always, the answer is “it depends.” In this episode, I discuss Imposter syndrome and how it applies to adults (me specifically) and how this perspective might impact my children as they grow up.

Summary and Notes



[00:00:24] – Imposter Syndrome

[00:03:47] – Over-preparing/perfectionism….it’ll never be ready

[00:05:12] – Competence vs Confidence

[00:07:35] – The most important message

[00:11:24] – Conditioning in school vs the real world

[00:14:11] – Building social capital, rather than building a standalone skillset.

Quotes from the Episode:

“A lot of opportunity happens when we don't have full information. And if we wait to have full information on something, then oftentimes that opportunity will have changed or will have entirely passed us by.” [00:02:59]

“The people who have the least competence in a subject area are, generally speaking, those who have no qualms about putting themselves out there and advertising what it is they have and making claims about what it is that they can do.” [00:05:09]

“Rather than focusing on an absolute level of skill and comparing yourself to, other people who you may never meet. Focus instead on who you can help with, the skills that you have developed.” [00:07:38]

“You have to be able to find people who find your skill valuable.” [00:08:44]

Transcript Below

Today I want to talk about one of the things that comes up for me repeatedly, and I think it's useful for my kids to know this, and I think it's useful for other people to understand how I've kind of dealt with this over the years and how I think it's benefited me, but also how I think that it has really held me back. and that is something called imposter syndrome. Now, impostor syndrome is when. You don't feel that you are good enough to be doing what you're doing or you don't feel that you are up to par with your other contemporaries in a particular field. this kind of manifested itself for me early on, I would even say probably going back into, high school where I didn't, I was in the smart kid classes, but. I didn't really feel like I belonged in the smart kid classes, and I realized that there's a lot that just goes into saying the smart kid classes where I went to school, they broke you down into, the a B and C units.

And because they didn't think that kids were smart enough to figure this out, they put all the smart kids in the C. Level classes and all of the kids who are having challenges with the educational system. We're in the A-level classes. And so they thought that if they put the smart kids in the AA classes and the kids who are having problems in the C classes, that would unfavorably stigmatize the kids according to where they were, , kind of stratifying themselves. And they didn't think that we were smart enough to figure that out. So just to give you kind of an idea of the, The what the learning institutions were all about when, when I was a boy, that's the level of intellect that they thought that pretty much everybody was bringing to the game. And of course, the thing was that pretty much anybody could figure out where those kids stratified themselves in terms of not just their intellectual ability, but also their desire to be in school. I remember, there was this one kid who I went to school with who, He actually is a brilliant, brilliant kid. His mother passed away, I think maybe his freshman year of, of high school. And he actually went on to be a professor at a, at an Ivy league, university.

And in high school you would not have guessed that from just looking at his academics. he was, he was in those A classes, but he should not have been there. bringing this back to what we're talking about earlier with the imposter syndrome, so for me,

15 min

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