Did you know that some people have anxiety over authority figures?
That used to be me.
I used to be afraid of coaching doctors, lawyers, therapists, police officers, or anyone with many titles after their name that in my perception, were authority figures. I used to think that I didn’t measure up.
The fear of authority figures is a type of social anxiety. The roots always lie, as in other types of social anxiety, in the fear of being judged or negatively evaluated.
Being the youngest kid in my family, I always had an older sibling, aside from my parents, telling me how to be, how to do things better, how to behave in certain settings, how to behave around adults, what to say, what to wear, etc. I was taught, inadvertently, to highly respect and even fear authority figures.
It was all well-meaning of course, but in my little mind, I began to lose trust in myself. I started to feel powerless over authority figures.
What sometimes happens is that this fear of authority figures turns into an authority bias. Meaning, we give our power over to them instead of trusting our own instincts.
Authority figure social anxiety is common in workplaces where you have to communicate with the boss or other people in leadership. You may notice that you behave completely differently when talking to people in authority. You feel the “social pressure” and perhaps start to worry about saying or doing things incorrectly.
Since you stopped trusting yourself long ago, you start to think a lot about what you say and how you say it, how you come across and fear damaging your reputation. This slowly eats away at your self-esteem and self-worth. But having overcome it myself, I know you can too.
Fast forward to the present, I can confidently tell you that I’ve coached many authority figures in all kinds of different professions (not yet a police officer, though!👮).
I began to trust myself and my intuition. I took my power back, instead of giving it away. I recreated the stories I told myself about the people I considered “above me”. I let them keep their own power without diminishing mine.
If this is you, I have a few more tips to take your power back:
1. Focus on the person – not the power. Remember that this person is human and goes home at night just like you.
2. Avoid defending your position. You don’t need to.
3. Be aware of your body language – don’t step back, make yourself small, or avoid eye contact.
4. Trust their guidance if you want, but without losing yours.
5. Remember that we are all human. Ultimately, you are the only one that has authority over YOU and your thinking and behavior.
6. Stop being afraid of being yourself.
Stand tall, my friends. Stand tall. 🧡