Updated: Mar 21
The phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt is often referred to as ‘imposter syndrome’. You’re worried people might think you don’t understand everything and fear that you would embarrass yourself in front of others. In this Step, we will show you that all women can be confident when they let go of societal conditioning and self-doubt. Imagine confidence as a muscle in your body: you won’t get a six-pack unless you work out. As women, we have unlearned how to use our confidence muscle early in life. We’re here to teach you to activate it again.
Hard Work and Resilience
The art of being confident is an acquired skill. Just like how you won’t suddenly get a six-pack after a day of exercising, confidence is an arrow that needs to be sharpened before letting it off the bow to hit the target.
But like every training that you undertake, confidence also requires trial and error. You can’t achieve this without letting yourself fall. Failure is the stairway to success. Setbacks are normal obstacles on the path to success. If you’re fully capable of embracing the failure, you’re fully capable of succeeding.
While this might sound easy, we know that reality is very different. If you feel that the imposter syndrome is creeping up on you, try some of these tips:
Acknowledge that you’re having a bad day and be as compassionate with yourself as you are with others.
Create a mental break. After acknowledging your bad day, create distance between yourself and the problem.
Put things into perspective and ask yourself if the problem would still be relevant to you after a year. If the answer is negative, make sure to let it go.
Stop ruminating. You can’t change what happened and overthinking will prevent you from moving on.
Courage and Overcoming Fear with Action
Do you often look at people on camera and wonder how confident they seem? Do you look at YouTube videos and tell yourself ‘I wish I could be that way’? It’s normal to think like that, but it’s also important to realise that these people started somewhere. Not every YouTuber began with an expensive camera, not every motivational speaker started on a large stage. They began slowly and started to grow steadily. With each day’s practise, they came closer to acquiring the art of being confident.
Courageous persons know they were not necessarily born courageous but had to work hard to acquire that trait. Once you know what you’re afraid of, you attain the power to control it and the fear itself loses its power. Our upcoming book Unleash Today contains an exercise that will help you to identify your own fear. Once you’ve identified your fear, you can train yourself to overcome it. If, at some point, you feel like the work is ‘too much’ or ‘too frightening’, do it anyway. Why? This is because forcing yourself to do something that seems like a hurdle will feel like an accomplishment. So do it!
Self-Esteem and Awareness
Don’t just try to be who you are, but fully own every aspect of what makes you who you are. Self-esteem must come from within you instead of from outside sources, like others' recognition. Be proud of who you are and who you aspire to be.
If people consider you to be more reserved or shy, it would be a wonderful idea to work on your posture. We learned about postures and its importance in Step One, so do have a look at that chapter to know more in detail.
Over a period of time, your confidence can seem intimidating to some and they won’t like it. And that’s okay. Not everyone has to like you, just as you won't like everyone either. It is all the more important that you build up resilience do deal with people who don’t like you -- while being the best version of yourself!
Raise Your Voice and Sit at the Table
One thing is for sure: You will never be handed the fruit of your labour on a silver plate. You have to ask for it instead. This reminds me of the saying ‘you snooze, you lose’. Just like you will wake up too late when your alarm clock snoozes, it’ll be too late to ask for something when the time has ticked away.
Become more conscious of your behaviour and take charge by stepping forward and claiming a seat at the table. Make it a habit to raise your hand during discussions, to speak up first, and lead presentations whenever possible. Make an effort to stop hiding behind your colleagues and refrain from overthinking how people might feel about you.
It may seem selfish, but there is absolutely no point in being there for someone when you’re not there for your own self. Stop taking accountability for anyone other than yourself.
The book provides many more tips in Step Two, such as how to practise confidence and claim your seat at the table while understanding the importance of humour. So, get your copy on the launch date of 30 March 2021 or pre-order on Amazon (UK, DE, FR) today. In case you can’t wait for the official launch, our YouTube channel Unleash Today provides for various webinars already now!
Shivani Nair is Unleash Today's Content Strategist based in Ahmedabad, India.