For as long as I can remember, I relied on borrowed confidence. This is when you rely on others to tell you that you are good enough, that you are smart enough, that you are able to do something, that you deserve more than you currently have, etc. You put it on others to believe in you instead of believing in yourself due to self-limiting beliefs, low self-confidence, and other issues. You are always looking for others to give you your worth through words, actions, and esteem. Is this something you are familiar with?
Today I want to talk to those of you who are struggling with imposter syndrome and are counting on others to believe in you and give you the affirmation you should be giving yourself. It’s time to believe in yourself.
The Back Story
After college, I flew out to a job interview on the other side of the state. When I tell you that I was worried about everything, I am downplaying my anxiety.
Would they like me?
What if I didn’t answer the questions correctly?
Would my make up melt during the flight?
What if it wasn’t the right job?
What if they thought I was someone else and mistakenly called me?
Would I be able to adequately show my value to them?
Let me remind you that I didn’t go directly to college after high school. I decided to pass Go and wait awhile due to my financial situation, so I was not a spring chicken when I was worrying about all these things. I should have been a full-grown duck, but something stunted my growth: doubt, low self-esteem, low self-worth. Instead of enjoying the opportunity to shine, I wanted someone to turn off the spotlight.
Back to the plane. Picture this with me: I am on the plane channeling my inner Zeyonce, ready to go ace this job interview somehow once I quieted all my fears, when I open my home-cooked meal from my mother: chicharron and egg tacos a la mexicana. OMG!! As soon as I opened the foil, the other passengers on the plane knew there was a Mexican on the flight. To top it off, she had packed me like five tacos. I had to eat them all because I knew better than to throw away food. Thinking about this now, I know my mom did it with so much love and belief that I would rock that interview. Her belief in me and my potential is what had already carried me that far. I did not realize it then, but it is clear as day now how much she was rooting for me. In that moment, my lack of belief in myself made it that I couldn’t clearly see how strong her belief in me was. Instead, I only felt embarrassment that everyone on the plane could smell my food. Thank gawd they were delicious and made it so I could worry on a full stomach…no one wants to spend time criticizing themselves while hungry.
When I got to the interview, my head was full of doubts and limiting beliefs. I was shown around the refinery, introduced to the staff, and told the job responsibilities. I was also asked to speak with another manager who had seen my resume and was impressed with the experience I already had. (Each summer, I completed an internship to help with my household budget and gain experience in industry.) The manager gave me a quick interview and said that I would be a better fit in his department rather than the one that I had applied for. I remember being so overwhelmed because I did not believe that I could handle moving away. Instead of hearing all the words people were saying to me, I heard things from that little voice inside my head. Things like:
Can I really handle all these responsibilities?
Will I be able to make it?
What if I fail miserably?
Do they even have salsa verde in West Texas?
Is it good?
Would I be able to live away from family and friends?
Would it be better if I said “no”, so I didn’t let everyone else down when I failed?
Sis, there were so many unknowns that I managed to fill my head with obstacles that didn’t even exist yet. In fact, I listened to that little nagging voice inside my head so intently that by the time I got off the plane I already knew I didn’t get the job and wouldn’t take it if they were crazy enough to offer it to me because I would surely fail if I did. That voice was so good at telling me where I belonged that when the company called to offer me the job, I declined because I knew I wasn’t worthy of it.
I ended up taking a position at the refinery in my hometown. After working there for a couple of years, I was approached by a manager who suggested I apply for a higher position. I literally thought to myself, “ME?!” Did he really mean to tell me to apply? My limiting beliefs have always taken the best from me and this was no different. I just could not see what he saw in me. I ended up applying for the position and getting the job. But let me not pretend that I did it because I believed in myself. I totally only applied because I didn’t want him to think bad of me if I didn’t. This is an opportunity that I would have missed because I did not believe in myself. If it weren’t for me being a people pleaser, this would have passed me like a neon yellow hand-me-down that is three sizes too small. I am so thankful to this day to that manager for suggested I apply. When I reflect back on the situation, I see that like my mother when she put me on that plane to West Texas, this manager was also rooting for me and saw potential in me that I could not.
I’d love to tell you that I started believing in myself once I stepped into the new position, but I’d be lying chicas. That’s right. EVEN AFTER I WAS WALKING IN MY POTENTIAL, I STILL DIDN’T SEE IT.
I can share with you a hundred other times where my belief in myself has been nonexistent but thankfully there was someone there to carry me. I am sure that there have also been many missed opportunities from times when I just could not see past the glare of all my doubts. It has taken me till NOW, to finally believe in myself and take risks to never let another opportunity pass me by. Getting here has been no walk in the park. It has actually been exceedingly difficult to believe in ME. To really and truly, 100% believe in ME all the time.
Once I started to really and truly believe in ME, the world looked a whole different. I no longer had a head filled with insecurities but a mind full of possibilities. My demeanor, stance, look, walk, and posture all changed. I no longer questioned if I could or should, I just did.
Walking into a room and owning your power by honestly believing in yourself can make a world of difference. When you genuinely believe in yourself the universe will put opportunities at your reach. Be prepared to grab them.
I walk differently, talk differently, sit differently, share differently, and am different from the woman I was when my head was always looking down because I didn’t believe in myself enough to look eye to eye with others. I am no longer afraid to share my opinions and give my input when asked…some would even tell you I do it when not asked. I own who I am because it took me a lot of work to get here. And I want YOU to come along with me. That’s why I pour my heart out each month here on the blog. It’s why I work a full-time job AND run Empowered Fem in my “free” time. It’s why I surround myself with a group of badass women who empower me as I empower you. And it’s why today we are going to rewrite your future chapters. Starting now.
Rewrite Your Chapters – 8 Mindset Changes to Believe in Yourself
Are you ready to rewrite your future chapters by changing your mindset and shutting up that inner voice once and for all? I need you all to come like a wrecking ball at those negative thoughts and terrible inner struggles. It’s time to rise and endure the struggle so you too can talk about “back when” instead of today when you refer to those times you passed up opportunities and let go of good things because you didn’t think you were enough.
Remember sis, no one is going to know you better than you and no one is going to believe in you more than you. Get out of your head and start believing that you can do all you desire to do. Start to believe that you will conquer your biggest battles, that your talents are enough, that you are amazing just how you are. Your future self will thank you. And all the girls coming behind you who see how far you’ve come will thank you as they look up to you. Here’s how you do it.
Have a clear vision of your dream. Imagine how every aspect of your dream looks, feels, and smells. See yourself in all the phases of your dream. Make your vision clear, concise, and so real that you can walk in and out of it in a blink of an eye. If you imagine the big picture, then you will have less resistance when it happens.
Create a vision board or set aside a few journal pages so you can paste pictures of what your future will look like. Keep it near you and look at it each morning, picking one thing that you will work toward that day.
Trust your intuition. We often forget to listen to our inner voice because we doubt our worth and therefore think we can’t make strong decisions without input from others. STOP IT! Make time to listen to that gut feeling. Do not catch yourself saying, “I knew it.” Be proactive. If something does not feel right, then it probably is not. If something feels like it is a risk worth taking, sit on it for an hour or two and go for it if you still feel the same way.
Allow yourself to trust your gut at least once per day in things as little as what to eat for breakfast and as big as whether to accept that date with the new guy from the apartment down the hall. The more you give yourself permission to trust your instincts, the greater you will trust them as you see you won’t fail.
Surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. These are the people that are going to propel you to greatness. They will be there when you start to get an ounce of doubt. Behind the scenes, they are the ones who are praying for you, talking praises about you, and cheering you on. They are the people that want nothing in return but genuinely want to see you succeed.
If you can’t think of people like this in who you already know, get a new set of friends. You will need people in your corner as you step into who you are and struggle with the days that the spotlight shines on you.
Become comfortable with “NO.” You must come to terms with the fact that you will not win them all. Some doors are never going to open for you, but you need to find the ones that will. Do not give up or get discouraged. Learn to deal with a rejection. Only dwell on it for a minute, then start to think how you will make it different next time, get up, wipe the tears, and go attack again.
Allow yourself to get into one situation a week in which you may be told “No” and follow it through. Ask to work on the project just a bit above your paygrade. Approach a friend about that referral she mentioned a few months ago. Go ahead and ask out that guy who keeps showing interest in you. Submit the application you’ve been holding back on.
Get out of your own way. So many times, we sabotage ourselves because of fear, insecurities, and unknowns. Fear is natural; learn to manage it. Take deep breaths and be realistic. Most of the time, the worst that can happen really has minimal impact on you.
Record the FaceBook Live. Tell the world what you know in a YouTube video. Book that spot on the upcoming webinar. Write the blog. Start the business. Stop allowing yourself to be your biggest limitation and instead step into all your possibilities.
Have the courage to live up to your full potential. You know better than anyone else what you are capable of. Step into courage by taking small steps to conquer your fears. Stop procrastinating and making excuses. Courage must be built by doing things that make you uncomfortable. Just do it.
Give yourself one thing every week that seems like a courageous step and complete it. When you are done, move on to the next. At the end of the year, you’ll have completed 52 things you didn’t think you could do!
Build your confidence muscle. Make it a point to work out this muscle daily. Start off with recognizing how great you already are. You are made to shine. You have talents that no one else can duplicate. You are already one of a kind. Build up your confidence in everything that you do.
Do something each day that is a bit beyond your skill set. This is the best way to build your confidence in yourself. As you learn the new skill or conquer the next level, give yourself time to celebrate.
Define success on your own terms. Work towards your success and do not compare yourself to others. Your journey might take a little bit longer and that is okay. There is no competition to finish a marathon; the point is to finish. Your success is fully defined and attained by only you.
Define success in your journal or on a piece of paper that you include with your vision board. Write it clearly so you will know when you meet it. Set attainable goals that you can work towards to achieve your success story. Celebrate each win along the way.
Ready to Change Your Story?
When you begin to really believe in yourself, never again will your head have any question or doubt your capabilities. You will be able to own your destiny without needing permission from anyone. Unlocking this key to success will make a world of difference in your journey. The Hermes Baby Birkin will no longer be the first thing people notice when you enter the room; rather, they will need sunglasses because your poise and confidence shine so bright. Knock ‘em dead, SIS. I am rooting for you!
Have you listened to my LIVE interview with Liza Wisner, Chief Learning Officer of PowerUp.org? It is SURE to get you up out of your seat and believing in yourself. Press play on the video below so you can see how I’ve put my own words to use.