We are entering women's history month. I wanted to touch upon a common issue that plagues many women and, even more so, women of color and first-generation professionals, which is the pernicious feeling of inadequacy, of not being good enough.
To counteract this feeling, many of us resort to "faking it until you make it" or "blending to fit in" and other unhealthy behaviors until we almost feel like strangers in our own skins. The worst part is that many of these strategies end up backfiring because our presence does not reflect the level of authenticity and confidence required to lead at work or in life.
After all, if you don't believe your story, why anyone else?
How can you start building an internal narrative that will help you stop feeling inadequate?
How can you start creating a story that you not only believe but commit to living by?
There are internal roadblocks to overcome to get the mind to shift from fear and shame about yourself to fully living, believing in your own power. However, here are a few strategies that can help you arrive faster to that place of confidence, living at your best and most authentic self.
We have all heard this greek aphorism at some point, and depending on how much of a history buff you are, it can mean many things. However, I like to interpret it in the light of acquiring self-knowledge and obtaining answers towards building the case for sustained confidence in self. In other words, the building blocks of what constitutes your most genuine and boldest self: Your Voice.
Here are a few things you can do:
Define your core values.
If there is one thing you can do to get clear on what you care about, know your core values. Values are our north stars and that wall that we bounce situations or ideas at. Being crystal clear on your values will help you understand yourself. Better yet, it will help you gain that unshakable confidence you are looking for.
Know your strengths.
Believe it or not, even the most ordinary person in the world has a superpower, that one thing (or five!) that they are good at or do it with more comfort than anything else. Sometimes, it's hard to identify them if we are bog down on negative self-talk. For that reason, I like to provide my clients with the Strengths finder assessment as part of my VIP package, so there is no "maybe" or any other doubt about your strengths. As a result of taking this assessment, I can immediately see an increase in confidence, more valuable yet; the review provides you with clear description and words that can be internalized and adapt to your internal narrative.
Embrace your past.
This is another area that is commonly overlooked even hidden, yet I’m convinced that provides the richest grounds for increasing your confidence and your comfort with your own voice.
Let's be honest, many of us don't come from "Fru-Fru" backgrounds or from a family that has been going to "Harvard" or any other Ivy League schools generation after generation. Many of us perhaps come from more humble backgrounds. We may have lived through experiences that were challenging and, at times, painful. Are there things we would like to live without? Probably yes. However, that is no reason to hide it under the rug or put it away "locked in the attic" Adversity and other crucible moments shape us. These challenges give us insights and experiences that we only we have had. Those learning and experiences are completely unique to us; in other words, it's part of our authentic self. Why not make your strategic advantage. Leverage that unique aspect, and commit to making it part of your value proposition or, in other words, OWN IT and communicate it with...
Marketers and some of the most fascinating and entertaining people in the world know the power of storytelling. Why not incorporate some aspects of storytelling in your narrative?
I won't get on the details of storytelling right now. I'll leave that for another post. For now, I want you to be able to answer the below questions in a clear, concise, but relatable way:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Why or what type of challenge, given the above answers, am I uniquely positioned to help?
Once you answer that you can get to work to weave some of these answers into an elevator pitch of sixty seconds or less.
Find your Tribe
Lastly, find a group of people like you and start making connections. Get inspired by them, ask them questions about how do they got where they got, and you will start noticing that a lot of the time they are just like you. Another strategy is to mentor junior people. You will soon find that even if you think you don't have anything to offer, you do!
One last word.
So much of what happens is beyond our control. But many of us waste precious time and energy getting frustrated at the curveballs that life throws at us or trying to effect change where we alone can't. Instead, focus your efforts on the things you can control, on making an impact within your sphere of influence and it starts with believing in you.
My mission at Prime You Coaching is to equip mid-level professionals of color or from underrepresented backgrounds with the mindset and skills to achieve that leadership role.
Through my exclusive coaching, Elevate and Own Your Voice™ program we will work from the inside out to facilitate your transition to an executive position in a way that is authentic and powerful to you. And you’ll leave with an actionable, achievable game plan to obtain and succeed in that leadership position you want — on your terms.
If you are ready to elevate and own your leadership voice you can apply here.