I was recently in the middle of a phone conversation with an industry professional when I realized something. Something I was never able to do before, but through these last few of self-inquiry, mastery, mindfulness, prayer/meditation, journaling, and the tons of podcast interviews that I've done. You ready? Here it is.
I was able to speak of my accomplishments with confidence, emotional intelligence, in a matter-of-fact tone. Most importantly, I was able to do so without guilt, fear, or anxiety about coming off as arrogant or boastful.
As someone who struggled with the Impostor Syndrome (and facing it head on, daily) this was a major milestone. Most women can't get through their "career success story" without feelings of anxiety, emotional disconnect, and concern for how we are being perceived. You downplay our own strengths and accomplishments, so that the other person isn't threatened by your talent - or worse, that they have a less-than-pleasant reaction that would prove that you're being perceived as 'UN-likeable'.
A raised eyebrow.
A chuckle (laugh).
Being interrupted mid-story.
Being on the receiving end in a condescending remark (ex. "Wow, that seems like a lot for someone like you.")
I've been on the receiving end of all these examples above and can tell you, it's not fun. But a realized today, that it was MY tone, MY energy, and MY self-acceptance that changed how I told my story - and positively impacted how it was received.
As I confidently shared my accomplishments up to this point, the other person actually stopped me at different points in the conversation to give me kudos.
"Congratulations on completing an MBA. You should be very proud of yourself. I know that's hard to do with a career, and a family at home."
"You've done so much in such a short span of time. You're a go-getter, lady! Nicely done."
"I commend you for the advocacy work that you're doing. I can tell that it's your passion, because you light up when you talk about it. Your enthusiasm is inspiring."
No jokes. No condescending remarks. No sense of feeling threatened at any time. This was shear and genuine appreciation for my hard work.
So what was different? ME. I boldly spoke up with confidence, and the listener joined me half-way to celebrate along with me.
The moral of the story -- practice confidently sharing your accomplishments, brilliance, expertise and talent. Look in the mirror and study your facial expressions, voice inflections, and body language.
Confidence changes the conversation. When you start to accept and believe in your abilities, you make it OK for others to do so as well.
Get it girl!