Let's LEAD - August 2022
"Who do you think you are?"
Often the answers to that question were not very positive:
"You're right. I shouldn't be in this meeting."
"You're right. I have no idea what I'm doing."
"You're right. She is so much more [insert your favorite descriptor here] than me."
Wait...who the heck am I talking to?
Ah yes, the Judge that manages the exit door of my comfort zone.
In Mastering Your Inner Critic, author Susan MacKenty Brady calls this 'one-down,' the process of putting ourselves down in comparison to others. The idea of 'one-down' or 'one-up'...putting ourselves in a higher, better position compared to others, is a common theme throughout her book.
I realized that I'm the master of the 'one-down.'
Last month, we talked about building our CONFIDENCE, a key practice in embracing our Self-Regard.
This month, as we continue to shore up our Self-Regard, we take a look at our self-belief, our sense of WORTHINESS.
Another clarification that Susan (yes, I've met her so I can call her by her first name!) makes in her book is this:
Confidence you BUILD - - Worthiness you BELIEVE
Living our self-leadership is not a linear process. We may have more moments of confidence in ourselves, and then that confidence takes a hit.
For me, my lack of worthiness looked like self-deprecation. Being OVERLY humble.
"Well, I may be wrong here..."
"You know WAY more about this than I do..."
I'm beating you to the punch. No need to 'one-up'...my 'one-down' has it handled.
As I worked develop my Self-Leadership muscles and could see how each building block 'builds' onto the next, here's what I noticed:
- Self-Awareness helps me notice my emotions and the people, places and things that trigger them,
- Self-Knowledge helps me explore the value I deliver and the contributions I make,
- Self-Acceptance helps me acknowledge the self-limiting beliefs I have kept alive and how they no longer serve me and who I want to be.
So, if all this is true, what's up with all the 'one-downs?'
Like I said, developing our Self-Leadership is not a linear process. But as our muscles get stronger, our ability to notice when 'I'm not worthy' shows up, often in the form of Imposter Syndrome, we can address it.
"Is it true?"
"How do you KNOW it's true?"
Ah...no evidence? Go back to what you learned:
- What strengths, talents and gifts do you have that PROVE you have the right to be in this meeting?
- What previous experience can you call up to PROVE you know what you're doing?
- Yes, she's got a bunch of letters after her name that PROVE her expertise. Good for her!
Bottom line: No one is worth more or less than anyone else.
As leaders, there are times when we need to remind our team members of this fact. We ask them to stretch beyond their comfort zone, and we may need to believe in them before THEY believe in themselves.
As a leader, how do you help your team members navigate their sense (or lack of) of worthiness?
Check out this video:
3 Tips - Breaking the Imposter Habit
"I'm one thought away from my old choices."
It's true, and without a plan, it's so easy to fall back into our old, familiar habits. Our confidence takes a hit, and we're standing on the Imposter Syndrome abyss.
I shared this with a client recently: it's easier to fall into the rabbit hole than it is to climb out of it.
So how do we avoid falling in?
Take inventory. In what scenarios does your Imposter show up? I've given you some insight into my list, and it's typically when I'm making a comparison between me and someone or a group of people who I perceive to be more qualified, smarter, 'better' (whatever that means) than me. That old 'authority figure' hierarchy.
For some, this inventory may come easily; you know EXACTLY when your Judge is banging at the door. For others, it may be a more subtle tap on the window of your comfort zone. For the latter, practice self-awareness by being present to those situations that drive you to 'one-down' yourself. Make a list.
Reverse engineer. Give some thought to the last time your Imposter/Judge made an appearance. Ask yourself; what was happening right before you fell into the void of self-judgement?
For me, it was about the level of risk (real or perceived) involved. My Stickler, who is all about perfection and fear of failure and who rides shotgun with my Judge, would whisper...'if you mess this up, your career is over.'
WHOA! I would go from zero to 60 in a nano-second, diving head first into the nothingness.
By recognizing our patterns of thinking, we can STOP before taking the tumble.
Create a plan. If you've taken inventory and can recognize the patterns of behavior that precede your 'one-down' thinking, you can create a plan to combat it. Some ideas:
- PAUSE! Take a breath. Notice when the Judge is trying to get your attention. Say 'I see you.'
- GET CURIOUS. The Work by Byron Katie is a good model:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely KNOW it's true?
- How do you react -- what happens when you believe this thought?
- (Here's the biggie) Who would you BE without that thought?
- Then, REFRAME by turning the thought around. What is the OPPOSITE of what you believe?
Our Judge's sole purpose is to maintain the status quo. A strong sense of worthiness is the Judge's kryptonite.
BTW...what do you think? Just added some letters behind my name: Camille McKinney, B.F.D.
What I'm reading (articles, books*):
I was looking through some old books and found a daily reader that a previous manager gave to me...almost 30 years ago! It's called Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef.
Kinda wish I had paid attention to that clue...I guess when the student is ready, the teacher appears!
*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice
"Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her." ― Lao Tzu
...and something more:
Check out Sarah Blondin's guided meditation on the Insight Timer app: Remembering Your Worth. 14 minutes that will get you back on track.
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