2 Questions to Defeat Doubt

Time to read: a teeny bit over one minute

The stage at Hadestown

The stage at Hadestown

You're in a meeting. You say something risky. The room goes silent. One of your colleagues replies, and the meeting moves on. After the meeting, you run your words over and over in your head. You wonder if your colleague thinks you're an idiot. You wonder if you should have kept your mouth shut.

Doubt runs roughshod over your confidence and energy.

Doubt is a story older than time.

My daughter and I spent Labor Day weekend in NYC eating and going to Broadway. We saw Hadestown, a sublime retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. (If you have a chance to see this show, go. Amazing music. Wonderful story. A parable for life and work.)

Spoiler alert.

If you know your Greek myths, you know how the story ends. Orpheus and Eurydice strike a deal with Hades that they can leave hell, but only if Eurydice walks behind and Orpheus doesn't turn around. The voices of doubt overtake Orpheus, and he turns his head to check that Eurydice is there. As soon as he turns, Eurydice returns to hell and heartbreak ensues. When the show was over, I was sobbing in my seat. (My daughter was mortified.)

Of course, I was sad by the unhappy ending. More than that, I was pissed that doubt won. I wanted so badly for this old tale of love and trust to end with trust. It didn't.

So, what does this have to do with you and your work?

Very often, doubt wins. Doubt overtakes you, and you metaphorically end up in hell, even if it's only the darkness and confusion in your own mind.

What do you do about it? Here are two questions to ask yourself when doubt creeps in:

  1. What am I trying to get away with? Maybe you want to hide after the meeting and wish your comment would disappear.

  2. What do I not want to be responsible for? It might be a good idea to check in with your colleague. Talking to her feels uncomfortable and vulnerable. You'll get feedback. You don't want to take responsibility for whatever impact you had in the meeting. Not asking about it means it didn't happen (see #1).

What to do: Go straight into the discomfort and ask, "I'd like to check in with you about the meeting. Do you have a minute?"

You'll feel better. You'll defeat doubt. And trust will win.

I hope this helps.



Ever feel like a fraud? 6 Life Hacks to Handle Imposter Syndrome

Estimated read time: 2 minutes, 6 seconds.

Yup. This is what the Imposter Syndrome feels like.

Yup. This is what the Imposter Syndrome feels like.

Let's cut right to the chase today. Do you ever feel like a fraud?

See if this feels familiar:

You’re leading a meeting and a voice in your head tells you this is the moment when everyone will find out that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

You get a new job and worry that everyone will now see that you are not qualified and have no idea what you are doing.

You are thinking of starting a blog or a community garden or a new initiative at your children's school and you stop yourself because who are you to do such a thing.

Yeah – I relate. I feel like a fraud when I write this newsletter (I don't have anything new to say). I sometimes feel like I have no idea what I'm doing when I coach and this is the moment when my clients will discover that I cannot help them. Ugh. I hate these feelings.

This condition is so common that it has a name. It’s called the Imposter Syndrome.

Oprah Winfrey sometimes feels like a fraud. Even the most successful VP at your company cycles through feeling like an imposter (I know this because I coach them). It’s human to feel this way.

So, what do you do about Imposter Syndrome? Here are 6 life hacks that will help you through those moments when you know the game is up!

  1. Remind yourself that it will pass. And that it will come back. And pass. And come back again.
  2. Make fun of it! "Check it out. The jig is totally up this time." Laugh at yourself with humble recognition.
  3. Tell someone. Bringing stuff like this into the light of day causes it to vaporize like the vampire that it is.
  4. Keep a file of kudos and nice things people have said to you. Save every grateful email, every thank you card. Then pull them out to remind yourself that you and your gifts matter. To lots of people.
  5. We need you! Stopping yourself from starting something new because you feel like an imposter denies the rest of us of your gifts. So get going already - even if you know you're not ready. You will never be ready.
  6. Take action. Nothing proves your worth to yourself and quiets those soul sucking voices like actually doing something.

I hope this helps!


P.S. If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, they can sign-up for The Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter HERE. P.P.S. I've been working on something big and cycling through Imposter Syndrome on a regular basis. In a few weeks you'll get to see it, and you can confirm that I really have no idea what I'm doing.