Beginning of the year, I have done a conference in Montreal on the topic :
« How to be confident, when you are a woman nowadays ? »
It was an enlightening experience. The women who were attending teached me a lot, by sharing their personal experiences. The end of the conference, took aN intimist atmosphere, which gave us the opportunity to talk about the news. Precisely on the #metoo movement.
The #metoo movement has nothing to do with self-confidence ? In fact, there is a relation !
How can I be confident today as a woman, while in the eyes of the society, women are either a prey or a victim ?
For the ones, arriving here by chance (or by mistake !?) : Welcome ! Hello ! My name is Cynthia-Laure Etom, I am an Image Coach. I work with women (women entrepreneurs, business women…), coming to me in order to help them take a fresh start, lauch a project and/or (re) gain confidence on their potential.
I didn’t start my career as a Coach, but as a Press / Communication Officer. In between, I had a stop in journalism where I wore the hat of a radio reporter and newspaper journalist. I worked for companies from a wide range of industries : audiovisual & emerging technologies. Then, from encounter to encounter, from opportunity to opportunity, I define myself and choose to specialize and focus my work on women evolving in the Audiovisual, Digital and Fashion industries.
Since 2011, I work with women who have two things in common :
– They don’t acknowledge their potential
– They don’t dare to take their place, because they are not confident
Why did I choose to be a coach ? Because, I want to change the world, I want to see more women leaders. Leader of their personal and professional lives. I want to help women being aware of their value. Help them dare to take their place and be self-confident.
Due to #theimpostorsyndrome a couple of questions were stuck in my head. Running over and over again.. 1) Am I Strong enough ? 2) Am I smart enough ? 3) Am I good enough ? … It is crazy how we can easily lose sight of who we really are and what we have achieved, by focusing on our flaws or/and our "failures". For a long time, I used to lose myself, by comparing myself to others, instead of being inspired by them. For a long time, I used to despise my flaws instead of embracing them.. To depreciated my failures instead of celebrating them.. Until now, I wasn't able to understand that being different was a treasure, a strength. And that my failures happened just in order to make me stronger.. Today, I realized who I really am : #1 Strong enough #2 Smart enough #3 Good enough Just in case, remember, you too : You are STRONG ENOUGH ! You are SMART ENOUGH ! You are GOOD enough ! I'M (NOT) A FRAUD ! Are you ? WE ARE (NOT) A FRAUD ! #womenempowerment #badasswomen #girgang #imnotafraudsummit #imnotafraud #wearenotafraud #impostorsyndrome #syndromedelimposteur #girglgang #girlboss #empowerment #sorority #selfconfidence #metoo #montreal #quebec #canada #iger #igerpassport #igermontreal #igcanada
So, let’s resume, it takes courage to be confident. Courage because you have to overcome the fear of what others may think or say. The fear of disappointing your family & friends. Well, I think you are all already aware of that. But what you may not already know (and that is what I want to share with you) is : that this fear is your greatest strength !
Indeed this fear, can lead you to the very essence of who you are. By giving you the best training. Pushing you to evolve and stepped out of your comfort zone. [the comfort zone is a place that reassured by its routine. Everything rolls there. Nothing to break your quietness. Because all you have is acquired, nothing to fight for, no risks to be taken.. And as a matter of fact, unfortunately, there is no perspectives of evolution.]. Its precisely because I have been there before, that I am able to share what I am about to share with you. Not as a therapist or a wellness coach, what I am not.. I share my experience as a human being. I share my personal experience.
Everything you want from life is on the other side of FEAR.
Nowadays, self-confidence is everywhere. Whether on TV, advert, magazines, books, at work and especially on the social media. EVERYWHERE, I am being told to ” Be confident ! “ ” Believe in yourself ! “
What is frankly paradoxical, when the image that these vectors convey is the one of a world that praises the appearance. The so-called perfect appearance. Yes, it is really hard. More when theses vectors sends me back messages, and emotions that are finally preventing me from gaining confidence.
First, I am going to dwell on the example of social media : Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, where we quickly realized that aesthetics and the image are highly premium (modify thanks to filters for example).
What are we tend to do on social media ? For my part, I used to spend hours and hours scrolling accounts of strangers. And start comparing me to them. And depreciate myself. I’m sure that the following sentences will ring a bell to you :
“I would like to have that amount of luck”. “If only I could be so successful,” “Be so famous. It would change my life. I will have more confidence. “
Now, I find it ridiculous. Because behind these pixels, there are only human beings, who lead daily battles I do not even suspect.
A few months ago, I have been following a girl on instagram. Her pictures were per-fec-t. She looked so happy and so successful.
But, one day, she disappear, she stopped posting. After a few weeks, she came back and explained that she was going through an hard phase of her life : she was going through depression.
I found her post very strong and deep. It was so courageous of her to be that vulnerable. Accepting to only be as human as we are all.
After many years, fighting against my imperfections, to gain more confidence, I finally learned that self-confidence was giving oneself the right to be vulnerable. To embrace oneself imperfections. To listen to our emotions, just be human.
Go to 14:04 (Don’t hesitate to watch the entire video later. It’s a relevant content.)
As a conclusion ?
Let’s get rid of our phones and Ipad ! (No, don’t do that. Considering their prices… I’m just kidding !) But more seriously, the lesson I learned from this episode, was that I had to stop comparing myself to others. That I had to start seeing my qualities, more than my flaws. See my potential, rather than my shortcomings. See my successes, more than my failures.
Nobody is better than anyone. Our wealth, our strength comes from our difference. And, over time, I am convinced that a person is not reduced to their “faults” or their “failures”.
In elementary school, I was so afraid to pass on the board, to recite the poems I had however learned by heart, that I mixed up all the verses.
In High School, I was so paralyzed by the idea of doing a presentation, that it became physical : I had major anxiety crises. If I had not persevered, I would have not be able to do speaking engagements as my work. Which would be a shame, since it’s a real passion for me.
The situation in which I am today, does not define who I would be later.
Well, I can hear you : “easier to say, than do” .. Being confident is complicated ! Especially in a society that spends most of its time belittling, stigmatize the fairer sex. And even if, little by little, mentalities begin to evolve, it remains a reality. Society is obsessed with perfection : botox, aesthetics, diet : ” How to lose 10kg in … 1 week ” … Can we talk about it ?
Society imposes models, puts us in boxes. Instead of inviting us to accept our differences. And to consider them as our strengths.
Take the Wonder Women Syndrome: The Perfect Woman 3.0, as I like to call it : it’s an obsession of the society. I will also quote the author, Anne Berest, during an interview on the release of her book: ” Research Perfect Woman – Recherche Femme Parfaite ” :
“Women themselves seek to be perfect women. They must be good mothers. Out of the maternity with jeans xs, Breastfeed while making organic mashed potatoes. While talking your child to English classes, to make sure he does not have any problem while growing up… “ (I love it, just to be sure!) But at the same time, you have to keep on with your business. You have to be model wives, always be attractive, sexy, great cook Etc. Etc. So the perfect woman is a woman, who is going crazy ! “
I think we can agree on the fact that the Perfect Woman is more of a myth than a reality.
So how to gain confidence?
There is no magic potion … Oh wait a minute !
RECIPE TO GAIN CONFIDENCE
Take a saucepan, pour 1 liter of assurance,
3/2 mug of Power,
2 tablespoons casuallness
Stir it all – Let cool for 45 minutes
Botoms up ! Take daily : in the morning, at noon and in the evening.
Potion available, on a donation of $ 5 to I’M (NOT) A FRAUD 😉 https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/83O0lEma1E
So, more seriously, no unfortunately, it does not work that way. There is nothing magic, nothing automatic. Have self-confidence, demand training. It’s a muscle that must be trained, as I like to say during my conferences.
So, gain self-confidence in 3 steps: on your marks, steady, go!
Step 1: Build your self-confidence
Step 2: Dare to take your place
Step 3: Acknowledge your potential
Step 4: Step out of your comfort zone
STEP 1: BUILD YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
There are several exercises to build up your self-confidence. What I always recommend first is to work on our posture. A posture says a lot about you. I had to work a lot on my body language. Indeed, your posture, the way you carry yourself around tends to influence the way others see us. Furthermore, it can also change the way we see ourself.
Psychologist Amy Cuddy informs us that using a “power posture”, even (more!) when we feel insecure can increase our self-confidence.
Go to 10:56
One of my client tested it and approved it :
“Hello, just a quick note to tell you that I used your ” wonder woman ” method during a phone call that I had a little bit of apprehension for. My fear faded, it gave me a lot of confidence so THANK YOU “
Test it ! Test it ! And tell me how you felt, how it helped !
STEP 2 : DARE TO TAKE YOUR PLACE
One day, I took my courage in its hands and I decided to stop feeling guilty of having dreams and do everything in my power to make them come true. That day, I decided to stop feeling guilty about being ambitious. Step by step, thanks to that, I was able to take my place.
What is being ambitious in the end ? It’s having a vision, believing in something and make it happen. From this observation began a great adventure for me ! I left France for North America. It allowed me to meet innovative people, to learn new things. These various sources of inspiration have helped me grow.
STEP 3 : ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR POTENTIAL
We take stock on our professional and personal successes. We identify our assets in order to boost our confidence.
Let’s a sheet of paper, a pencil and write down everything that comes up to our head: ” For the first time, I spoke to my neighbor ” “I went to a conference about self-confidence” Everyhting that makes you feel good matters !
The other day, I was chatting via instagram (no, I did not delete my account.. yet ^^) with a women from Brazil. She told me she was scared about receiving a promotion. She thought she did not deserve it and that it was surely a mistake.
I asked her to tell me more about her career. After which, I frankly told her what I thought. Herincredible career justified that promotion. She was not where she was either by mistake or by chance..
Now, I would like to invite you to play a little game. If you do not feel able to acknowledge your potential, ask someone (a friend, a relevant) to tell you 5 positives things they think about of you. You are going to be surprised (a lot and pleasantly !). Because, unfortunately, we have that annoying tendency of not to seeing us like we really are.
STEP 4 : STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Go beyond you limits (
limitation beliefs), embrace new challenges. Say YES to challenges, even more if you think you won’t be able to do it, because you haven’t done it before. You will be pleasantly surprised to succeed. And your self-confidence will be boosted.
It has been a year since I accepted countless challenges : living in another country, speaking in a language other than my mother tongue, discovering and adapting to new cultures and ways of life. Starting my professional carreer from scratch, all over again … Scary at first glance, right ? And yet, I am very happy to discover that every day, I am finally able to accomplish things that just a year ago, seemed impossible to achieve.
For more advice, join the community !
I’M (NOT) A FRAUD ! THE CLUB
A group, where you’ll find all the ingredients to get rid of the “impostor syndrome” and (re) gain confidence. The first Club, that its rule number one is to help you quit it !
I’M (NOT) A FRAUD ! Are you ? WE ARE (NOT) A FRAUD !