Welcome to the ninety-second issue of CEE News!
Twenty minutes ago, I finished writing the Message from our Founder for this month’s edition of CEE News. Eighteen minutes ago, I decided to copy and paste the whole thing and submit it to Forbes instead. Since part of Forbes’ publishing guidelines requires that articles submitted for publication be both original and not published in any other media, I’ve been looking at a blank screen for the past seventeen minutes. The article is about imposter syndrome.
I’ll share it on my LinkedIn profile when it’s published, but in the meantime, my writer’s brain is still thinking about the subject. In 2016, I attended a women’s leadership conference in San Diego. As a Level 5 introvert, my approach to making it through a day of peopling was to park my car, walk confidently to the registration table, smile as I checked in, pick up my name tag, then head straight to the restroom until the milling was over. I don’t mill.
Instead, I’d find a stall to protect my energy, keep an eye on my watch, and exit the restroom with just enough time to find a table before the conference began. I would quickly introduce myself to my tablemates with feigned confidence then equally feigned disappointment that the dimming house lights meant we didn’t have time to engage in witty banter. I can’t banter.
One of the speakers that day was Dr. Amy Cuddy. Her book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges had come out earlier that year and she took the stage to share the key takeaways. Dr. Cuddy talked about having major imposter syndrome as a young Harvard professor until a female student came to her to share her crippling anxiety about not feeling as if she belonged at the university. Helping her student re-build her self-confidence also helped Dr. Cuddy do the same for herself.
Part of the antidote to imposter syndrome, Cuddy explained, was to stand in a power pose – Wonder Woman-style. Power posing for a minute or two was found to improve mood, attitudes, and confidence. Dr. Cuddy modeled the power pose on stage and invited the audience to stand up and channel our own Wonder Women. We laughed self-consciously, but the act of boldly taking up space felt empowering.
After attending that conference, I’m still a Level 5 introvert. I still don’t mill, and I still can’t banter. But, now when I have to attend conference (even when I’m the keynote speaker), I park my car, walk confidently to the registration table, smile as I check in, pick up my name tag, then head straight to the restroom. I find a stall, close the door, and stand Wonder Woman style – head up, chest high, fists planted firmly on my hips, feet apart, with a broad smile on my face. I take in a few deep breaths in the pose, then head out to get mic’d before taking my place center stage where I am confident that I belong.
Sheri Nasim | President & CEO