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Choose Not To Feel Intimidated


Do you ever look around the meeting room (or Zoom room), especially if you're new-ish to the group, and think to yourself that the people in the room are smarter than you? I know I have, and because I thought they had more to offer than I did, it kept me from speaking up and sharing my ideas.

This morning, I attended the kick-off event for RISE Omaha, a local women's leadership group. The speaker, Mindy Simon, CIO at ConAgra foods, shared that she also shared the same fear at one point in her career. I felt so seen!

Have you ever put people on a pedestal, believing that they know better than you? Maybe this is just another way imposter syndrome can sneak in, causing us to doubt our abilities. I might also argue that it could be a result of systemic gender issues at work, meaning that women haven't typically seen themselves present in the rooms where decisions are made and there are fewer women role models to watch.

Mindy shared with us that she just decided one day to “Stop being intimidated.”

Michelle Obama has shared this same sentiment when she talks about her imposter syndrome: "I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart."

I have coached men and women in the C-suite and I can attest they sit on the other end of the call, feeling just as lost, confused and unclear as the rest of us on what to do or say. They are still unsure about something, no matter how they come across in the meeting to you.

It's time to stop overestimating others' intelligence and underestimating your own.

Here's some questions to ask yourself to boost your confidence and speak your voice in the rooms that matter:

  1. What is the unique contribution that only I can offer?

  2. What unique perspective do I bring?

  3. What are my employees/clients/stakeholders counting on me to speak up about?

  4. How can I speak up in alignment with my values?

Now, go speak up and make your unique impact! Somebody is waiting on the idea that you have to offer.


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