Drink Like a Lady Podcast

Disrupting Imposter Syndrome with Nalini Saxena

February 09, 2022 Joya Dass/Nalini Salexa
Drink Like a Lady Podcast
Disrupting Imposter Syndrome with Nalini Saxena
Transcript
Nalini:

All of you Ladydrinks members, and attendees. Thank you for joining us today. I find imposter syndrome to be, uh, it's been a hot topic for, for a while now. And I find it to be particularly important today as where we are in our home spaces. We are wearing multiple hats often at the same time. And we're also not so sure. We have a lot of uncertainty around what happens at the other side of this. And so. Uh, what I have discovered through anecdotal conversations through some research, through some reading and, uh, and just my own general observations is that imposter syndrome is something that it's helpful for all of us to really understand what it is and how to address it so that we can, uh, fortify ourselves to come out of this. Uh, as powerfully as we possibly can, given all the strains, constraints and uncertainty around us.

Joya:

So when you think about, what imposter syndrome is, how would you define it?

Nalini:

So, first of all, I wouldn't be worth my metal of, uh, behavioral neuroscience or management science if I did not first say imposter syndrome is not a pathological diagnosis, it is not in DSMIV. It is not a classification that you, you get, uh, prescribed, um, or diagnosed as a, as a, um, uh, an illness that then has some kind of prescription medicine attached to it. But rather. We're talking about, um, a, an experience, um, I've used the term syndrome in the title of this chat, because that is how people, most commonly know it. So this is more just to, to draw you in. And so that it latches onto something that you have perhaps heard in the colloquial media. Um, but to answer your question, Julia, to define it, it is a discrepancy. It is a misalignment between our perceived competence, our perceptions of our own competence and the evidence and the data that is available to us that we're perhaps not being present too. So it is perceived incompetence, not quite equaling, not quite connecting to the evidence.

Joya:

And so when you think about what imposter syndrome is, you just put that, isn't it?

Nalini:

What isn't, um, imposter syndrome is not, uh, a natural concern about, uh, you know, am I doing a good job? Am I, uh, should I be, uh, should I be sitting up straight or should I be, uh, making eye contact with this person? Should I be, um, should I try to do a better job of listening? It is not an, a natural, uh, question is not a natural curiosity that we might have, or a, um, a self reflection that is constructive. It is actually corrosive. So nothing that that would be potentially constructive.

Joya:

And then when we think about who, demonstrates, signs of impostor syndrome and fallacy is that it's typically women, but that's not actually true.

Nalini:

Yeah, that makes me cringe every time I hear it, not for me Joya, but just generally I feel that, um, a lot of people have asked me to give this talk and they've said, you know, this is a woman's issue and it's not a woman's issue. It is, uh, something that most deeply afflicts, number one, people who are ambitious. And ambition shows up as wanting to be something, wanting to be whatever. And then second, and this is very important too, to notice a distinction on the gender point. It afflicts people who are underrepresented. So when you're not really seeing enough of yourself your face, I mean, we happen to be largely homogenous on this call today. But when you, when you happen, not to see enough of a representation of yourself, of your voice of your identity, then that's when you're most likely to have this creep up and the driver's seat, which is what we don't want it to happen.

Joya:

And then what are the different ways, you know, sometimes. I see people do this all the time. Someone congratulates you they're like, man, you did such a great job on that. Oh no, no. You know, the, the projector wasn't working and I was really nervous. And so is that a sign of imposter syndrome when you're diminishing somebody's compliment?

Nalini:

Yeah, that is one way that it shows up. But, uh, let me rewind a little, let me zoom out a bit, the way that this, uh, discrepancy between our perceptions of our own competence and the data and the evidence that actually support our competence. Th the way that that discrepancy shows up is very different. Many people have written about this many psychologists, many management theorists I've written about, you know, w what, what does it look like? And the challenge there, and really defining it very precisely is that not everyone feels like a fraud. Not everyone feels like a phony. It could be having a hard time. Taking in a compliment, in your example, it could be having a hard time with that, or it could be, um, having a hard time attributing success to something that we did. Well, you know, I had a nice crowd, right? Not just that, uh, uh, uh, discounting on, you know, the, the tech didn't work or the lighting didn't work Joya, as you said, but, you know, oh, well, they, they gave me great reviews because it was a friendly crowd. So not exactly attributing, um, the, the success and the win, and not, not really owning it, but there are a few different ways that it shows up. And if I may, what I have in front of you, what you're looking at here is, um, a deck that I usually use for a two and a half hour talk. Um, I'm going to skip through and just show you a couple of slides. Um, and that I think would be relevant. Joya, just to answer your question. So these are generally the five ways that we say that that impostor syndrome shows up. So there's that insecurity the self doubt. And that could then lead to overworking this compulsion to overwork. It could also lead in lead to us, sticking our head in the sand and being like the ostrich and, um, and missing out on opportunities. Not really vying for, um, a deal. Not really asking for that promotion or for more compensation, um, it could, in some cases lead to this relentless perfectionism, which is not helpful, which is actually, um, deleterious to our, our work ethic, or it could be, um, what I just mentioned, which was the attribution error, not really quite owning our success. Um, this side is, uh, part of an exercise that we do in a, in a larger topic. The reason I mentioned it here is that there they're really these five ways that, uh, that imposter syndrome shows up most generally.

Joya:

Can we take a little peek under the hood if you will Nalini, because I know that imposter syndrome, while someone might be identifying it in real time and saying, oh, you've got this. You really need to do a lot of work behind the scenes. You have to take a sort of deep dive into the pathology of what's happening, the psychologies, sorry of what's happening and why it shows up. So can we go through those examples?

Nalini:

Sure. Um, I'm pardon me? Um, I'm going to just slide through some sides to answer your question Joya. So this was a slide I use just to say that this is really happening inside of us. It's not happening outside. Um, but let me show you. What it sort of looks like. So if any of you have experienced, um, a self-criticism that robs you of power, um, uh, feeling like I'm not good enough, or I need to be perfect or did I perform, and was that really as good as the people said, um, and the kind of anxiety that holds you back from really stepping into your own power. So we created this word cloud to show out of thousands and thousands of responses. How people have defined this. And these are people ranging from attendees at our events, all the way to very, very famous and successful people who, um, who confess that they, they suffer from this even after accomplishing very much. So I want to go back to an earlier point that it was like two different types of people. So one people who were ambitious and then two people who are not quite as represented or they don't feel like they haven't enough of a voice. Um, and that, that is. So, this is an interesting slide because it shows you where it comes from, right? We all have a natural fear of failure. This is a natural normal thing, but where it becomes a challenge is when it goes from the fear of failure into a negative. Self-talk like, I don't know if I'm going to do so well at this thing. I'm not sure if I can, we start questioning ourselves and questioning our ability. And in some cases that drives us towards, uh, trying to work extra hard, where we're the first ones to come to work. The last one to leave, we are overworking, we, or we are avoiding, we're afraid to send that proposal. Someone asks us for this and we're just like, we're, we're just not going to send it because then we fear rejection. Um, but what ends up happening is because we are ambitious people who are experiencing this, we do experience some element of success. Whether we value it or not as a different story, but we experienced some element of success. What happens with that is that it doesn't really seem to penetrate it. Doesn't enter into our being in such a way that we are present to it and we can celebrate it. Instead we start to discount it. We start to attribute it to something else. We start to, to really Rob ourselves of the credit. And would that then takes us to, is this place of questioning? Well, you know, maybe I don't know what I'm doing, even if the data points otherwise, but we're not really looking at data. This is the experience. And from there we go into that experience of discomfort, which then breeds anxiety and there can be healthy anxiety, but if the anxiety then takes us to this meaning-making machine of, I am such an imposter, we started attributing meaning to the anxiety. Anxiety is normal, but if we started tributing meaning to it too much, and we start labeling ourselves as the imposter, then we are generating the self-doubt, which then takes us back to this fear of failure. So this is the cycle that perpetuates with imposter syndrome. I can show you what it, isn't. Joya, you asked this question earlier, like, what is it not, it's not that impetus to work hard. It's not that, uh, that rightful check that you're not gonna, you know, take your trophy and shout I'm the king of the world. It's, it's not natural humility or a good, good sense. A good head on your shoulders, humility. Um, and it's not wanting to be ambitious and wanting to have high standards or being motivated. It's not that this is. What is what we define as ambition, what the characteristics of ambition on, but imposter syndrome is what is corrosive, where it keeps us from really being present, stepping into the joy of our success and the possibility of success.

Joya:

And so you are going to provide some tools, right? That we can use to be able to disrupt this. And, you know, obviously this is a much larger discussion, but just some high level tools that we could take away and he would start to deploy as of this afternoon.

Nalini:

Sure. I'm happy to do that. And if I may Joya, just to point out, because I, I noticed among, amongst the attendees, we have some people who are entrepreneurs. And if you want to just scan through this, I use some, some color here just to draw your eyes to where it's, how this most often shows up for entrepreneurs. Um, and this is where, what entrepreneurs report as how imposter syndrome is really keeping them from stepping into. What they believe is their, their potential greatness. And if we talk about executives and how it shows up for executives within an organization, well, here are the ways that executives report that it's showing up for them. Um, you know, if any of you are the people who have trouble delegating, who feels like, you know, I need to do the whole thing by myself, or I'm not really good at delegating. Or you have really unrealistic standards, not only for yourself, but also of others. And it creates an environment where people don't feel so comfortable with you and working with you, or if you feel like you can't put that phone down, you can't turn off those darn notifications. Um, or you feel like, you know, you frame everything as a, as a requirement. And you're, you're having a hard time saying I need some help. This is how, um, often professionals in traditional organizations, uh, revealed that this is, uh, showing up. So to your point, Joya, you were asking about some tools. So I'm going to ask everyone, if you could just take a minute and try to fill these sentences out for yourselves, and I would be delighted if you want to un-mic yourself and just to share, um, and Joya, I'm going to ask you to go first. So we have, we have a few sentences here in red, and these are really pointing to where it is. So the first step to your question around what are our tools? What do we do about it? Is to identify when it's occurring and where it's occurring. So I might say, I know I'm really competent at my job. When I write a bestseller book that people buy and business schools start to use in their management programs. And it becomes something that is, uh, really, really, uh, ubiquitous. Right. I might say that as an example. So Joya, I'm going to ask you to go to go next and see if our lovely guests will, will join in and share some.

Joya:

I'll know I'm competent when I'm standing on a stage and there are 25,000 people in the crowd.

Nalini:

Great. Thank you. Is there no, you're smiling. Do you want to share?

Zarnha:

No, I think we have similar goals, Joya and I, but, but in a different world, I know I'd be I'm competent when I sell out Madison Square garden.

Joya:

Wow.

Zarnha:

25,000 people. You're right up there. Joya.

Nalini:

I don't know the, the, the, um, capacity of Madison Square Garden to me. So I'm, I'm picturing something pretty big. Um, Navina, Deepti anyone with anyone like to join in?

New Speaker:

Okay. And competent. When I come up with a solution for affordable housing for term affordable housing for victims of domestic violence and homeless. Wow. Wow.

New Speaker (2):

Okay. I can go next. I'll know I'm competent at, um, or when, um, I make the 2% at my Douglas, uh, element real estate for,

New Speaker (3):

um, I'll know, I'm competent when I'm paid my fee without people needing to haggle with me.

New Speaker (4):

I can go next. I'll know I'm competent when my work will be in auction houses and people will be fighting over my artworks.

Joya:

A Jyoti, the, or Laika.

New Speaker (2):

Yeah, I can go next. Um, I will know I am competent. Uh, when my business stakeholders say, uh, you have solved our problem and made our life easy.

New Speaker:

Yeah, I know what I'm competent. Uh, when I'm ready to start my second salon,

New Speaker (3):

um, I'm happy to go. I will know I'm competent when our resiliency workshops are connected with a social impact partner and in effect.

Joya:

How about some of the new ladies who have joined us today? Sauna, would you like to take a crack at this?

New Speaker:

Sorry about that. I was done. I was trying to get competent with my three kids homeschooling. So that's what I'm trying to become. That's what I'm trying to be competent, not right now. Um, so, um, so I, I know I will be competent when, um, you know, I, I think. I feel competent in many ways, but I think I'll be, I have an opportunity to be more competent in being a leader within my company, Chevron, um, rhyme, ordained leadership role, but I feel I'll be completely competent when one day I may be the leader in our diversity and inclusion, um, organization or a larger organization like that.

Joya:

Amazing.

Nalini:

So, so we used, um, the first prompt here, but I think that we can all look at the screen and imagine that we could also fill in the blanks for these other prompts. So if I were really smart, then I'd have a PhD already or. I should always be able to answer a question in the most beautiful language possible because we live in a soundbite culture. And sometimes I sort of pause before I answer a question or, you know, if I were really qualified, I wouldn't have to use slides. I would just be that amazing. Like there was a slide earlier on Michelle Obama. I had just been able to, to sit here. In my, on my chair, in my bedroom. And talk to you all, like Michelle Obama not need any prompts, not need any prompts in the form of, um, a slide. So there's this, there's this, um, In the equal sign, you see it as at the top is unequal sign. And really there is a challenge here. So there is a distorted view between when, as soon as we started to say, when we started falling down the slippery slope. So I'm going to go back to, um, Joya's this question about, you know, how exactly do we, uh, do we do this? So let me rewind a little, um, okay. So there are five different competence types that are naturally, um, or that are, that are commonly associated with it, uh, the imposter syndrome. So there are five different ways that the imposter syndrome shows up. So we've all done a little bit of an exercise out loud, and I thank you all for your sharing, with all of us. Um, What it is that that you're thinking of, but let's go a little bit deeper because still where we're trying to get to those tools, we're trying to get to Joya's question around tactics and what do we do about it? But first let's start to understand, look what it looks like. So some of you may find that you suffer from the perfectionism. Element the perfectionist competence type. So when I invite each of you to do is if this is something that applies to you, if you could just raise your hand, as you take a look at this, it's not the perfectionism of wanting to be good. This is perfectionism, which is the quest for the worst in ourselves. Looking for those errors, actually not appreciating what is, and instead trying to find holes in what it is. So if this applies to you, okay. We have Deepti, deep challenge Joya. Dharana a few others. Okay. Out of the as well. Okay. So can we get, can I hear from a couple of you in terms of how this shows up for you?

Joya:

I'll go first. Um, I am a perfectionist to the ultimate, and I think that sometimes I have to really catch myself. It keeps me from doing things. So for example, I'm in the middle of writing a book and it's like, if the setting isn't perfect. If my mindset isn't perfect, if the desk isn't perfect, I won't sit down to do it, but guess what's not happening. The books not getting written. So I need to stop thinking about the perfect conditions in which this is going to happen and just do it.

Nalini:

Great. Thank you. Um, Deepti, I think you'd raised your hand.

Deepti:

Um, I would say, uh, having perfectionist tendencies, I am not able to delegate things out as you mentioned. I would rather do it myself because I feel I'm in control of it and I can, I want to do it all. And so then, you know, obviously I'm lagging behind.

Nalini:

Um, Deepti, hold on to that because we're going to come to that, the trouble delegating and, in just a minute. Um, let's hear from Diana

New Speaker (2):

Um, I'm a perfectionist to a, to a fault that I can't. Stop doing the thing that I, um, that I'm trying to accomplish until it's done that I put in overdrive amount of time into it.

Nalini:

Okay. So having heard these latest, do you see how it, how the perfectionism is stopping them? This is not the ambition to do something well, it's not the ambition to get an A, it is that even when you get the A, and you've got a 94%, you're thinking, damn, where do those six points go? She might. About south Asian parents, but we'll get to that later.

Joya:

I'll encourage everybody to start putting your questions in here in the chat function, and then we'll just glace through them after we finished the presentation.

Nalini:

So let's talk about the second competence type, which is the Natural Genius. So if people knew how hard I had to work behind the scenes to be so masterful, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all. Right. They, I want them to think that it was easier for me than it actually was. Um, so as you scan through these, um, characteristics of the Natural Genius, I'd love to see from some of you raise your hand. Tell me if this applies to you?

Laika:

Can you explain this a little bit? Uh, uh, I did not get this

Nalini:

Sure. Sorry. I didn't see your face. So tell me who that was.

Laika:

Laika

Nalini:

Uh, Laika, hi. Um, sure. So this is the idea that, um, Joya, if you don't mind, I'm gonna use you as an example. Um, so we all see Joya. Joya is this beacon of, you know, a successful south Asian woman who is very often seen in the media who was very often sought after. Right. But, um, we, we might imagine that Joya never has to prepare for anything that she just snaps her fingers and she's perfectly ready to perform, but Joya, can you tell us the truth?

Joya:

I spend hours probably preparing for even like the two minutes that I'm going to be on television. And when I say hours, I'm talking about what I'm doing for my mind. I'm talking about the meditation, the yoga, the breathing, the knowledge, the reading, and all of that comes down to those two minutes. But I know when I'm facing the camera and I haven't done all that work the days that it's different, when I have done that work.

Nalini:

Yeah. And we feel like, you know, if, if, if I am leaning into this competence type of the national genius, I'm believing that, you know, like if I really were that great, I wouldn't need those two minutes of preparation or I wouldn't need to have a morning routine to ground me a bedtime routine to ground me. Um, and so hopefully they kind of answered your question in there. Thank you.

Laika:

I don't know how people perceive that I'm a natural genius.

Nalini:

No, this is more about what you're wearing. Okay. You, this is, this is our own, right? That, that first earlier slide about, you know, someone looking at themselves in the mirror. This is the challenge within, this is our own challenge. This is not an outside challenge. This is an internal wrestling that's going on. So can we hear from somebody who feels that what they're wrestling with is that natural genius, not wanting to reveal how many hours it took or how much effort it took or how stressed they were to actually perform. Navina, let's hear from you and then Laika.

Navina:

Um, I agree that it takes a long time to prepare for anything. Like when I was doing video for the first time, it took me like three weeks to do it. And, uh, it wasn't easy. So, uh, but I still think that, you know, I should be farther along by now and I know it, you know, it's just like, uh, my head is playing tricks with me, but in my mind, I still think I should be farther along by now.

Nalini:

Right. Yeah, and Laika?

Laika:

Yeah, I have come across many situations where I have, uh, faced, uh, new challenges. And for example, I've been an engineer. And, uh, like when I'm looking at a, a large code base, which is very difficult and I say that, okay, somebody gets a job very valid, very easily, and I'm not getting it. It's not good for me. I'm not good at it. I'll quit. Uh, that is kind of the kind of, uh, uh, sense doc I would have. Uh, I've in fact, uh, it has led me to quit certain things, but then later I realized. Uh, people have gone through the hardship to get better and I will do the same thing, so.

Nalini:

Okay. Yeah. And, and if we, if you didn't talk yourself into that, then, then you would be robbing yourself of as opportunity. So let's look at the next competence type because some of you, um, seem to be sharing some, uh, snippets that would point towards the expertise. So this is the person who's not really appreciating that there is a continuous learning that has to be done over the course of our lives. We feel that if we really were competent, we would have known everything already. We wouldn't have to enroll ourselves in a course. We wouldn't have to, um, do that. In-depth. Preparation in terms of learning, this is a different type of preparation. And we feel that, you know, if I open my mouth and I answer a question that's being asked of me and I don't know, 100% of what is absolutely correct. Maybe I shouldn't say anything. So I'm, I'm seeing a bunch of, uh, head nods at the I'm seeing you nod your head. Can you share what this looks like for you?

New Speaker (3):

You called upon me, right? No one. Sorry, I didn't hear. Um, so yeah, of course, you know, I go in front of a board and, um, I prepare really well when I present to the board because obviously I don't want them to think that I'm not on top of everything, but there's that always that question that comes up, that one question that somebody asks, but I didn't know the answer to, and, um, In my mind. I know it's okay. I'm not going to have answers to all the questions. Um, but I beat myself up about it. So yeah, I would like to learn everything that is out there in my subject matter in my area.

Nalini:

Great. And yet it's not quite possible for us to know everything and that beating yourself up over it is how the imposters syndrome is showing its face in your experience when you were speaking before the board. So let me show you the next, um, competence type. And this is the Soloist. Deepti you had shared something that, um, that really points a little bit more towards this one. So this is that rugged individualist, um, who feels potentially vulnerable asking questions or vulnerable asking, uh, to, to get some support from other people. And you realize that, you know, you're not really supposed to be able to do it all by yourself, but you still feel bad that you can't seem to do it all by yourself. And so let me hear from a couple people with whom this resonates. I'll put, sorry, Sheena, go ahead.

Sheena:

I actually, um, I find that this is resonating with me a lot because. What happens to me is I just shut down. I say, you know, what, if I can't do it the way that I want to do it, I can't do it to perfection if I can't. And I, all these, um, these different facets come out in, in its own. Right. But then I don't want to do it at all. It's not worth it. If I can't produce a product or produce a level of quality that that is going to be. What I would I anticipate or what I expect, you know?

Nalini:

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I hope with all these shares, each of you are listening to like my goodness. Here's this amazing woman and see what she's being robbed of. And this is what we want to overcome. This is what we want to get past, and we don't really overcome it. We want to disrupt it. And there's a reason I chose that terminal. I'll tell you about that, um, in a bit. So let's talk first, uh, last I-beam about the. Competence type of the Superhero. This is a person who is kind of a combination of all the ones that we've talked about. So far, the one who wants to be the, you know, PTA president and to cook the most wonderful meal, have their perfectly organized, cupboards look like The Container Store, whether no one's coming to their house for the next six months or not. Shreya, you're raising your hand and they want to do everything all at once. Shreya, tell us about what's going on for you.

Shreya:

Well, I definitely wear multiple hats. I manage a family business. I'm an artist I'm doing it. IG live. I'm just all over the map. Even in my home. If it's a meal, you know, on overseeing that, it's perfect. If it's my kids' rooms, I'm overseeing that they're well, or like everything has to be. Super. That's how I just try to do too much, too much Durga, you know, that kind of woman with all the hands, all the arms that's, that's that's me.

New Speaker (4):

Exactly the same. And the problem is that I can't do it all well. And then I look at things like I look at the mudroom and it's like, it doesn't matter if I had a successful business meeting, I walked into the mudroom. Is this the way a mudroom is supposed to look? You know? Now it's just like blocked out certain areas of the house. It just won't enter the kids room. You know, I was okay just, and that's the way they deal with. It's like all or nothing. And I wish I could find something in between. That's like, if I'm doing it, it's done relatively perfect. I'm just not doing it, close my eyes. And I don't look at that and that's just not on my list of things. And I feel like my mom is the opposite. She does everything a little bit, but she does everything. I can't do that. I don't know how to break through where I could just. You know, do certain things to 60% and other things, a hundred percent, or, you know,

Nalini:

I love this and that, that's like a whole separate conversation. I wish we could. We had time to go into all of that. So let me, let me, uh, remind you of something that I had shared earlier, which is about people being, meaning making machines, right? The, the, the challenges that you and Chaniya I'll use, your example, you, you have a successful business meeting, and in the moment you're feeling like, you know, this was that this went really well. I did a good job. We did a good job. However, you're framing it, but this was successful and you turn and you see the mudroom or catches your eye from the corner corner of your, your glimpse. And you realize, wait a second, like something's off there, but you start attributing a meaning to it. And the meaning becomes. I'm not good at managing this mudroom. I'm not good at managing all the people and the little people that created this much room, the way that they created it or that disrupted it the way that they have. And we start to attribute meaning to it. Right? The, the, the issue is not looking at the mudroom and thinking like, oh man, like why do they mess it up again? Um, because then I'm not internalizing it. Right. And that Mo in that moment, I have an internal. But once I brought it really deep inside and I have said, you know what? I am not a success. I have failed at this. I am a failure. That's when we see the imposter syndrome is really what's bubbling up as opposed to normal, natural frustration, looking at a portion of your house, that's been messed up by somebody else. Um, So, um, we've talked about what these different competence types are, and if you find yourself right now, because we've only spent a couple of minutes on each one, um, resonating with a few of them, that's fine. So in some cases they will resonate in different ways. Um, and it will take a deeper dialogue for us to really uncover which of these is showing up for you. But for now, um, now that you've figured out, which one of these is working for you, whichever one you raised your hands for, um, whatever. Show you is something that I call the origin story, maybe because I grew up reading comic books specifically and if you've heard of it, but I've always loved comic books and I've always enjoyed those stories. So I call this the origin story. This is the, the Genesis of where our imposter syndrome is coming from. So it's important. And this is going back to Joya's question, like, what do you do about it? What are the tools? What are the tactics? Well, we've identified how it shows. And in identifying how it shows up. We've also identified where it robs us of our power, where it robs us of the experience of success, that the experience of joy. Now, what we need to do is identify where it's coming in. So in this origin story, there are a few things that could be going on and it's helpful for us to uncover what that is. So it could be simply nature. Nature is our surroundings. You know, I grew up in this kind of environment, these demographics, this was the type of place that I grew up in. And that's just, I was born to these people that is nature. When we talk about nurture, this is more along the lines of socialization. All right, how I was socialized, what was I taught? How was I taught to be? And for the case of so many people, and this is where gender does play a role, um, that women are very often taught to please to perform and perfect to please perform and perfect. And that's how so often we are. Socialized. And that's where we have the nurture coming into play. And if we look down to the bottom left, where we have the key influencers, well, these are the people who really raised us. Whoever was around, whatever those loudest, most influential voices were in our early childhood years. That's what we're talking about when we mean the key influencers. These aren't people that you follow on Instagram today. We're going back to the origins of this. Um, and then we have the subtle messages we have that. If I can use a south Asian example, we have that one auntie who said to you, when you were going to go for your dance recital, you know, uh, I don't think that you're really fair enough to be in the front. So why don't we put you in the back of the dance? Have you had that, like I have, um, you have the subtle messages and you don't even know this auntie. She doesn't exist in your life today, but now like 35 years later, 40 years later there is that tiny little reverberation of that. Every time you go and you think about putting yourself out there with anything dance or otherwise, and then we have the labels and the comparisons, which is something that. We have sort of taken on, like, we look at somebody else and we think, wow, she has her shit together. We look at somebody else and you think, you know, my goodness, like, you know, things just come so easy to her, or she has so many of these checkmarks of all these to-do items that I want to, I wish I had achieved at this point in my life. And I had this fantastic coach who used to say, um, every comparison by definition, robs us of our, our power. And so that's where that's coming from. So what I invite you to do is, as you think about these five different potential components, they all interplay with one another, the five different components of where the root of your imposter syndrome is coming from. That will help us as we start to get deeper into this, into what are we going to do about it? So, what I'd love to do before we get to that next step is to hear from some of you, um, if you could point to any one of these, because in reality, it's not only nature, it's not only subtle messages, it's the interplay of all of them. So, because we don't have time to hear all of them from all of you. And I'd love to hear for just from a few of you, just about one or two and Carly, Carly Anne, I think you would raise your hand early. And I didn't get a chance to call on you.

New Speaker:

No worries. Um, hi, uh, I think, um, I can hint to nature or going back to my childhood, um, I'm from the Caribbean. So there's sort of this, um, push towards like academic excellence and you don't no matter how well you do, you don't necessarily get congratulated for it because it's seen as something you should do. So I think that's definitely a. Embedded itself and manifested into imposter syndrome now where like I never, or there are times where I don't feel like what I've done is enough necessarily.

Nalini:

Right. Okay. Great example. Can we get a couple others here?

New Speaker (3):

I think the way it pays me, it's not, I think a lot of it has to do with, uh, I don't want to stereotype, but I will. Um, I think that, uh, Asian females and I grew up actually in Nigeria, um, not in very much in India, but grew up in Nigeria and London. Um, I experienced that in the Asian, um, in the Nigerian culture. There's almost this sense of. The woman is there to serve others, the best for others. And, and we need to basically take the backseat and that's what I was role-modeled role models going, growing up. And what I found difficult was now I'm the manager of our program, global ombuds program here at Chevron. In spite of all the education that I got and everything being a lawyer and everything else. I thought that, gosh, this is the moment I was looking for. And it just took one moment for someone to say to me, gosh, I'm so glad to have a woman of color in that position. And it took me right down to. 30 years ago, being a little kid in the playground and England and experiencing racism there, and I thinking, how is it possible that I could have allowed anyone to bring me to that? And that, to me, that's when we talk about the imposter syndrome is I felt like maybe did they choose me? Because it's. Color's the brown checkmark? They need to tick the box and actually had the conversation straight with my boss about it. You pick me because I'm brown, um, that, you know, I, and I needed to, and I didn't realize that it was definitely something that I needed to, to face. And I, as an ombuds, they deal with this all the time with people as well. So I really appreciate this workshop, um, and the tools that you're sharing as well. So I just want to share that little bit with you.

Nalini:

Thank you for being so transparent about that and pick it up with us, speak openly about it and see that. See how that second guessing of yourself is so corrosive. This is what we're talking, right. I, I want to be really clear that, you know, having a healthy sense of nervousness, anxiety, that's a fine thing. It is an internalization when it gets so deep seated that it robs us of the ability to, to really celebrate that. You know, I got this because I deserved it. Not just because right. Or where I was given a seat at the table and therefore I have the ability to have a voice, whether or not I know exactly what I'm talking about, but I got a seat at this table. And so that gives me the, the, the right to be able to voice an opinion, to point out a question or to say, Hey, listen, like, let me give you some feedback on this, because I don't think that this is going the right way.

Joya:

So we have about 15 minutes left, so I wanted to make sure we got to them. Yep. So, uh, Jyoti Bhattacharya has a dental practice. She's a pediatric dentist, and she says that she falls into the superhero category. If one part of her life is imperfect, it filters down into all the other places and she feels unproductive. So how does she let go and focus on moving forward with all of the goals that she wants to acheive?

Nalini:

So, uh, Jyoti, hello. I love thank you for your question. Um, so here's something that you can use as a, as a tool. So this is what we call the new cycle, um, and what we need to pioneer. So self-talk, and how we communicate to ourselves is the most powerful way to disrupt our imposter syndrome. Right? So how are you defining who you are? What your worst. And really connecting to a way of defining that that is helpful. That is healthy. That allows you to succeed. Um, and so once we have that positive self-talk and we tell ourselves, okay, you know what? I did a great job with these dental patients. Um, and that was my space. That was my compartmentalization of that space. I did a great job there and now. Okay. I'm the very, the reality is that now I'm turning that off and now I'm facing a new type of role and responsibility. And how am I going to define success? I can't necessarily show up with perfection and poise and with the ability to deliver at the highest level in every realm of my life. And someone had pointed out to this, like, um, how do I, how do I think Jyoti it was, how can I be okay with. 60%, not at a hundred percent? So really, I mean, homework exercise, Jyoti, I think that I would give you, um, is to really journal on it. Like, how am I defining success on some days, these days for some of us, if we had to be really real defining success, might simply be taking a shower and changing out of like our sweats, right? So let's, let's create some new definitions of success and look, learn from, um, some positives.

Joya:

I would piggyback on that. One of the things that we talked about in a workshop yesterday is to have a list, have a list of all the things that you have done that reflect how far you've come. And when you do feel those dips take, uh, make sure that you look at that list because sometimes when things, all the thoughts are swirling in your head, it's hard to pull them up. But if they're written out in the front of you, it's much easier to celebrate them and be like, oh, I actually did accomplish all this stuff. I'm not a failure.

Nalini:

Yeah, we called this, the done list and the done list is really, really helpful. So you have your to-dos. We have all our to do somewhere populated wherever they are, but just, you know, taking a moment to appreciate the small wins to Shawnee, you had a question?

Joya:

Um, well, Navina had a question for a while. It said that I need tools to talk me out of the paralysis that I feel sometimes. It's a combination of all the five from the previous slide.

Nalini:

Okay. So. Let me show you something. So, um, let me go into this. Um, so for those of you who said that you were experiencing the perfectionism as your competence type, that was your challenge with imposter syndrome. So here are my new mantras for you. "Half-ass is better than no-ass." Um, and sometimes we need to settle for good enough quality sometimes. Good enough. Quality is just fine. And we need to recognize when it's important to practice some self-compassion. And if any of you watch Bill Maher, like I do, he has these New Rules at the end. So I thought I'd give you some New Rules, remind yourself and say, this is a mantra. If you need to" Perfectionism inhibits success." It does not breed success. That is a myth. It inhibits success and sometimes good enough is good enough. Sometimes. Good is, is good enough. Um, and why don't we celebrate a south Asian, uh, success story here and, uh, take a page out of Reshma Saujani's book, Brave, Not Perfect. Even if you haven't read it or don't have time to read it right now, at least take the title of the heart. That is what we ought to be striving towards. it seemed like Navina was asking a clarification.

Navina:

I was actually talking about the five from the previous slides of nature nurture and the other three things that you mentioned. And I think I have a combination of all of them, and sometimes it comes, comes out at the same time and it completely paralyzes me.

Nalini:

So the so that origin story that we talked about, those are happening all at once, right? That is our history. That is what has created our makeup. My background is in behavioral neuroscience management, science. Yeah. So, you know, I did the financial services and stuff, but when I look at behavioral neuroscience and management science, we're talking about the interplay of all of those. That is what has wired us. I hate to use that term so casually, but that is what is wired us to be who we are today and how we are. And it takes a lot of work, a lot of inner work for us to untangle some of that mess and too quiet in some of those ancient voices inside of us. Um, what I've pulled up over here is if, if any of you resonated with the natural genius, here's some antidotes for you, uh, reminding yourself. As Michelangelo said, "Genius is eternal patience" and leaning into that joy of like, I don't know at all, but Hey, I'm going to learn a lot. Wouldn't it be a nice experience if I did sign up for something or if I did educate myself and if I did put that effort in, I don't always have to have effortless genius. A little bit of effort could actually help a lot.

Joya:

So Ritu asks there's subtle messages that come at her constantly. And whether you like it or not, they're impacting how you feel about yourself. Maybe someone makes us, uh, maybe your husband or your mother-in-law or a friend makes the shade that you and your maybe, and you start to feel a certain way because of those comments.

Nalini:

Thank you for your question. So an exercise that I do with my executive coaching clients, um, entrepreneurial coaching clients too, is, does it serve me? We have to ask ourselves, does this serve me? You know, I talked to, Joya, yesterday and I, and I shared, you know, somebody was pitching me on like, this is how you start a business, Okay. I've been doing this for 16. I'm wondering why I'm being pitched on. This is how you start a business. And I had to ask the question, does this serve me? Does it serve me to then question myself and go down for like an hour and a half and feel robbed of energy, kind of cowering into like, wait, why? You know, why would someone else, why would going there's that to me? So ask yourself the question. Does this serve me when you feel like you're being. By a lot of different messages. It might be that your pores are a little wide, a little too wide for your own. Good. And how do we deal with that? How do we address it? Write down what those messages are. If any of you grew up in the eighties, like I did, and you played Duck Hunt. Maybe you had a brother you were compelled to play Duck Hunt? You know, when you have to like skeet shoot that little thing out of the sky, skeet shoot these subtle messages out of the, out of your brain. And, um, a great way to do it is through journaling. And by really asking yourself, does this serve me? So-and-so said this so-and-so intimated. That so-and-so seemed to not be so pleased with blank. Does it serve me to really embrace that? Do I want them.

Navina:

Yeah, I understand your point, but I think it's, very... It's a constant fight.

Joya:

I read the Four Agreements this week and I'd put it up on my social media. And number two of the four agreements is don't take, don't take things personally. Nine times out of 10, what somebody is saying to you is their projection of what they think you are and are they really even qualified to be giving you that feedback? So really think of it, whatever it is that they're saying is really a projection of what's going on in their world. And oftentimes doesn't have a lot to do with you.

Nalini:

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote that book. Excellent book. If you want to take a look at it.

Joya:

Yeah. Um, Laika asks, uh, imposter syndrome often leads to becoming invisible in the corporate work environment. How do I create visibility in a world where only the loudest voice is often rewarded?

Nalini:

I was so such a good question. I missed who, who asked that question?

Joya:

Laika Jaisselyn she's senior product manager at Paypal.

Nalini:

Great. Yeah. So, um, so first of all, representation is a big challenge, right? Um, finding a connection to having our voice be heard. I feel like we, we see all these things like seven tips to become a better communicator. Right? Um, that's like someone, you know, taking this and like trying to fit my head inside of it. Right. As opposed to really looking inside and trying to say. What are my communication assets, what are my own communication pitfalls? And the only way for us to really become effective communicators over time is for us to understand, like, what am I bringing to the table? What am I not bringing to the table? And then how do I find a way to really get my articulation across? And so that is, I love your question and I want to answer it, but like, we're doing like a question a minute and a half right now, but I'm going to ask you again, this is a great journaling exercise. Like where have I found my communication to be effective? Where have I find it? Where have I found that it has been received well and where have I found that it has not been received? Well, let's start with that journaling and then we can take it further.

Joya:

Um, I think that Zarna had a question and she was actually the first to ask so Zarna, can you ask your question?

Zarnha:

It seems to me like everybody I know has imposter syndrome. Yes. I almost wonder is it an epidemic? Are there, is there anybody out there who has a normal sense of self?

Nalini:

So great question, Zarnha. So everyone suffers from imposter syndrome, at least at some point some phase in their life. So at least at that much, right, most of us will experience it for a period. Multiple times. And, um, funny that you use the term epidemic, cause this is another, um, term that's close to my heart. I, uh, studied epidemiology. So, um, so I don't want to call it a neuro epidemic right now, because as we said earlier, it is not a, it's not in the DSM IV classification of psychological ailments. And so I'm going to be a little careful about using that term, but Zarna that the spirit of what you're saying is correct everybody. Suffers from some sense of their perception of competence and the evidence about their competence, not being in sync at some point during some phase of their lives. And my argument from the beginning of this workshop, which was that, you know, particularly now, when we have so much, we are called to do so much more, um, it's really becoming something that is even more prevalent and something that, that I don't think that we're doing enough to, to, uh, to tackle.

Joya:

That rounds up all of our questions. We're at 1255. Nalini, I want to give you a chance to offer some lasting thoughts. What are you going to leave the audience with today?

Nalini:

So a few things I just want to go through for those who didn't get to see their particular competence types showing up here. Um, for, so I'll, I'll do this really quickly. So for those of you felt like you were the expert, um, remind yourself that everyone is ignorant. Um, it's, it's not just you. Um, it's where we are ignorant and this is, it makes me very sad, but in our culture today, we're experiencing a death of expertise. The soloist, take a look at this from our former president Woodrow Wilson, who reminded himself to, to surround himself with people who could get the job done. Um, I use not only all the brains I have, but all of the brains I can borrow and then we have for the superhero. Um, I'll give you a second to take a look at this. Um, and I have to make a shout out to my college as former president Debra Spar, who wrote this great book called Wonder Women. So, uh, Joya, let me get to what you're talking about now. Um, so, so what I do, I'm a business strategist. I'm a financial strategist and I am, uh, a talent development consultant, coach, whatever you want to call it. Um, I've had my business for a few years, but I've been in this space since 9/11, and it's a space that I'm, I care very, very much about. I'm not interested in these, like I said, like seven tips to boost your communication skills. I'm interested in really, really helping people show up as their best self as their whole self in their personal life, in their professional life and their social life, all the way through, this is a, a passion of mine. If you aren't able to tell right now, it's, it's something that I care very much about. Um, our, uh, one of the products that we offer organizations, uh, it's called the evolved workplace and what we do there is where we're really helping people, not, not show up to work with the 25% of talent that the data shows people in show up to work with twenty-five percent of their talent, 75% of their talent stays home. Do. And so how do we actually have them show up with their best talent and embrace ideas and be innovative and have a happy empathetic workplace? And we do similar things. When we're working with entrepreneurs, we help them sculpt their businesses, business design around something that is purposeful. It doesn't mean that we only serve nonprofits. Well, we work with mostly for-profit organizations, but what we're really trying to do is help them align themselves. We alignment is one of the best things that is the, the theme of so much of what I do, what my team does. Let's find that alignment. Um, there was a question, uh, Laika, you'd asked about communication. So, you know that it is around alignment. How do we align ourselves with what is, what is inside of us is our best talent? How do we hone it? How do we sculpt it and how do we help it come out? So that is, um, where my team and I really like to live. Um, so my business is called the Elicit Consulting. Feel free to reach out, connect all the, uh, details are here. We have not operated in social media, very commonly because people usually just come to us. Um, but, um, we're realizing now that we should probably have something of a social presence. So I'd love a follow if you'd like to follow. Um, I'm always open to connections on LinkedIn and I'd love to hear your thoughts, your questions, your feedback, um, on, on this chat that we've had with Joya on disrupting imposters syndrome.

Joya:

And Nalini, the slides that you presented today, is that something that you might be willing to share with everyone in the follow up email?

Nalini:

Yeah. Some snippets of what I've shared. I mean, really what, what I normally do is almost a half day. So, um, I'll share some of the snippets. I think you guys might find useful.

Joya:

Okay, great. We are at one o'clock. Thank you everyone. Navina Chabryia and I are doing a workshop for kids tomorrow morning at 11. It's part of our ongoing leadership series for kids who are seven years old and up and tomorrow we are focused on decision-making. So I hope to see some of you there with your kids.