At Zyia Active, we have the unique privilege of watching women and men succeed—often, to their own surprise. We delight every day in hearing their stories. If there’s any common thread, it’s this: they were all capable of more than they believed. All it took was a nudge from a friend who saw their talent and encouraged them to try something new, then pushed them to keep going.
But what about those of us who don’t (yet) have a mentor building us up? How can we embrace what we bring to the table and shut off our internal critic long enough to let ourselves shine?
Separate Facts from Fears
You may feel you don’t have a particular skill, but have you ever tried it—or are you guessing? If you’re considering trying something new, you might fear a negative reaction from your peers. But is the feared response consistent with their personalities? Remind yourself fear is a feeling, not a fact. Honor the feeling, but then put it into perspective with reality.
Don’t Bottle it Up
Embarrassment about not feeling confident can keep us quiet. The feeling that you’re about to be unmasked is called Imposter Syndrome. Once you start talking about it, you’ll quickly discover many of your friends, family, and colleagues have encountered the same feeling. Knowing you aren’t alone can be tremendously liberating.
Play to Your Strengths
There’s more than one way to do any job. Just because you see someone succeeding one way doesn’t mean you have to mirror that person’s skill set to have similar results. At Zyia, we have sales Reps who love in-home parties and Reps who have never held one. Some like hosting pop-up events, some do all their marketing on Social Media. Some get more enjoyment from leading a team than selling to customers. Some have no interest in leading a team, but they love to help customers build the perfect outfit. Everyone does what works best for them and their talents. Consider what you enjoy doing. What elements of those talents can you apply to your next adventure?
Be Kind to Yourself
Everyone makes mistakes, and most of us are harder on ourselves than we would dream of being to a friend. Making one misstep can send us into a spiral of self-doubt and negative self-talk that can be hard to unravel. When you make a mistake, practice giving yourself some grace. Write down what you did, what happened next, how you felt, and what you learned from it. Then forgive yourself as you would a friend.
Change Your Self Talk
We humans often talk to ourselves in ways we would never let others speak to us. It may not even be conscious, but we discourage and abuse ourselves daily. But we can change it! Practice reframing how you talk to yourself. Pretend you’re talking to someone you love (because, hello—you’re talking to yourself!).
“I’ll need to practice some new skills,” instead of “I could never do that.”
“I’ve learned one method that doesn’t work,” instead of, “I really screwed that up.”
“I’ll try that another way next time,” instead of, “I’m an idiot.”
No matter our job or calling, we sometimes have to make things up as we go. If you’re a planner and plotter, this on-the-fly decision making can leave you feeling flustered and inept. Instead of considering this a failure, remember that the ability to improvise as you go is a strength. It might be a skill that makes you uncomfortable and sweaty, but it is a skill—not a weakness. When you do it well, congratulate yourself and try to cement that moment in your mental photo album. And if something falls flat, take some time to consider where you might need to study or practice so it goes better next time.
Be a Mentor
The quickest way to recognize your strengths is when you work to lift someone else. Helping someone in their struggles with confidence and watching them succeed has a magical ability to put your fears into perspective. Because the best way to learn something thoroughly is to teach it to another, mentoring can not only deepen your skills—it can boost your confidence in them.
Most of us stop ourselves from stepping out of our comfort zones. We read from an internal script that tells us what we can and can’t do. But we all have strengths, talents, and a unique perspective. We all have something to offer. And we all owe it to the people around us to show up and BRING IT!