the blog

You Can’t Change How Someone Communicates

I would like to scream this from the rooftops.

After another online argument (I know, I know! I need to disengage!) I would like to say this major thing: you cannot change how someone communicates, you can only change your response to them.

Yes, I know you might be frustrated with the seemingly tone-deaf emails.

I completely understand that you might find it hard to believe that folks are still promoting their work, their webinars, their mission.

You have a choice.

You can choose to engage. Get angry. Shame them publicly. Screenshot their email and chirp about it online, use gifs that are rude at best, hurtful and insulting at worst. You can dogpile some poor small business or marketer and be terrible. You can tell them how to communicate with their team, write posts, make videos – urge your followers to do the same. You can attempt the impossible – try to change how they communicate from a virtual platform because we’re all staying at home, even the person who is promoting their webinar. You can attempt to teach them empathy by shaming them and telling them how to feel the “right” way.

Or.

You can understand that you can’t change how someone communicates. You can only change how you respond to them. Some things that can make you feel active:

Choose grace over shame.
We’re all scared AF. Fear is wild – we do all kinds of weird things when our safety is being threatened or taken away. Step back when someone is reacting differently than you – do you need to spend negative energy on them? Is it effective? Or are you projecting?

Be active yourself
Angry? Upset? Do something with it. This isn’t to say that you should shame them (which is something) – you can go for a socially distanced walk, play with a pet, call a friend, watch a movie, create something, write King Lear – whatever! Do something with that anger that might turn negative with shaming someone.

Step back and ask why
Why are you going to shame? Why not have a conversation? You can choose to respond directly to them: hey, this feels tone-deaf. Hey, have you thought about this? Hey, let me offer something to you directly and assertively, instead of being passive-aggressive and shaming on social media. Ask yourself why that’s your default – how are you processing all of this?

Discourse is fine. Shame isn’t.
We’re all upset – have a conversation. Be assertive! You can say something like “When you do this, I feel this” to the person, company, organization or entity that is doing the behavior that’s bothering you. In improv, when we talk about people not in the room we usually have issues being direct and assertive with those individuals. Again, shame isn’t ok – we’re all scared.

All, it’s a new world out there. Choose kindness.

And stay the f*&^ home.

 

How Are You?  

How many times have you almost cried in the last week? My number is pretty high. I, like many people, have consistent humming anxiety right now, and that’s marked with moments of dread, panic, and sadness. I know this. I’ve been to enough therapy to also know that this is normal. And yet, my coaching call today asked me how I was doing and I replied, “I’m ok” – because that’s what we are right? We are OK!

We’re pivoting our businesses!
Working from home!
Everything is OK!

Blatant lies. Things are just bad right now. And today, I’m not ok.

I have so many friends that are now suddenly out of work. Small business owners that are pretty sure they won’t reopen. Some having very real questions racing through their brains, uncertain about how long they can manage to stay closed and stay in business. A dad that runs a business at an airport – so he has to go because as long as the airport is open, he has to be open. Speaker friends that suddenly and immediately don’t have an income. I won’t even start to talk about friends who were already struggling. You know how they are doing.

Things are really bad right now.

And you know what? It’s ok to feel bad right now. Like, actually and really ok. Not like, “oh it’s ok to be unproductive right now and look I only made one video or posted one thing!” kinda ok.

No. It’s 100% ok to be completely paralyzed with fear of what next, terrified of the what next next and concerned of the very real possibility that the world we knew will not be the world again. We just have no idea, and that’s scary. IT IS OK TO STOP BUSINESSING FOR A MOMENT. Literally, as I was finishing this, I went to open LinkedIn, and the first post I saw was “Don’t stop! You owe it to your business and work to not stop!”

You. Can. Rest.

It’s ok to sit in your own unknown for a moment. I’m not suggesting you quit – I am suggesting that you rest.

I coach and teach folks how to be authentic for a living. And I ask everyone I work with – how are you feeling right now. Check-in. If we want to get out of this bad place and work back to actually feeling ok, we’re going to have to start being honest with ourselves first.

So how are you?

Small talk sucks.

I’m not even joking, and I know a lot of you reading are saying YES I KNOW, and then immediately thinking, “But don’t you…like conversations?”

Yes, I love conversations! And yes, I hate awkward, superficial small talk. 

Both are true and it’s ok! It’s surprising to me whenever I pop on my “Introverted, but willing to discuss plants” shirt that people don’t believe that both are true for me. Here’s the big secret though: small talk doesn’t have to be superficial. You can replace it with meaningful conversations that are fun and full of curiosity.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we start talking about all our hopes and dreams with someone you meet at a networking event, or your deepest fears with someone you just met on your first date. If that’s what you want then rock it out, I play things a bit closer to the chest. What I am suggesting is to replace that awkward feeling of not understanding how to “people” in a group, those social skills that need to be upped, with simple techniques from improv.

Awkward moment one: don’t know what to say.

Ah, one of my favorites. You’re going along in conversation, listening to the other person, doing your job and being more social, and suddenly, the conversation is at a dead stop. You have no idea what to say next, there’s a silence, and then oh no can they hear you panicking? If you listen hard enough you can surely hear them panicking. What are we going to do?

First, take a breath. No one wants your anxiety, not even you. You have a few choices, and one is something I tell folks to avoid as a crutch in improv: ask a question.

This isn’t about just any question – a lot of time in improv, nervous folks will ask wide open questions that just result in the other person doing all the work. I still remember the scene when a friend of mine and I were messing with the other person – he handed me a box and said, “Open it!” and I did – and then he said, “go, take it out, do you like it?”

What. Is. It?!

He left all the choice up to me! I had to decide what it was, based on the size, and then if it was a good gift or not! If we weren’t friends, I would be upset. A better use of this would be, “Open it!” then, “I know chocolate is your favorite, do you like it?” He’s given me something to hold on to, something to go from – I could go anywhere with chocolate – the snack, the color – but he’s given me something to hold on to because too much creativity is just as bad as not enough.

Next time you get that awkward moment of, “Ah! What next?!” You can ask a question about something you’ve already been talking about – or – something that you both can see or know about. You’ve given that person something to grab on to, so they can connect and move forward with the conversation.

Awkward moment two: you said too much.

Been there, done that, remove your foot and shame and look around: we’ve all done it. That terrible moment when you know that you’ve said way too much and either the other person is embarrassed or you are. And unfortunately, you can’t unring a bell, because it’s already out there.

Again, take a breath – this isn’t just to center you back and calm you down, this is to give yourself a beat to think about your next step. Are you embarrassed? Well, change the subject. As obvious as the subject change is, it’s better to move along before you wallow in the subject. Is it the other person that is embarrassed? Tap the confidence transparency in improv: you don’t just talk about something, you do it. Say you’re sorry for making things uncomfortable and then change the subject. Move along, because the longer you sit in this discomfort, the worse it gets.

Awkward moment three: how do you introduce yourself.

Real talk, can you pick up three balls and start to juggle right now? Or hop on a unicycle and ride circles around me if I just hand you one?

Of course not.

Why do we think that we can just immediately do something when it comes to speaking and communication, and yet we view things like juggling and unicycling as skills? 

They all take time to hone and understand. Looking to introduce yourself? Practice! Say out loud, “Hi my name is Jen, nice to meet you. What’s your name?” If it’s a networking situation, you can think about who the audience is and what that means for your introduction. Quick tip, because networking is slightly different than introducing yourself anywhere else in the world, except for dating, I think: make what you do as simple as possible, and present it as a problem that’s being solved for extra impact. For me that “what do you do” answer is now: “You know how people get nervous talking, listening and presenting? I help them get better at communication through improv.” Boom.

Awkward moment four: you weren’t listening.

This one has the possibility of being mortifying: remember in school when we weren’t listening and a teacher called us out on not listening? I sure do: and this feels oddly worse. If you aren’t listening, you’re either going to fake it, and act as you heard (obvious faking is obvious, folks) or, transparently say you aren’t.

In improv, you KNOW when people aren’t listening. I tell this story often, and it fits here. I was working with an engineering firm and two of the employees got up to do an activity that worked their listening skills. One was a woman, and she started dancing and said “Dad, do you think I can be on American Bandstand?” and the other person, a man, said “Yeah yeah.” Near the end of the moment, he looks over at her and says, “This is the weirdest strip club I’ve ever been in.”

COLLECTIVE GASP.

He wasn’t listening – and just kept going like he was! He missed vital information, and because it was a professional development workshop, we all saw it…which is better or worse than just one person thinking you’re a terrible listener? (I don’t know!)

Get caught not listening? No worries, say, “Hey, I wasn’t listening and got distracted. Can you repeat what you just said?” Be honest, be upfront and be real – it’s a much better outcome than the other option.

Got an awkward social moment you want us to work through with improv? Send us an email at jen@theengagingeducator.com and we’ll feature it on the blog!

Relationships have to be nourished and fed. I’m not even talking about the romantic or friendship kind – I’m talking about work and professional relationships. You can’t just expect someone to connect with you or be able to work with you if they don’t trust you – and trust can’t just happen without connection.

And you can’t speed up a connection. It takes time.

You can make sure you’re making some real connection with active listening, specifically listening for gifts in conversation.

In our classes in NYC and LA, we focus on interpersonal impromptu communication – that is, the communication that you can’t necessarily plan for. It’s the stuff that happens, the conversations and the back and forth that make so many of us so nervous…and I would hazard to say we panic because we’ve “failed” in the past. Know what failure in conversation is?

Not listening.

Truly! When you don’t listen, you can’t contribute! And when you do listen, you can add and contribute and have a fun back and forth. Without it, you’re just talking at one another.

Since active listening is something we feel that improv elevates and expands, I want to help you understand an aspect of listening that I think a lot of folks miss, and it’s called listening for gifts. A gift is any bit of information that you can pick up and use to further a conversation. For example, say I spend some time telling you about the plants I have in my house, and I mention one of my favorite plants is a monstera. The gifts in my contribution are my plants, a house, and the monstera – all details you can use to either ask questions, make comments or connect in the conversation. For example:

-You could ask questions about plants, ask for advice on a plant you have at home or talk about your favorite plant.
-You could ask about where I live, what my house looks like or talk about your own house.
-You could ask about monsteras or talk about your monstera.

By taking these bits of information, you’re picking up the gifts and connecting to what the other person is saying using this information – instead of just shooting in the dark or having superficial small talk. Of course, there are better ways than others to connect and show that you’re listening – as an example if you’re always taking a gift and moving it to your focus (centering the conversation around yourself) you’re not a very giving conversation partner. We all know that person: they are always saying “Oh I did that too!” and it feels like one very long game of “anything you can do, I could do better!”

On the flip side, if you’re constantly asking questions and throwing focus away from you and your personal life/person, then you might be holding the people you’re talking to at arm’s length, which is an issue in itself!

The middle is generally the “best” place when using gifts – you want to both have time to ask questions and get the other person talking more AND you want to add your information to further the connection with the other person.

Gifts aren’t something that you’ll immediately understand and succeed in using perfectly every time – and you shouldn’t expect to be an amazing active listener. Take time to develop these skills and as always, reflect on your progress and let us know if you need help!

I am a little strict on the YES in YES AND.

ICYMI my obsession: it’s the idea of affirmation and elevation. You’re taking someone else’s thought or idea and you’re affirming it – whether you agree with it or not – and adding information in a way that equalizes the two versus elevating one over another.

As a quick example: 

Person A: I love nachos.
Person B: Yes, you love nachos and I think burritos are better.

Easy peasy.

The other side of YES AND is the YES BUT or NO BUT. There are a whole bunch of issues that come up when you use BUT in ideation, creation, conversation – what happens when you use it in a relationship?

You Elevate Yourself
The word BUT pits two things against one another – if you’re saying BUT to another person and their opinion, you’re essentially elevating yourself and your opinion. Think about it:

Person A: I want nachos for dinner!
Person B: Yes, you want nachos for dinner, but I want burritos.

You’ve made your “I” statement more important than the other statement. When someone hears a BUT consistently and feels like the other person is elevating themselves they’re going to stop communicating eventually.

You Shut Someone Down
The word BUT also shuts someone down. That last example with nachos and burritos? By saying “But I want burritos” closes the conversation off to more discussion. Alternatively, if you said “And I want burritos” you could easily add a “let’s compromise and do both!” or “maybe we can something else” or any other comment that can further the conversation. AND leaves things open for opportunities – BUT shuts it down.

You Don’t Listen
I see this more often than I like: when someone is constantly using the word BUT, they are only concerned with what they want to add to the conversation and say. They don’t think about what the other person is saying, what their opinion is – they just want to add their thoughts and have learned how to do so what the word BUT.

Next time you hear it, take a beat and think: did they listen? Are they shutting you down? Do you feel like they are elevating their thoughts over yours? They might not being malicious or doing it intentionally – often that’s the effect.

YESSSSSS

That amazing thing you’ve been waiting for HAS HAPPENED.

CELEBRATE!
THROW A PARADE!
CONFETTI ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

::Time out, Saved By The Bell style::

Your thoughts immediately start racing – what if you start bragging? It’s really hard to talk about accomplishments to loved ones much less to folks at work! What happens when you have to – or you want to – tell people about this AMAZING THING THAT HAPPENED? Better just not to do it right, hide it and not worry about what others think?

Wow does that feel awful though.

We started teaching our Unhumble class a few years ago for this very reason: folks have a hard time talking about their accomplishments. We’re told often (especially as women) to be humble, don’t brag – but why? Sure, there’s an issue when another person only talks about their accomplishments all the time, and never gets excited for another person. But what happens when people are proud of what they accomplished AND they care about other people? Should they not talk about things because of how another person might feel?

This is one of the most BS things that I’ve heard people say: don’t talk too much about accomplishments because you’ll make other people feel bad.

When I started Fearless, my other business, a woman told me that a friend of hers was constantly feeling bad when she saw other people in the group talk about their accomplishments. “But I’m just a [insert her identifier here.]”

That, my friends, is her thing.

I firmly believe that people don’t talk about their accomplishments to make other people feel bad. Sure, there are some sociopaths out there – and other people that will always think the grass is greener on the other side and ask “why her, why not me?” But I think we’ve been trained to play small for several reasons – none of which matter, as long as we work to undo this.

What does it mean to be UNHUMBLE? Well, simply put, it’s the idea of being proud of your accomplishments, talking about them, and not playing small in efforts to help someone else. Think about being humble: it’s being modest, without pride.

Shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves and our hard work?

I’m not saying be arrogant, thinking you are the greatest thing since sliced bread – I am saying that it’s not as black and white as you might think with bragging or not. I truly believe the difference between unhumble and arrogant is how much you care about another person’s successes and wins. If you don’t care, and think you’re better than everyone else – you’re probably arrogant.

I remember an entrepreneur group that I was taking part in a few months ago, and a newer full-time entrepreneur commented that she couldn’t seem to find people “on her level” to talk to. I still remember when she said that – the whole room took a moment and then more than half brought it up to me afterward. I was a little shocked myself, honestly, because she had JUST started running her business full time, and before that, was working in fairly well-paying jobs while doing her work.

This isn’t to say she didn’t work hard – this is to say that if you read our last blog on status, she was in the wrong end of high status, and shows the line between unhumble and arrogant. I believe that if she acknowledged some amazing entrepreneurs that existed (and were in the room!) maybe she wouldn’t have come across in such a way that damaged relationships. Assertive communication is great: elevating yourself over others unnecessarily looks like you’re overcompensating.

So what happens when you find that line between being unhumble and being arrogant? You might end up altering a few relationships – some people are not huge fans of people that take pride in their work.

Repeat after me: people will always like you. People will always dislike you. Sometimes, you’re going to be liked or disliked no matter what you do – so why not be enough for yourself?

If you’re proud of something, and you’re also proud of other people for their wins – you’ll start tapping into other people who are like you. There will be people that are not a fan of this newfound pride: find folks that are, and keep celebrating your – and their – wins.

The Status We Take

Work relationships can be messy. Think about it – you’re in a place where folks either “have” to be or “want” to be – and sometimes both. This creates some strange wants and needs when people are communicating, and even stranger relationship dynamics can develop.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of work friendships or relationships. It’s too messy, and if you know me, you might know that I’m always saying, “be more than your job!” Friendships and relationships are a big part of it: if you spend all day with people at work only to go home and hang out with them after work, you’re either going to be best friends or hate each other eventually. It gets weird and awkward when someone has to be an assertive communicator and the other person is more comfortable being passive, or if a conflict arises at work that feels a bit too close to the friendship.

Even if you avoid work friendships and romantic relationships like me, you’re going to bump into status issues in relationships that are strictly colleague-focused only. Status is a fascinating thing to explore: as it’s something that we’re not always aware of when we’re thinking about our communication and listening skills. It refers to how we view ourselves in reference to other people and taps back into early improv commedia dell’arte: from traditional kings and their status versus court jesters and theirs.

We can show our status in a few different ways when we communicate. For our purposes, we’re going to look at status in movement, posture, speech, and interaction with others. This might not be the case with every interaction you have: pay attention to when these traits come out.

Movement and Posture

If you’re the higher status person in an interaction, chances are your movements are focused, quiet and confident. You’ll have firm handshakes, directed gestures. Your head won’t be zipping around from person to person; rather you’ll move it only slightly and make clear eye contact. You’re standing upright but not still, open chest (meaning, not curled shoulders) and you look relaxed.

On the flip side, if you’re embodying low status, you’re less directed and almost unsure with your movements. You might be nervous, jerky, stiff or tight with your movements. You’re not making eye contact, and you’re looking around – and moving your head around – a lot. Shoulders are probably curled and tight, and you might be bent over and stiff.

Speech

Speech is a big tell with status, only followed by posture in my opinion. With high status, you’re talking in a deeper, relaxed and normal pitch. You might yell or whisper if it’s appropriate to the situation. On the flip side, if you’re taking on low status, you’re probably quiet, mumbling, high pitched or talking fast. In women, this is where we hear and see the “head voice” come out – that voice that folks call “shrill”? Lower status tell.

Interaction With Others

This one is a doozy: when you’re taking the high status, you’re touching people all the time. You’re laying a hand on someone’s shoulder, picking lint off of someone, and connecting. You also might be staring another person down if you’re USING your high status. Low status is going to shy away from touching others and pulling back from unwanted contact.

The doozy comes in when people have issues touching too much: I witnessed an interaction where a woman hugged a friend of mine and he pulled away. The next time she saw him, she tried to hug him again, and he firmly said “no” – to which she said, “Oh I knew you were uncomfortable!”

Then. Why. Hug. Again. You. Sociopath.

I think people can “bully” and take advantage of physical contact – or simply just not read the room and understand their status isn’t a confident high status…but an intimidating one. Which leads us to…

So what does this all mean?!Status is equal parts fascinating and intimidating: high status seems like a confidence move, right? Yet in that last example, the high status of the woman was negative! It’s not a choice to move high or low status: it’s a constant dance to how you want to be perceived and how you want to use status for your advantage.

Here’s an example: you’re coming into a job interview. What status do you want show? Probably high in some areas and lower – but not low in others!

Here’s another: you’re going into a meeting with your boss. High or low? Again, a combo of both will probably yield the best results. What if you’re the boss – again! – probably a combo.

Your homework: pay attention to those relationships you have at work (and beyond!) and see them for the status. You might be surprised! 

When My Confidence Broke

A few years ago, my confidence broke.

I didn’t see it coming. It also didn’t happen quickly, like a breaking bone.

Rewind my life a few years, and you’ll find me hiding at home, avoiding interactions. Things like meetings and calls were way too much to handle. I had to stay home “for the dog!” “to save money!” “because I had a headache!” – and none of these things were true or necessary.

This wasn’t “just” a confidence thing – I had massive PMDD induced depression and I stayed home. When I got better – ie therapy, meds and caring for myself – I still wanted to hide.

My confidence was broken.

I didn’t know who I was anymore. Social situations were scary because I had no idea how to navigate them anymore – before my depression, I would have a few drinks and be fine. Alcohol was a social lubricant for me, as it is for many people. When I started getting better, I didn’t want to go back to drinking, so I didn’t.

Only now I had to navigate being a social and public person, minus the alcohol, plus massive self-awareness after therapy. Did I mention I had no confidence left?

You’re probably wondering why I am teaching folks to be the best version of themselves and to speak confidently.

Well, I got my confidence back. It wasn’t a day, or a week or month or even a year. I am 100% still working on it. It started coming back when I started to hold myself accountable to other people. I couldn’t keep promises to myself, so I just started showing up for the other people who needed me. Maybe they didn’t need me as much as I thought they did, but let me tell you – thinking that I needed to show up for others because they needed it? That worked.

When I showed up for others, I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this. Showing up for someone else all the time and leaving my needs for whatever time was left? Woof. It was almost ironic, the thing that got me out quickly became the thing that was making me feel stuck all over again.

So I started showing up for myself. I learned how to set boundaries, and weirdly enough, it made me feel more confident. For the first time in my people-pleasing life, I was telling people no, standing up for myself and cutting ties with toxic individuals.

I was finally doing what I spent so much time teaching.

And while I’m not “fixed” or back to being the most confident person in a room – if I ever was – I can safely say that I’m not hiding. And here’s the thing: if I can come back from where I was and rebuild, you can build your confidence too. Promise.

Ever watch someone talk and you just trust them immediately? A little of that is a fancy hat trick called charisma, and a lot of that is all about the perceived idea of confidence. But why does confidence matter so much? Shouldn’t our work speak for itself? I wish! And I bet sometimes you do too. What’s not fun – when we see people get far based on their confidence alone.

That’s not you though – you’re talented and your work is amazing. But you might be lacking that confidence part of things and thinking WHY does this matter?

There are a few reasons that confidence matters – here are our favorites:

  • We Trust Confidence

    We are often persuaded by trust. If you’re seen as trustworthy, chances are you’re telling the truth, being sincere and generally reliable. Trust is powerful! When folks are showing confidence, they are probably being real – and while some folks may not like the “realness” (you know what I’m talking about!) folks will like to be around someone that isn’t lying, being fake and constantly letting folks down.

    Confidence builds trust!

  • We Feel Connected to Confident People

    Research shows that our minds wander about 50% of the time. Yikes.

    Think about the last person you talked to that you’d describe as confident – I am willing to bet all the nachos that that person paid attention to you – or whatever was happening – and did so without missing a beat.

    Confident folks might be drifting all over the place – they don’t show it. When we see that connection that isn’t nervously scattered all over the place, we see them as someone that cares and someone that we can trust.

    Confidence builds connections!

  • Confident People Listen and Help

    Connecting to the last point, confident people listen to others. They also help people out – generally, they aren’t worried if someone else “looks better” – they don’t have that whole “pie of success is finite” thing. And they are respectful of boundaries and the associated “no” that might come along if they are helping out!

    Confident people listen and help out.

These three things are reason enough to work on building your confidence – and simple to start! Be trustworthy, connect and listen. While I’m a big proponent of doing your own thing, these three are simple enough to work on, and will lead to finding yours!

Amid new year resolution land, new you, are you finding yourself attacked by your inner critic? Here are a few common situations – and the start of solutions. Remember, you can’t fix your self-doubt voice in a day – so give yourself time and grace to improve!

You ignore your successes and focus on your failures…
But it’s so easy to fixate on failures! Never mind everything else, look where I screwed up.

This one hits personally.

I can remember being so down that a book proposal I submitted to agents was getting turned down, agent after agent. This was after my book came out to great reviews, and people were (and still are!) getting excited. And all I could think about was my proposal being turned down. Didn’t matter that I had a book out, I was headed to SXSWedu in the spring – all my self-worth was tied up into that proposal, and I clearly couldn’t do anything right.

Except for all the other cool stuff I have going on including my fricken book.

…so try celebrating mini successes…or any success.
Spend as much time with the wins as with the losses. Seriously – if you spend days on your “loss” (or like me, a week being terrible to myself) then you should be able to spend that much time with a win.

Sound hard? Yeah, because the negative can be oh-so-easy to focus on. Flip the script.


You’re focused on being perfect…
Perfectionism is one of the biggest causes of imposter syndrome. You think you have to be perfect, get it 100% right and be amazing all the time, right?

See even writing it out and I bet you reading it sounds weird. Would you ask your friend to be that “perfect” and never make a mistake? What about your partner or family? Probably not. Give yourself some grace and remember that you’re human.

…so try failing on purpose.
This is probably giving you anxiety just thinking about it. Hear me out: try a new hobby. Recently, I tried to make macarons – you know those almond French cookies that are bright and beautiful and expensive? Found a recipe, grabbed the ingredients – I cook all the time! This will be fine!

They. Were. Terrible.

Stuck to the pan undercooked terrible.

And you know what? It felt great to be “huh, ok I’m not good at this right now (and maybe never!) For now, I’m going to spend money on someone else making macarons.


You feel like taking help is a failure…
I can do it myself! I don’t need anyone’s help!

There’s so much therapy tied in there.

If you’re feeling that you can only do things yourself otherwise it’s a failure of your character or hard work, take a breath and know that you’re not alone. While all of these are very specific kinds of imposter syndrome, this one is a big one: the individual. You feel as though you have to be able to do it yourself, not lean on others, and that’s the only way you’re not a fraud.

…so try asking for help.
Do it. Ask for someone to do something for you. Even if it’s a small task that you know you could do with more hours in the day. Take a breath and ask someone to do it and look! Your world won’t end, you’re not a failure because you asked for some support. This doesn’t even have to be a thing you need – it can be a simple ask to start getting you in the habit of not doing everything yourself.


You’ve surrounded yourself with jerks…
This is a hard one – sometimes our self-talk isn’t OUR self-talk – it’s a reflection of what other people say to us. It comes out in our darkest moments – and sometimes just too often in general.

If you’re not sure if it’s someone else, take a moment to listen, really listen, to the people around you. Are they making you feel bad? Are they saying things that you’ve ALSO been saying, and when you dig in, the negative self-talk comes from them?

…so try giving them a time out.
Be busy. Block their texts. Stop talking to them. Being around people like that does nothing…and if you understood how much they projected their insecurities on you, you wouldn’t take them seriously.

Be well, friends.

 

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