Q&A: How many times have you considered giving up or battled imposter syndrome?
How many times have you considered giving up or battled imposter syndrome? I'm your host, Tiffany Sauder. And this is Scared Confident I went and looked. What is the definition of imposter syndrome? I was just curious and it says it involves feelings of self-doubt personal competence that persists despite your education experience and accomplishment.
You know, I think this whole notion of. Imposter syndrome is so connected to this conversation of fear that underlying the way at least I interpret it is really this question of like, am I enough? And am I going to be able to show up when my main stage event happens, not literally be on a stage, but you're given a heart problem.
You have a big presentation, you have a. A big job or a big project that you're working on. Like, are you just going to belly flop or are you going to be able to stick the landing? And so I definitely battled imposter syndrome. I didn't ever use those words, but I definitely battled that narrative in my head.
And I think those feelings were so rich for me, that it really created a catalyst for me to go on. This is like expos a on fear. Like, what is it and how do I understand it? And how do I get a more specific understanding of it so that I'm not carrying. This around with me everywhere I go. And, you know, I think that there's kind of this balance.
Not that we need to be fearful, but this, I think respect that has to be present of how hard it is to be successful and to be really completely present for every experience that you're given in a way that you're like mentally working hard for it. Like you're paying attention, you're creating the relationships, having the hard conversations, like picking up.
The things that you need to be able to learn from everything that you're put into. And so that was very real for me. I remember working on these marketing plans and realizing, okay, this company is going to give us hundreds of thousands of dollars with the expectation that this has success. And I don't know for sure.
It's going to be successful. Like, I don't know, 100% sure it's going to be successful. And there will be moments where it would just like, take my breath away. And I would ask myself the question, but am I a better chance of getting to the right answer than they have? Access to other places. So their internal team may have been trying to solve it for a long time, or maybe they had been doing episodic marketing, but never really put a strategy together.
And I would gain courage in saying, well, I think I'm at least a good shot. I think I'm closer to the answer than they are because of the experience I have the exposure. I've had the fact that I spend every single day thinking about marketing, learning about marketing. And so when I was doing that kind of work.
That would begin to give me kind of these micro courageous moments where I was like, I'm their best shot. I'm going to ship it. And we're going to see what happens. I think when it came to element three more broadly and we had these just gut clenching moments, like in oh 8 0 9, where we did not have any cash, we didn't have clients that were spending money.
We didn't have a reputation. Nobody knew who we were. I mean, it was like a barren desert. And you just wondered if you had what it took. And every single day, it was literally as little as saying, well, today I can show up or I can give up an every single minute. It was a decision of, am I going to show up or am I going to give up?
And when you put enough, show up minutes together, they become show up days and those become show up weeks. And you don't know where it's going to lead. You have no idea. But the choice to show up is the only decision that you really need to make and to be present for what happens and to make the best possible decision that you can.
And to let the rest of it be what it is. And again, those like micro courage moments began to give me, I think, a broader sense of understanding of macro level, courage to say, okay, yeah, we can step into big things. We can step into new stuff. We can, you know, make these strategic moves inside the business, but it started in micro courage moments.
For sure. The other question I'll uncoupled from this is like how many times have you considered giving up? I had this assumption that people who are presidents, CEOs, or owners of something, they love it every day of their life forever.
And always until the end of time, it's not true. You also have natural seasons with the thing that you're doing. I've been at element three for almost 20 years and there have been two or three distinct times where I had to go back through the process of recommitting re re understanding what is element three today?
Who am I as a leader today? And what is going on in my life today, or like eight years ago today and do those ingredients, can they still fit together? And do I want to commit to what it's going to require me to become? Do I want to commit to what the, you know, the agency is today and am I in it for the next leg of the race?
And I think we don't feel. Like we can say those things when we're the owners or the CEOs of the leaders, because it seems like that would be a natural, but it's not it's life in life has cycles. And I have employees I've been here for 10 years and they too have probably been through one or two of those cycles where the department, they were leading the job, they had the bleeder, they were working for the company we are today.
That level of. Entrepreneurship versus precision scale, like precision processes, like, you know, that sort of cultural lever has changed. Uh, they had to say, what is the company? It is today and the Pearson I, the professional I am today and the things going on in my life. Do those ingredients still fit together.
And do I want to commit. Recommit to the thing it is today. And I think that's healthy. I think it can be unnerving as a manager or leader to see your people go through that because you want them to pick you at the end of that cycle every single time.
And I have found when you allow people to go through that process on a natural path, that where they come to. Is the right answer for them. And sometimes that right answer is to stay and sometimes that right answers to leave, and those can both be right. And I think it's the same thing as a CEO. I'm super thankful that every time I've gone through that kind of merry-go-round, I've come back to saying, yes, the leader, I want to become the company.
It is today and the way that I need to piece together, my life outside of here, that these things can, and I'm still excited for them to fit together, but it does change. It very much changes over time. And so I guess that's a little different than saying I'm giving up, but when you get to these squeeze moments where you're like, Ooh boy, there is no margin may mean you need to get your heart back into it because it's become a head commitment, but you're like heart.
And like real energy is not into it. And it could mean that there's an ingredient in what you need in your like success wheel that is missing and you need to resolve differently so that it becomes sustainable. I think that is a key piece. This idea of sustainability, we have got to get to a place where most of the time we're living in a sustainable place, our relationships are able to be fed in a way that they're sustainable.
Our personal health is able to be serviced in a way that it's sustainable. Our jobs and workload is mostly at a place where it's sustainable and those things are going to ebb and flow. But if it is in a constant state of everything is always ebbing and there is no sort of release or flow. It is not sustainable and you're going to burn out, blow up whatever it looks like.
And so that is really what I focus on is getting things to a place where this is sustainable for me and the people who have to live like,
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