How I navigate impostor syndrome

Last week, I sent my memoir off for copywriting. I have to say that again because damn, does that feel good! My memoir (somebody pinch me, is this real?!) is in the copywrite stage. After almost three years, my book is complete and is now getting polished, which means it’s another step closer to being in your hands as you sip your morning latte on a sunny Sunday morning.

This milestone has had me thinking about everything it took to get my book to this stage. What comes to mind immediately is navigating impostor syndrome.

The first time I ever considered writing a book was when my mentor said she envisioned me writing one about my spiritual journey after I lost my job (I refer to this period of my life as my Dark Night of the Soul. If you want to hear more about this experience, check out my podcast guest appearance with The Psychic Wives). While I was excited about the idea of writing a book, I didn’t exactly know what that story was and if I could actually write about it.

Over the next few months, any time I’d sit down to write about my past – many of those experiences traumatic – I was overcome with emotion. I’d cry as I relived intense memories. I’d cuss at myself and the computer for not knowing what to say (hello, writer’s block).

During that time, you’d see me frozen at my desk letting unhealthy thoughts spin in loops, “Do people even care about you and your story? You’re not even a real writer. You don’t have any training and experience, so what makes you think you can write a book?”

Regardless of these uncomfortable thoughts, I pushed forward as another voice inside me kept saying, “You need to tell your story. You can do this. You are a writer.” I had to keep this voice alive, so I bought myself a typewriter necklace I wear almost every day to remind me of my goals. I also joined writers’ groups, writers’ workshops and filled my bookshelves with writing guides and memoirs from authors I admire. I wrote positive affirmations on my office chalkboard and often spoke them aloud to replace my doubts.

While these things helped me move forward, impostor syndrome never quite left me alone. It appeared in slightly different ways, making me second-guess my memoir pursuit, “Can I call myself a writer yet? I don’t actually have anything published… Should I tell people about it? They won’t take it seriously… And what if I never finish? Even if I do, will it be successful?”

The way I worked through these new doubts was the same when I first started writing: I moved forward regardless. I changed all my bios on every social platform, like LinkedIn and my professional website, to claim that I am a writer. I started telling people I was writing a memoir. I started crafting newsletters and blogs about my experiences as a writer.

My debut memoir is where it is today because I didn’t let my worries and doubts win. I still have my days when impostor syndrome brings out the skeptic in me, but I’ve gotten better at recognizing it and letting my true voice (the one focused on my goals) soften the negative noise.

Yes, writing my memoir was hard (so f’ing hard at times) AND that payoff was worth it. I healed. I learned a new craft. I made sense of my life. I listened to my true self. I enhanced my empathy, self-discipline, and time management. I created art to help others heal, grow and break free from their own judgement habits.

What has your true voice been telling you to do? Have you been listening to it?

If you want to learn more about impostor syndrome, check out my podcast guest appearance on The On-Call Empath.

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Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation if you’re struggling with impostor syndrome, “I was born to try new things and to create. Only I decide what success looks and feels like.

PPS – Do you want to remove some of the fear you have towards a project you’re working on (or should be working on)? If so, get out your journal. Here’s a writing prompt: What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you moved forward with your project and didn’t succeed? What’s the absolute best thing that could happen if you moved forward with your project and you did succeed (get dreamy here). Is the potential payoff worth the risk?

I nominated myself and you should too

Towards the end of last year, Hillsborough Community College where I’m a business instructor, recognized me as a finalist for their Champion of Diversity Award. I was and am still honored. I promote diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways: sharing my unique life stories as an at-risk youth with my students, conducting research on diverse populations, writing on topics that promote a deeper understanding of the human experience, inviting a range of talented and diverse speakers into my classroom, creating programs and opportunities for those in need, volunteering at nonprofits that support underprivileged groups. The list proudly goes on and on.

Given everything I do to further diversity and inclusion, I wasn’t shocked to receive the recognition but there’s also another reason I wasn’t shocked: I asked my boss to nominate me.  

That’s right. This amazing award didn’t just fall into my lap like many people like to believe (or tell you). Not only did I do the hard work to have the credentials to be considered, I also advocated for myself to be nominated. I knew I deserved to be considered for the award; I knew the value I brought to the college and the community, and I also knew that my peers and my boss may not know about all my efforts.  

I drafted out the reasons why I should be nominated and sent my boss a note asking him to consider nominating me if he felt I was deserving. Within minutes, he wrote back excitedly that he’d be delighted to nominate me. Over the next few days, I worked on my nomination form with a friend, and sent it to my boss for feedback.

The point here is simple: If you want something, go get it. Yes, I absolutely believe in the magic of luck and good things happening to good people (thank you Law of Attraction), but I also believe we need to own our journeys and not wait for others or the universe to hand us what we want. I believe we need to be active co-creators in accomplishing our goals. To do that, we need to stand up tall and forge our paths, unafraid to shine our lights and show others what we are truly capable of achieving.

I want you to leave with this: There’s no reason to be shy or embarrassed for wanting to promote yourself and share your accomplishments with the world. Yes, there are times you will get rejected. Yes, there are times people will judge you for putting yourself out there, but you know what? These things don’t matter. What matters is that you show up for yourself. What matters is that the world needs more role models like YOU and every time you get yourself noticed, you inspire others.

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Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help give you confidence to advocate for yourself: “The world is a better place when my light shines brightly. I courageously promote myself when it benefits me and others.

PPS – To get comfortable advocating for yourself, grab your journal. Here’s a writing prompt: What could you do this week to get your hard work recognized? Brainstorm a list of at least 10 ideas and then choose one and make it happen.

Why two heads are always better than one

We’re all familiar with the wise proverb, “Two heads are better than one”—but how often do you follow this advice? If you’re anything like me, or should I say the old me, the answer is (I mean was): not enough.

When you’re rushing to get something done—or let’s admit it, maybe you’re just too stubborn to ask for help—and refuse to get the guidance or support you really need, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The result: wasted time, feelings of frustration and confusion—and some pretty embarrassing and irreversible mistakes. That’s why today, I work with an army of trusted mentors, advisors and coaches to help me achieve my goals—and if you need more convincing, here’s why you should do the same.

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4 proven ways to impress recruiters with your resume

Ensuring a recruiter has a stress-free time reviewing your resume will increase the chances of you being called in for an interview. As a hiring manager who’s looked at thousands of resumes, this is what I and the industry look for from potential new hires.

Write a powerful summary statement

HR professionals and recruiters only spend 30 seconds or less reviewing an individual resume. That’s why developing an impactful and memorable summary statement is critical. Your statement should:

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Is there a dark side to emotional intelligence?

I consider my emotional intelligence to be one of my greatest strengths, and because of it, I’ve had thousands of positive and successful professional relationships. This trait allows me to easily work with a variety of people, handle conflicts effectively, comfortably navigate change and build even stronger relationships.

Seeing such a positive use and outcome, it was quite the shocker to find out some people use their emotional intelligence to actually manipulate others. According to research in The Atlantic’s articleThe Dark Side of Emotional Intelligencea research team led by University College London Professor Martin Kilduff found:

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My 4 favorite career advice articles I wrote in 2015

It’s hard to believe we’ll be celebrating the New Year in a few weeks. As I reflect on 2015, I can proudly say I accomplished a lot; both personally and professionally. I transitioned to a new career in human resources, started teaching as an adjunct professor and got more involved working with a nonprofit in my community.

Reflecting on my achievements helped me realize I measure success by how helpful I am to others.

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The perfect trick to help you cope with making tough decisions at work

In all of my management roles, I have been “the bad guy” more often than not. I’ve said “no” more times than I can count and I have made hundreds of unpopular choices. I’ve also been responsible for initiating and supporting dozens of corrective action conversations and terminations. In short, I’m not people’s favorite person at work. But you know what? That’s okay. I take pride in taking a difficult stance as long as it’s for the greater good of the company.

When I started out in my career, being “the bad guy” didn’t come as easy to me. I would get nauseous before I had to have a difficult conversation and the idea of someone not liking me would make me cringe.

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How to keep your resume current and why you need it to succeed

Have you ever felt stressed out because your resume wasn’t up-to-date? It turns out you’re part of the majority of job seekers in this feeling.

2015 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Study revealed that 61 percent of people keep their resume current at all times. I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that leaves only 39 percent of us who are up to speed on the resume process, ensuring we are staying up-to-date and stress-free.

Keeping your resume accurate allows you to regularly reflect on your career path while also preparing you for an unexpected job loss or opportunity. It also gives you the framework needed to keep your LinkedIn profile fresh.

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4 salary negotiation mistakes to avoid

With annual review season here, chances are you will be negotiating a pay raise. Your negotiating approach will have a significant impact on your end result so be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Bringing your personal life into it

Whether you’re expecting a child, buying a house or having financial troubles, it doesn’t qualify you for a raise, so don’t act like it does. When you bring your personal situation into the conversation you are letting your manager know why you need a raise as opposed to why you deserve it.

What to do instead: Share data and some recent examples of your accomplishments with your boss to help them see the value you bring to the organization. Helpful supporting facts you should include in your discussion are metrics where you exceeded expectations, completed projects, and employee and customer testimonials.

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4 ways to cope with job insecurity

Living with a lack of job security can be stressful, but did you know it’s also bad for your health? Job insecurity increases the odds of poor health by 50 percent, according to researchers from Harvard Business School and Stanford University.

This hits home for me. In my career, I’ve been an employee who’s worked for a company that frequently downsized, restructured and laid off employees. Working in that type of environment, I never knew if I was going to be the next one to lose my job. That stress was mentally and physically draining and caused me many headaches and sleeplessness nights.

And I’m not alone in this feeling. The majority of Americans are worried about paying for retirement, affording health care and losing their job, according to a new poll.

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