Hey, rebels. Welcome back to season five of the Midlife Career Rebel Podcast. I'm so excited about this season, because guess what? It's our one year anniversary. We've been podcasting for a whole year now. And I just want to take a moment to thank you for listening. Thank you for your comments and your feedback and encouragement. It's really been amazing to hear. And it's been an incredible journey to be on with you for this year, and hopefully for many years to come.
So as we start the session, I thought I would talk about something that I've been experiencing recently, and something I've noticed in other people as well. And I call it the fear of authenticity. Now, the fear of authenticity and the struggle of conformity, as I'm calling it, I think is really hovering around the land of imposter syndrome and people pleasing. But because it was something that I was experiencing, I really wanted to talk about it and see if other people could relate to it. And to see if the conversation would be helpful in some way.
Now, as I was getting ready to put the season of the podcast together and thinking about topics I wanted to talk about and get them ready and getting ready to hit record, I actually was panic stricken, right? I was totally struck with the inability to talk into the mic and to start the recording. And so I had to stop and do my own thought work around it, and try to figure out really what was going on. And what I realized is that I got into my own head, and I was so much more focused on what others were thinking about me. I was so consumed with you, my dear listener, in terms of what you would think about what I was sharing, whether or not I was important or relevant. And I was so focused on that, that I forgot that I just needed to be real and authentic. It's most of the reason that people tell me they listen to me anyway.
And so I got so consumed about doing something meaningful and creating something that mattered that I forgot to just lean into sharing what I think is relevant and important, right? As opposed to really leaning into me just authentically showing up and just being me. And sharing what I think is really impactful and useful, based on my experiences or experiences with clients, based on what I know about what's happening in the world of work today, that may be relevant, that may be related to midlife women and professionals who were ready to step into careers they love. I was really struggling with what people think.
And so I thought, what a great topic for our very first episode of the season. To really unpack why it's so hard for us to stand in our authenticity, just to be ourselves. And why we feel such a push to not stand out and to make sure that we are fitting in and conforming. And it reminded me of the TEDx talk I did some years ago, which I mentioned before, about fit versus belonging. And it was the same premise of the conversation that we're having today. That we spend so much of our time trying to fit into places so that we're accepted. Denying or stripping away all of what makes us authentically ourselves, so that we're somehow liked. Or that we are perceived to be part of the norm of society, because we care about what other people think. We become so focused on that, that we don't lean into what makes us unique and amazing so that we can show up as we are. And instead, find those places and communities that will encourage us and accept us to be who we are.
And even though I had that conversation years ago on that stage, it's as if I had it yesterday, because it doesn't mean the struggle is over. It's always there with us. So if there are things that you want to go after or do, but you don't, or there are opportunities that you want to take advantage of, but pass on, and if you've been invited to give a presentation to speak on stage, to co-author a book, to sit on a panel, to have a discussion and be the first one doing something that no one else has done before, if the first thing on your mind is, what will people think of me? That's when you may be realizing that you're struggling with this too, right? If you're thinking, will they like and accept me? That people pleaser, imposter syndrome, fear may be keeping you from really being authentic. And the fear of authenticity and the struggle to conform, in our society has, I think, been exacerbated by the fact that we've lost our civility.
So anytime we put things out there in the world, in just a moment's notice, anyone can comment on it and tell us that they don't like it, they don't like us, and who do we think we are, without even trying to understand it or even having a conversation. I mean, we've just lost our civility in a lot of ways in this world. And of course, there are the cyber bullies that are out there who love to sit behind the camera in dark rooms and comment on everything you're doing because they don't have the chutzpah or the backbone to get out there and live their best lives and to show up authentically themselves. It's easier to bring people down when you're too afraid to show up powerfully and confidently in your own life.
And because we're pack animals ... and I've said this before. We depend and love community. It can be really hard to put ourselves out there by being a disruptor or choosing to go off on the beaten path or not conform to what everyone thinks we should be doing or how they think we should be showing up, for fear that we won't have a community. That we won't be accepted. That people won't understand or want to be a part of what we have to offer. And when we bump up against that, we start to feel our own insecurity about whether or not who we are or what we have to offer or what we do in the world, if it's really worth notice, worth sharing, or worthy at all. And as opposed to just owning and understanding that our desire and need to be ourselves, to be authentic, the importance of being authentic is enough, we tend to shrink back and hide.
And I'm admitting this. Yes, I'm struggling with this even myself right now. I mean, I've since worked through it, but it's definitely a struggle that is real. That people definitely have experienced is something that I think is so important to talk about. I've been in so many calls with individuals who are struggling with this very thing, that I think is so important for us to have a conversation about it. Thank God I've done the work and I've got coached on it, so I am in a better place to talk about it. But I know so many are paralyzed and trapped by it, right? I've been able to rise above it, most times. But the thing that I've learned is that ... particularly in this training that I'm in or have been for the last few months. This Master Coach certification training that I'm doing. Is that the things actually never leave you. They never go away from you, but we have the choice to rise above it.
And I love to use the analogy of the movie, A Beautiful Mind. Have you seen that? Hopefully you have. And it's a movie that the lead character, John Nash, who's a famous mathematician and did some amazing work around game theory, struggled with schizophrenia. And he would see these characters, these three different characters throughout his life that he would talk to and engage with, thinking that everyone else saw them too. He would listen to their voices. They would tell him things about himself or things to do. But all three characters were only in his mind, and therein lied the problem. And it was only after therapy and medication, was he able to see that they actually weren't real. That they still stayed with him, they were just part of what was happening in his mind. And even with the medication and therapy, they still stayed with him for the rest of his life.
And that's how I look at the things like imposter syndrome or perfectionism or the fear of authenticity or the struggle with conformity, or me really thinking about what other people are going to think and say. It's like these other things in my head that are with me, that are present all the time in my mind. But we have the choice to either listen to them and follow them and allow them to rule and govern our lives, or we have the ability to acknowledge that they're there, but choose not to listen to them and not let them rule our lives. They're with us, and we can look at them, right? Just like in the movie where he saw them walking side-by-side by him.
But we can make a decision every single day to say, listen, I know you're there, but I'm not listening to you. I'm not going to engage you. I'm not going to follow you. Instead, I'm going to follow a path of my own design, of my own accord. That makes sense for me, for my family, my job, my career, my business, for whatever. That's what we have to do as well. We have to be able to rise above whatever it is, those negative stories, those limiting beliefs, the fear of not fitting in so that we can embrace our authenticity and find those places and spaces where we're welcomed. Where we belong. Where we're accepted for who we are, for what we have to offer the world.
That goes with relationships, with friendships, with employment, with anything that we do. Even with this podcast. Some people will love it and some people won't, but that shouldn't be the indicator for me to decide to be myself and to be real and authentic. And that's the work. That's what we need to focus on. How to feel the fear and experience the struggle, but not let it rule us or prevent us from living our absolute best life. Happiness is something that we can do for ourselves. We struggle with trying to have other people give us validity, give us happiness, give us encouragement, give us motivation, give us inspiration, or let us know that we're okay or that we're doing okay. But the truth of the matter is all of that is found within ourselves. We have to first be okay with ourselves. We have to first see the validity in ourselves. We have to be the first to believe in ourselves, to trust ourselves, to embrace ourselves, to love ourselves. We have to be the first.
But we've been raised in a society to believe that we have to seek that outside of ourselves. And then if we don't get it, then that means something's wrong with us. And I claim bullshit on that. The way to rise above it and stand in authenticity is not going ... it's not really about going against the grain and saying, screw all of society. I don't need you anymore. I'm not saying that that's what it means. Even being a rebel doesn't mean that we're doing something against something. It means we're doing something for ourselves. It's about telling society, this is who I am, and this is what you're going to get. Because I love me. And that's what you're going to deal with. That's all it means.
And what you'll find in the world is that there are people who have been dying to meet the real you. To connect to the real you, to embrace the real you, to work with the real you, and engage with you. To engage your services, to hire the real you, to promote the real you, to do work in business with the real you. But we don't give ourselves the opportunity because we're so worried about what others will say, think, feel, or do. And for those who don't want it, that's okay. Because you know what? They're not meant to be in your circle.
It's the fear of authenticity and the struggle of conformity that we have to recognize and know that that's there. And not to beat ourselves up for it because of it, but just to recognize it and then make a choice and a decision to say, this is not the path I'm going to follow. I know you're there. I know you're going to be with me. But buckle up buttercup, because this is what we're about to do. We're taking the direction of being real, of being honest, of being free to be who we are and who we want to be.
Now, I believe there are three ways that can help us do that. One is to create your own sense of safety. And sometimes we don't show up authentically because as I say, we're afraid of what people will say or do. We're afraid that we won't be accepted. And we have these worst case scenarios in our minds about what's going to happen. And with those worst case scenarios, that's what makes us feel afraid and unsafe to be who we are. So what we have to do to create our own sense of safety is to allow yourself to go to the extreme. Ask yourself the likelihood of all the things that you fear may potentially happen. Let yourself go there. And the reason you want to do that is because most of the time, what we come up with that may happen, when we actually say it out loud and express it, we realize it's really not going to happen.
What often is revealed by managing our minds is that we're safer than we think, and we have little or nothing to fear. That we actually can create our own safety by doing that, by managing all of the fears and the horror stories that we've created. Because when we think about it, it's not true. And when we look at examples in our lives where we were authentic and real, nothing bad happened then, and it probably won't happen in the future. Now, it takes some work to do it. And it takes time and sometimes a little bit of support to be able to get there, but it's absolutely doable. And when you create your own sense of safety, you're less worried about what people will say or what may come at you, because you're choosing to be real and authentic. And that's really, really important.
Now, the other thing is that you want to value your genius. And valuing your genius really requires you to stop looking for external validation of your brilliance, but learning how to internally validate yourself. Value what it is that you have to offer the world. To value your voice, your intelligence, your opinions, so that you can express them in a way that's going to uplift and encourage others around you. It's you seeing that you do have something to share, and that there are people who are there who want to hear it. And that what you have to share is just as important as anything or anyone else.
It doesn't mean that you have to be on stage or share with other people, but that what you have to share is important because you're important and because you're worthy. And valuing that within yourself helps you to be authentic. Honestly, to be authentic, we have to understand our genius and understand our brilliance and understand what we bring to the table. So I would say the first step is to really know what your genius is, and then learning how to value it would definitely help you to overcome the fear of authenticity.
And then the last thing is that you have to have your own back, right? You got to have your own back. And that means that no matter what you're doing, you're okay. That you're going to be there for you. That you're going to love you, support you. That you don't need to rely on anyone else to do that, because you got yourself. You will support yourself, not beat up on yourself or think something ill of yourself. That no matter what you decide to do, you're going to be okay.
You have to have your own level of accountability, and that means being true to your commitments and trusting in yourself. Now, it's funny, initially when people come to me and say they want to work with me, they're often unhappy and they're miserable. And I can often tell they don't have their own backs. They don't see a path forward. They want to step into a new iteration of something, but they stop short of doing it because they're afraid and they're worried that they're not going to be able to make it to the other side or get the results that they want. Or they're afraid what may happen and what other people may think.
So they'll ask me things like, well, what's the guarantee? And can you promise me? And what are the steps, and what's involved? And what tools do you have? They ask me all these questions, because they're looking outside of themselves to get some type of proof and validation that they're going to get what they want. But as I always say, it's not about me getting you the results you want. It's about you learning how to trust yourself and making the best possible decisions for yourself to get what you want. I don't have a magic wand. No one does. And no one can give you joy or happiness. No one can make you love what you do. No one can do the work to get the promotion, the job, to step into the next iteration of what you want to be or do to start that business. No one can do that, but you.
But you have to be able to do that for yourself. You have to trust and believe in yourself and be accountable to yourself. And most importantly, you got to know how to have your own back. You have to trust yourself to stay committed to the process of getting what you want. To stick with it through the hard times, the challenging times, and the times when everything doesn't go quite as planned. But even though that happens, you're still trusting and believing that you're going to get what you want and get the results that you want. Believing in yourself and trusting in yourself by having your own back. And when you have your own back, you don't fear being authentic or owning your voice or going after what you want.
For me, these are the three ways that we can learn to really no longer fear our authenticity and to stop struggling with conformity. When we can create our own sense of safety, when we can value who we are and what we bring to the world. And when we can have our own backs, we can step into anything that we want. Do anything that we want, have anything that we want. And that's a promise. So I encourage you to be you, to embrace you, to be authentically you.
Listen, that's what I have for you today, our very first episode of our new season. And I want to thank you so much for joining me. And listen, if you want help owning your authenticity, creating your sense of safety, valuing your genius, and owning and having your own back, then I want to invite you to join me for a free complimentary 30-minute professional strategy session. And in that session, we'll map out a strategy for you to own your voice and to no longer fear being authentic. Until next time, have an amazingly rebellious week. And I'll see you soon.