Achieving Goals: When you believe in yourself, you’re more likely to set ambitious goals and put in the effort to achieve them. You’ll have a positive attitude, take risks, and be resilient in the face of obstacles.
Starting something new is scary. Learning to believe in yourself can be a critical precursor to starting a new initiative. Why is it so important to learn to believe in yourself? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, authors, writers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers, to share empowering insights about “How to Learn to Believe in Yourself. “As a part of this series, we have the pleasure of interviewing Julie Flanders.”
Achievement expert, Julie Flanders, is a dynamic success coach and business strategist with a significant track record of helping leaders succeed on their own terms in business and in life. Her clients include thought leaders, business luminaries, New York Times bestselling authors, Academy Award winners, filmmakers, writers, coaches, therapists, and speakers. She is an expert in helping others live their dreams with health, joy, and balance. A dynamic public speaker, Julie is also an internationally acclaimed poet and songwriter, with award-winning compositions recently performed at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. She co-founded the recording-artist/production company, October Project, whose influential work continues to innovate the creative landscape.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up with four brothers, three dogs, and a cat in Montclair, NJ. My house was a chaos of constant activity and a revolving door of guests and ever-welcome visitors. My dad was a political journalist for CBS and my mom was a brilliant, one-of-a-kind creative thinker and free spirit who encouraged each of us to find our own path and direction.
Both my parents held standards of excellence and expectation for us, but rarely communicated rules or punishments. As a child I loved and studied music, ran the mile in track and enjoyed the relative freedom of a childhood before helicopter parenting. We were free to come and go as long as we arrived home for dinner. I had many adventures on a bike by myself, getting lost or finding some interesting place to hike and play or meet other kids.
Writing was always a part of my life. I loved and still love to read. I believe reading helps shape a person’s creative capacity and that literary fiction, poetry and great stories nourish our lives and expand empathy for one another.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
My career as a songwriter was inspired by Charles Osgood, a colleague of my father’s (this was before Charlie was famous — he was still a radio guy). He would come visit our house and I developed a pre-teen’s gargantuan crush on him. When I found out he was not only a journalist but a songwriter(!), I aspired to get his attention and perhaps interest him in marrying my eight-year-old self by writing songs I felt he would be unable to resist. Pssst — This has been a lifelong secret until this interview so please don’t tell anyone how much I loved Charlie Osgood.
My brother Jefferson and I went to his NYC apartment to play songs for him. Jeff wore a turtleneck in imitation of his hero, Burt Bacharach. Charlie was extremely kind and generous, told us how talented we were and encouraged us to follow our dreams.
That encouragement and mentoring really influenced me to understand the power of expert belief. Charles Osgood believed not only in talent and excellence, but in goodness and the power of stories, in song and in human connection. His kindness to a buck toothed, smitten 8-year-old with a songwriting dream still glows in my memory.
As for the coaching part of my professional world, that truly began with a love of magic. Very early in my life, I experienced a hypnotist causing me to forget my own name. He also got me to feel hot, to taste a lemon that wasn’t there and to go into such a deep trance that I could not remember what had happened, though others involved were laughing at the things I said and did. I could not believe this was possible and I was eager to learn how such powers of the mind could work. I then spent years studying hypnosis, first what is called Clinical Hypnosis, then Ericksonian and finally Neurolinguistics and Brain-based leadership, along with about a million other things that interested me. I loved and STILL LOVE the fascination of helping someone experience the magic of themselves coming true and into reality in ways they can barely dare to imagine.
Coaching didn’t really exist as a field when I began helping people. I worked for ten years as an executive recruiter in a small NYC-based boutique firm, and I specialized in the development of new technologies for home use. That is really another way to say, I helped find people who could invent reasons for people to use their computers at home. Essentially, I was helping discover internet content creators — thought we didn’t call it that back then.
I loved recruiting but even more so, I loved helping people find their true path and careers. I was always working with unusual, brilliant “oddballs” who were coloring outside the corporate margins. By helping people, I was naturally led to a word-of mouth business.
I also applied all my own tools to myself and my own life which is how I ended up fulfilling my dream of becoming a successful songwriter, producer, and performer. That dream is active in my professional reality as Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of the award-winning music, events, and content production company October Project Music. After two albums on SONY/Epic Records, I’m now an award-winning independent producer/songwriter/content creator collaborating with great artists in magnificent spaces like the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
I truly believe mistakes are the fastest way to learn.
I don’t know if this is funny or mortifying but when I was first practicing hypnosis, I was also studying Emotional Energetics and how trauma can get trapped in or released from the body. Part of this training was “experiential workshops” where we would shout and cry and scream and process old emotions through movement and song. In recording the singing part of the class (this was back in the days of cassettes), I also captured the class warm up which involved screaming, shouting, and cursing [it was quite noisy!].
On the other side of this cassette, I recorded a calming guided hypnosis. It was not meant for commercial release, it was just something I was always doing, always creating new hypnotics.
One day, new clients — a couple — came in asking for my help to quit smoking. First, I helped the wife, and then the husband’s appointment was immediately afterward. The wife was so happy with the session, and she wanted to wait for her husband to finish his session to learn of his results. I offered her a calming hypnosis tape to relax her while she waited.
Unfortunately, I handed her the tape with the crazy screaming on the “B” side. So, once she listened through that and went into a deeply relaxing trance, the tape automatically flipped and began to play the screaming side.
When I came out of the session with her husband, she asked about the screaming part of the tape.
I didn’t realize what happened until after she left. At that moment, I smiled and thought maybe she had gone to sleep while listening and imagined it.
I asked her if the tape helped. She said yes. She realized she had been smoking all these years because she was angry and that all the screaming she heard on the tape helped her see that smoking just sucked it all in and what she needed to do was to let it out.
When I realized what happened, I was mortified but truly excited to learn that we can’t always know what will help people. Sometimes a rousing good FU is all a person needs to reset.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I definitely check all my materials before sharing them!
But more significantly, I learned that most of what people struggle through is emotional and that society tends to polarize itself into “over positives” or “addiction to negatives.”
In my many decades of helping leaders, I have seen that it is the human condition to encounter challenges, feel all kinds of things and to be able to grow from whatever life hands us.
What makes the difference between getting stuck in something OR moving through it is often the degree of self-belief, resilience and support a person gives themselves or receives from others. Both that woman and her husband quit smoking in just ONE session working with me.
When I saw them a year later for a follow-up, they wanted to use hypnosis for a vacation they were taking, and they wanted to know if they could enhance their experience by practicing hypnosis.
I assured them that they could, and they did. I reminded them that part of what we had visualized for their future was a vacation where they had no desire to smoke and a much greater capacity for joy. They loved it.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
- Working with my producing collaborative, October Project Music, on the release of singles, videos and a new album this year, The Ghost of Childhood. Joining forces with internationally-acclaimed artists to generate/cultivate new multimedia work, including this sand art by Ukraine’s Got Talent-winner and world-star Kseniya Simonva which is raising money for women and children affected by the war.
- An Annual Poetry Contest hosted by October Project Music which invites people from all over the world to submit poems to a panel of poet judges, culminating in a celebration of participants and winners. 2023 marks the fifth year of running this competition and we’re so proud to help make poetry part of people’s lives.
- A full roster of consulting and coaching client projects with thought leaders and world shapers who are redefining the future. I mentor and support them to grow their leadership, influence and businesses.
How do you think that might help people?
My creative projects help people by bringing them on the ride, allowing them to experience fun and extraordinary pieces of music or poetry. Also, music and creative work can help people escape from real life pain or help them find joy and beauty.
My coaching and teaching help people increase their capacity to contribute to the world by living into their highest fulfillment. Their capacity ends up helping many others.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to believe in yourself?
Here are some reasons:
1. Achieving Goals: When you believe in yourself, you’re more likely to set ambitious goals and put in the effort to achieve them. You’ll have a positive attitude, take risks, and be resilient in the face of obstacles.
2. Resilience: Self-belief helps you bounce back from setbacks. You’re less likely to be discouraged by failure and more likely to keep trying until you succeed.
3. Positive Self-Talk: Self-belief creates a positive internal dialogue, which can boost your mood and reduce stress. Positive self-talk can help you stay motivated, focused, and productive.
4. Better Relationships: When you have self-belief, you’re more likely to attract positive people and build strong relationships. You’ll be confident in your ability to communicate and build meaningful connections with others.
Can you share a story or give some examples?
I had a client who wanted to raise two million dollars in a year. I challenged the number she was beginning with by reminding her of the villain from the movie, Austin Powers. He had gone away for a few decades and came back still thinking a million dollars was still a huge amount of money — which it wasn’t.
She did not believe she could raise a larger amount.
I asked her to daydream how it would be different if she didn’t have to know HOW, she only had to imagine that she COULD raise $10 million dollars in the same timeframe.
I asked to imagine she already had it, and to look backward and forward in imagined time.
She discovered it would be much easier to HAVE $10 million to build her new business than to scrounge with $2 million.
She then explained how she was imagining raising the money and that it involved her asking large numbers of people for very small amounts.
I asked her to imagine that for some people $10 million was just one check.
I then asked to imagine herself in a situation where she could be asking for and receiving a check with that value. She was willing to try that.
The end result was she found herself at lunch with a VC the next week. She shared her $2 million amount and the woman she was speaking with immediately said, “Oh, that is way too small for me. I start at $25 million as do a lot of people. Can you consider a bigger raise?”
So, imagine how she changed her idea of things then! And consider what she has since been able to accomplish since — self-belief and looking at different perspectives are invaluable.
On a smaller scale, I helped a friend who had been a radiologist consider how he might start reliving a lifelong dream of writing songs and making music. He was retirement aged and needed to develop everything — skill, relationships, opportunities, and greater songwriting ability. I suggested some things for him, made some introductions from my contacts in the music world and he took action immediately — he had the energy and enthusiasm of a 21-year-old! He just needed someone to believe he could.
His choices and efforts have paid off. Not only is he living his dream, but he has also had industry success, placing several songs with Nashville country singers, and moving in circles of people who share his love — and now-proficiency — in creating songs.
What exactly does it mean to believe in yourself?
Believing in yourself means having confidence in your abilities, decisions, and potential. It involves trusting your own judgment, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and having a positive attitude towards yourself.
Believing in yourself means that you have faith in your ability to achieve your goals and overcome obstacles, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. It means that you can stay focused on your goals, even in the face of doubt or criticism from others.
Believing in yourself also means being comfortable with who you are, accepting your flaws and imperfections, and recognizing that you have inherent value as a person. It means that you can take risks and pursue opportunities, even if they are outside of your comfort zone.
Ultimately, believing in yourself is about having a strong sense of self-worth and confidence in your ability to succeed in life, no matter what obstacles may come your way.
Can I believe that I can be a great artist even though I’m not very talented?
There is a difference between competence and confidence. Self-belief is more connected to confidence, but it has been demonstrated that people who approach learning with a sense of optimism and curiosity learn faster and more easily and are more likely to stick with the learning than those who self-savage or criticize themselves.
Talent is not up to us, but typically enjoyment and practice will improve anyone’s skill at anything they sincerely attempt. I have seen people far exceed others’ expectations and their own when they are willing to apply themselves.
To be a great artist is a very demanding career option and it’s not for everyone. The level of talent, self-belief and resilience is extremely high, as it also is in something like athletics. But anyone’s talent can improve, and many people can become very good.
There is a theory of learning that says a person who compares themselves to a level of achievement that is too far from where they start may get discouraged if they don’t also have milestones. Comparison of self and others is a natural part of learning, but the distance between where we are and where we want to be needs to be bridged. The Kahn Academy revolutionized the way we teach math because it provided a new paradigm of understanding what children need to learn math well in a group setting, with individual attention.
Enjoying and becoming good at an art form is something anyone who can learn can do. Before someone can be great, they will have to commit to the path that leads there and give enough time, engagement, and supported effort to acquire proficiency.
Can I believe I can be a gold medal Olympic even if I’m not athletic?
Self-belief is not self-delusion. If you decide to become a better athlete, that is something you can do and the belief that you can do it will enhance your motivation and ability to do so. It’s about having determination toward a goal but also being realistic with that goal or milestones to achieve the end goal.
If you think about an extreme medal winner like Simone Biles or Michael Phelps, and you think about the gold medals they won, the gold medals are merely a totem of their achievements.
What led to their abilities and accomplishments was years of work, self-belief, coaches, competitions, singular focus and exceptional ability and discipline. As they focused on a gold-medal dream, they became a person who could live that dream through dint of will and effort.
Think about this — if someone came into their home and stole their medal, the thief would “have” a gold medal, but certainly would not “BE” a gold medalist.
Achievement is like that. The gold medal comes because of many interconnected elements. All of them must be in place.
The pursuit of the medal, however, is what creates an Olympian, a champion of spirit and attempt. Not everyone gets there, but everyone who is serious about it changes because of their commitment.
Can you please explain what you mean?
Although an individual can stretch and expand their limitations or exceed them in extraordinary ways, being an Olympic athlete is something only very few people on planet earth can do.
Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself?
Like many people, I’ve had occasions where I didn’t believe in myself.
One time in particular is when one of my brothers made fun of me for wanting to be a cheerleader at our high school. He told me I was too much of a tomboy, that I would not make the team, and that I would look foolish trying.
So, I didn’t try. I dreamt of it. Wished for it and longed for it. And then pretended it was stupid. I pretended I didn’t want to be one of those girls.
Ironically, my brother went on to marry the head cheerleader.
How did this impact your choices?
By choosing to exempt myself from even trying, and by pretending I didn’t want something I actually did want, I set up a pattern of letting other people determine or influence my choices because of their opinion of me, rather than by moving toward what I wanted and seeing what happened.
I repeated this choice throughout my life, stepping back when I should have stepped forward, and exempted myself from experiences I now wish I had taken.
At what point did you realize that to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself?
I realized it most palpably in my late twenties when I had already become amazing at helping others but was unhappy in my own career choices and felt myself mismatched to the job I had at the time. I loved part of my work — where I was helping others find their dream career — but I lacked direct, artistic self-expression and fulfillment.
My unhappiness was how I learned that helping others is different than helping oneself — others’ happiness is always important to me, but I struggle to consider my own happiness as important. I still have to work on this, or it falls out of balance.
Can you share the story with us?
I began to apply what I knew to my own life, dreams, choices, and outcomes. The results were astonishing and taught me as much or more than my experiences coaching others.
Not only did I start my own business as a recruiter and career consultant, I also co-founded one of the most influential bands of the 1990s, October Project. I wrote songs for Broadway stars, created (and starred in) a sold out, critically acclaimed Off Broadway show, and ultimately started a family and raised an extraordinary child into a successful, wonderful adult.
I simultaneously studied all kinds of transformational learning and teachings, which kept both my personal and professional skill sets high.
I still live in both careers today, constantly reinventing as I go and as the times change.
What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves?
Here are some ways to develop and install self-belief or increase and enhance self belief, but also check out my video on YouTube.
1. Identify Your Strengths: Recognize your strengths and focus on them. Celebrate your successes and take pride in your achievements.
When they start with me, many of my clients have some degree of success, but they are living from challenge-to-challenge and problem-to-problem. They have an overachiever’s orientation to solving problems and handling tough stuff. They often underestimate their own strengths and thereby create a lot more struggle than is necessary. I find that when people live from a creative orientation, and move on the wave of their strengths, they can ride the momentum of greater joy, less friction in their self-relationship and being more often in the activities they love to do — their strengths — allowing others to support them in complementary strengths.
Other people are often better at identifying our strengths than we are. I love to teach workshops where total strangers meet each other, and we do an icebreaker where for a minute or so each person greets the other and tells them about something they are proud of or feel good about.
I then have these new acquaintances introduce one another as if they are presenting a beloved, long-term acquaintance for an imaginary award. I have them speak only in terms of the perceived strengths of that individual — making up and articulating their strengths from their brief encounter with them.
It’s extraordinary how fast and accurate these assessments are.
Perfect strangers often see our strengths better than we do. And when we lean into something we are proud of and talk about it, these strengths grow.
Being “strong in our strengths” helps grow our self-confidence.
2. Accept Your Weaknesses: Acknowledge your weaknesses, but don’t dwell on them. Instead, focus on how you can improve or work around them.
So-called weaknesses can be very valuable. They point to where we can grow. They also help us accept where we are human and can connect with others in a humble way.
Recently I had a client who is a sophisticated, powerhouse multi-million-dollar business builder try to send me a calendar invite for a series of meetings. She messed it up three times before confessing that she is terrible at administrative tasks and calendaring. She also completely acknowledges that her executive assistant is extraordinary, and she values her as a right hand. She is aware that she needs support, and she does not diminish the value of what her “right hand person” brings and how essential it is to her success.
3. Practice Self-Care: Take care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and practice relaxation techniques.
To feel good about yourself, it helps to actually FEEL GOOD in your body particularly as we live in a world of infinite stressors.
As a certified graduate of the Institute for Integrated Nutrition, I became acutely aware of how much food and basic good habits nourish leadership.
I had a client who was suffering recurrent headaches. It turned out he was not drinking any water and in becoming dehydrated (too much coffee) he would undermine his productivity. He was also sitting for long periods and stressing his neck.
We helped him create a morning habit of drinking a large glass of lemon water. We also set up alarms at three-hour intervals so he can take small breaks to stretch and drink water. His headaches have disappeared.
4. Take Action: Take small steps towards your goals and celebrate each success. This will build momentum and confidence.
Small steps foster quantum leaps. Powerful goals come down to measurable milestones. When we take action and acknowledge that we did, it strengthens our momentum. I often notice overachiever clients are reluctant to acknowledge themselves unless what they achieve is impressive.
They would progress faster if they noticed more frequently. This would create a pleasure-response and a neurological-chain of activity-reward in their brain. In my field we have a saying “neurons that fire together, wire together” meaning that the more you succeed and acknowledge it, the more you are predisposed to do so again and the easier and easier it gets each time.
Another thing to practice is having fun as you go. A spirit of joy in taking action, a spirit of celebration in self and others fosters a good working and living culture.
5. Learn from Failure: Use failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Identify what went wrong and use that knowledge to make better decisions in the future.
Successful people must fail more often and more visibly. Learning to love what others call ‘failure’ and what some call ‘mistakes’ is a great way to move forward quickly by seeking experiences, feedback and making fast adjustments so that new things can happen.
My definition of failure is giving up on oneself or one’s dreams. As long as you keep going and redefining, you can always generate a successful life in any way that is truly important to you. Knowing what is important to you really helps and that requires self reflection.
One way I have seen people learn a lot and quickly from failure is in learning what (and who) to let go of. I have one client who kept hiring important (key) members of her team because she liked them and because they were like her.
This resulted in her constantly asking people who were like her to handle tasks that were awful to her and to them.
When she finally learned to hire a person who would be suited to and right for a job and not just a personality fit, she started to realize that it contrasted with herself that she could most value her senior employees.
Yes, of course, she still hired people who matched the culture of high standards she was leading, but she realized she had to diversify the brain and work styles she was assembling into her teams.
Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?
My award-winning short film ‘Doubts’ explores this topic and what you can do with the negative inner voice.
Negative self-talk can be a pervasive and difficult pattern to break, but there are several strategies and approaches that can help:
1. Identify and Challenge Negative Thoughts: Start by becoming aware of the negative self-talk that you engage in regularly. Write your words down and examine them. Challenge the validity of the negative thoughts by asking yourself if they are based on facts or assumptions. Consider alternative perspectives and ways of viewing the situation.
2. Practice Self-Compassion: Instead of criticizing yourself, try being kind and understanding in your tone towards yourself. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, and practice treating yourself with the same kindness and empathy that you would offer to a close friend.
3. Reframe Negative Thoughts: Reframe negative thoughts into positive or neutral ones. For example, instead of thinking “I’m never going to succeed,” reframe it to “I may encounter some challenges, but I can overcome them. “
4. Practice Gratitude: Focusing on the positive things in your life can help shift your mindset away from negative self-talk. Consider keeping a gratitude journal or making a daily habit of reflecting on things you are thankful for.
5. Surround Yourself with Positive People: Seek out supportive friends and family members who uplift and encourage you. Spending time with people who are positive and supportive can help you build a more positive inner monologue.
Remember, building self-belief takes time and effort. Start small and be patient with yourself. With practice, you’ll develop the self-belief you need to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life.
6. Seek Professional Help: If negative self-talk is interfering with your ability to function, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can help you develop strategies and coping mechanisms that are tailored to your specific needs.
It takes time and effort to develop a more positive inner monologue, but with practice and persistence, it is possible to break the cycle of negative self-talk and build a more supportive and encouraging inner voice.
Here are some examples of things that a person can say in their own mind or inner voice to have a more positive and supportive experience:
1. “I am capable and competent.”
2. “I am worthy of love and respect.”
3. “I am allowed to make mistakes, and mistakes do not define me.” 4. “I am grateful for the things I have in my life.”
5. “I trust myself to make good decisions.”
6. “I am proud of myself for the things I have accomplished.”
7. “I am constantly learning and growing.”
8. “I am resilient and can handle whatever challenges come my way.” 9. “I am deserving of happiness and fulfillment.”
10. “I am enough, just as I am.”
Remember the key to developing a better inner monologue is to replace negative self talk consistently and consciously with positive affirmations. It may feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first, but with practice and persistence, it can become a natural and automatic habit that helps you feel more confident, capable, and at peace with yourself. By harnessing the power of our thoughts and using them to our advantage, we can create more fulfilling and rewarding experiences in our lives.
Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?
Yes. Expect it to be challenging to learn and hold self-belief at a significant level. It’s not easy. I think the idea that it’s easy leads people to think they can’t learn it. It’s not easy to RELEARN self-confidence if you already believe something else. Most people have practiced a self-image from childhood for their entire lives. They believed that familiar, often negative, image, story, or way of thinking of themselves and their “neurons” have created a pattern of “being that way.”
It takes spaced, consistent, unending repetition of a NEW way, a NEW set of familiarities and a REFUSAL to give up on oneself to create a different experience of oneself. It’s worth it.
It is not easy to develop sustained self-confidence, but it is so powerful, it absolutely merits whatever effort it requires.
Thinking of it as a practice, rather than a destination, is helpful. It is difficult to change self-image or self-confidence by oneself. It’s like playing chess with your own thoughts. This is why coaching can be essential. A coach can believe in you and your power even when you find it difficult to do this for yourself. With help, support, and commitment, you get to choose who you become.
What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?
Well, even the term “Imposter Syndrome” suggests they have an idea of “Some Other Way to Be” that OTHER PEOPLE are “doing better.”
I’d suggest writing down how they think it is for this imaginary or real “other person” — the one that seemingly DOES NOT have “impostor syndrome.”
How might they imagine it would be to BELIEVE in themselves the way they are believing in their “comparison person” in the situations where it matters to them?
What do they perceive as the difference between how they think of themselves and how they think of the real or imagined other — the one who doesn’t have impostor syndrome? (By the way, most people seem to be walking around with some version of impostor syndrome).
In a person’s perceived difference between themselves and another, there will be clues as to how to help recreate their self-image to better align with how they want it to be. Instead of comparing themselves to others, I encourage people to compare themselves with a better and achievable version of themselves, with the freedom from feeling like an impostor.
For example, if they chose Oprah as their example of someone who might not struggle with impostor syndrome, what do they imagine gives her that ability? Is it something
she had BEFORE she was “Oprah” as we know her? How did she acquire that sense of self? What else did she need to do what she did and does?
By examining what a person holds as “impostor syndrome” they can begin to see that they need to unfold what they are calling a ‘syndrome” to see what it holds.
Do they need to increase competence? Confidence? What specifically would bridge the gap in their mind. Once we understand where the imaginary experience of “being an impostor” gains power, it’s much easier to solve circumstantially and the emotional aspects tend to resolve as a part of the process of change.
Typically, syndromes avoid specifics and generalize the idea that someone just can’t change something. This is never true. Even if a circumstance can’t change, the meaning we give it can.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
A thought that occurred to me when I was very afraid in a dentist’s chair was “what would the opposite of this fear be?” And the idea of a worldwide conga line that crossed the false geographies of nations and religions and invited every person in the world to hold onto the person in front of them and do a silly dance would solve a LOT of problems.
It was such a silly idea, but also held a soul of possibility in it. It is so human to move, to touch, to organize, to march, to dance — these traits can be creative or destructive. Soldiers march and when it’s in peacetime, it’s beautiful. During war, it’s horrifying. A worldwide conga line, as impractical as that is, would be very fun and amazing. I’ve now written and produced two worldwide choirs with people (strangers!) from all over the world so who knows? Conga line next?
The structure of manifesting a great vision is to start with an idea of where you want to end up. I’d love the world to end up in an ecologically healthy place for the future, with enough water, food, air, land, and health for every living person. I also believe that when people are safe, free, educated, and joyful they are likely to be at their best and make better choices. Part of how people arrive at this state is through self-care, love, and contribution to others and by living the truest possible choices available to them.
I wonder what would happen if everyone in the world held love for all other people in their hearts for one day, the same day, or even one minute, the same minute. And that love would also include THEMSELVES of course. What would happen? In that minute of love, everyone could forgive everyone for everything (including themselves) release all rage, resentment, and anger from the past and choose to love themselves and others freely, generously, and abundantly because they want and choose to.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Oh my God — how to choose just one! One form of gratitude I practice is to appreciate other creators. Here are a few that spring top of mind –
- Margaret Atwood — She is an incredible writer and societal prophetess. Her novels, poems, creativity, and public courage inspire me.
- Tommy Kail — His work as a director for Hamilton, Sweeney Todd, the new HULU series Up Here and his lovely marriage to Michelle Williams (SUCH an incredible artist) inspire me. I would dream of one-day collaborating with him on a theater or television musical.
- Leslie Jones — I adore Leslie Jones. Her humor and badassery, her freedom as a performer and a public person are astonishing. I also love the tenderness and vulnerability she allows to flow like a sweetness through her salty comedic genius. I love her.
- Richard Branson — One of a kind. Such a generous, creative, extraordinary human. Everything leads to yes-success, and no-one handles mistakes and failures better. He’s a marvelous storyteller.
- Maria Popova — who created such an incredible, rich newsletter.
- Susan Cain — Author of Bittersweet. One of my favorites.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website — http://julieflanders.com/
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/julieflanders/
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.