In this episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we talk about assertiveness as a way to overcome impostor syndrome. My guest, Ivna Curi, an assertiveness consultant, shares her personal story as well as her perspective on why assertiveness is so important. She also shares important strategies to help us gain clarity, stop making assumptions and speak up with greater confidence.
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About My Guest
Ivna Curi’s mission is to empower professional women and minorities to empower themselves through assertive communication skills so they can confidently get ahead in their careers, lead better, and have more impact. She teaches how to speak your mind, ask for what you want, say no, disagree, self-promote, give feedback and advocate for yourself in a respectful and effective way.
She is a Forbes contributor and the CEO and founder of AssertiveWay.com where she offers trainings, workshops, and community support. She has an MBA from INSEAD and has lived in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. 14 thousand students have taken one of her assertiveness courses.
Get started today with her crash course on how to be more assertive at work without being rude at https://assertiveway.aweb.page/getahead, get other free resources at https://www.assertiveway.com/free, or sign up for her weekly newsletter at https://assertiveway.com/newsletter.
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Kim Meninger Welcome Ivna, I can’t wait to have this conversation with you today, we kind of started a little bit before we hit record. But before we do that, I would love to invite you to introduce yourself to us. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ivna Curi Yeah, thank you, Kim. And I love what you’re doing here. It’s absolutely phenomenal. And we all go through this. So, my name is Ivna Curi and I am currently the CEO and founder of a company called Assertive Way where we empower you to empower yourself with positive assertiveness skills. And we really focus on the professional side for women. And we were talking earlier about women in male-dominated fields, that’s an area that, as you, I’ve been through, and I’ve lived that reality, and it’s, it’s not easy. And so it’s definitely an area, you know, that the kind of not only women in male-dominated environments, but women in general who want to speak up or feel a little bit scared of doing so, that, you know, are held back a little bit. And I also work with minorities, immigrants, you know, Asians, folks who generally have a hard time speaking up because, and women obviously, because they’re, they’re scared of that, like we were talking about that backlash effect. And that’s why it’s even more important to learn how to stand up for yourself in the positive, kind, respectful way, which we will be talking about soon. So yes, and my background is, in engineering, analytics. I worked in the corporate sector for a while, and I had a few teams, worked in different continents, not, you know, just in the US. So all of that has helped me get into this whole assertiveness thing and, and decide that this is the path that I want to take moving forward. And it’s such an important skill that I decided this is something that I want everybody to learn. And it’s not, you know, taught at school or anywhere. So that’s why I’ve gotten into this.
Kim Meninger I love, I love, love, love what you’re doing. And that you’re teaching people something that we not only haven’t learned but that we often misunderstand, I think and are sometimes afraid of. And you know, what, I’m going to ask you a lot more about what you do and how you think about assertiveness. But before we do that, I’d love to get your thoughts on what impostor syndrome means to you. And whether or not it’s ever shown up for you in your work or in your life.
Ivna Curi It showed up all the time. It has always been there. And you, you learn to manage it, or at least that’s what was, what happened for me. And for me, the way I like to describe it, it’s, it’s confusion, right? It’s a lot of confusion that we go through that causes us to ruminate and overthink things. It’s confusion about what we have to offer, our talent, the potential we have, and how it’s perceived by others. It’s confusion around what matters in that moment, in that interaction, in that conversation. It’s, it’s really a lot of confusion. And I think that if we focused more on, on clarifying things, to reduce that confusion, I think it would be a lot easier. And that’s a path that I’ve followed. And it showed up to me. I mean, it showed up in my life, in my career, mainly, always. Maybe, maybe I can share an example. When I was in my third job I was still fairly young, 25 years old. I, I felt like, I felt like, and this job was my first manager job, right? The first time managing a team. And I felt like everything was falling apart. Nothing was working. Like everything that came to me, and I had to handle, was just dismantled. And I… like, this is a mess, like I’m not doing anything right. And everything was scary. And everybody was complaining. My team was always upset. And my and my and the people that I was serving were always upsetting clients, while everybody seemed always upset and in an emergency mode. And I thought, this is, I’m just the worst manager on planet earth. Like, this is, this is, I don’t even know, you know what’s gonna happen to me. I mean, I don’t know what my boss thinks of me. This is terrible. And that went on for about a year and then I, I wanted to get it, I was in that job temporarily because I wanted to get that management experience that I could apply for an MBA of my choice. And I knew that would increase my chances of getting in. And so at that point, I’m like, I am a wreck. I’m terrible. But I need the money to finance this thing, this MBA. So I don’t know where to get I had tried all routes. I said, I’m gonna ask my boss for money. And it had been like, not even a year. And I said, I, but I said, No, there’s no way he’s going to pay for this because I would have to leave the job. And, and I’m a terrible performer, but I’m going to do it anyways because I don’t have another option. And this is, in the desire for that experience, with that specific MBA was so big, that I’m like, whatever, I’m just going to do it. I don’t have another alternative right now. And to my surprise, not only did my boss say yes, not immediately, but you know, within a month, he said, yes. But he also started to compliment me so much. And say, so wonderful. Like, just give me so much positive feedback. And this is my favorite boss of my entire life because he always gave me a lot of support. But then, because he started to tell me, all these great things of what he appreciated. And in me, I started to realize that, you know, there even though I thought everything was falling apart, I could see through his eyes why he thought I was doing extraordinarily well. And it was one of those moments where I, you know, I always go back to that sometimes and think, you know, sometimes I’m not … things look messy, and I look, I feel incompetent. But somebody out there, usually my boss, or somebody in the company sees something else. And I want to find out what it is that they see. And I make it a point to figure out what they see. Because they see something that I can’t see. They see potential that I can’t see, they see, in my boss my case, he said, I keep throwing you all the problems, the biggest problems that I have, and you keep handling everything. You keep absorbing it and you handle it with poise. And it seems like you just, you just you’re infinite, you have infinite ability of resolving problems. And I did not see that at all. So you know, it’s it was a fascinating experience for me.
Kim Meninger I love what you’re saying about… and what I’m, what I’m sort of thinking about is, we’re so attuned to our behind-the-scenes, messiness, right. But that’s true for everyone, right? And if you think about the impression that we have of other people, we don’t see how they got to what they’re producing. We just see that product in many cases. And so I love that you’re recognizing that there is a distinction between how you see yourself and how other people see you, and that it’s important to understand that, to ask for that information.
Ivna Curi Yes. Yes, absolutely ask, and that’s part of the confusion part. And, you know, I had that experience early on, but that doesn’t mean that the impostor syndrome left, huh. You know, my next job and the other job and the next year. It keeps coming back, like a boomerang. But now I have tools. I have tools, like you said, that’s one of them right to, to undo this confusion is like, ask people for what they think, try to understand. I noticed the scary thing, like you think if you, if you bring attention to yourself, then they’re gonna fire you for sure. Because you’re gonna bring attention to all your faults, and everything that you do wrong, and everything that’s not good. Like, aren’t we all scared? Sometimes? You know, those of us that suffer from impostor syndrome, have annual performance review.
Kim Meninger Hmm.
Ivna Curi Yes. It’s so scary.
Kim Meninger Well, and it’s interesting, because if fear is the driver, which it often is, right, we, we overestimate the consequences of just addressing that question head on, right? It feels super scary and super risky. But to me, the constant anxiety of wondering and not being sure, am I doing this right, right? Did, what do other people think of me? Is far more painful than the moments of discomfort that you feel when you’re starting that, that feedback conversation. At least you walk out of there with concrete information that you can do something with.
Ivna Curi Yes, absolutely. And I actually think about that a lot when I’m, I’m feeling like an impostor. Because I think you know what, this rumination, this overthinking. That’s consuming me. That’s, I literally think of it as, it’s sucking my energy away. My productivity, my ability to be great to do great things to add value. And it’s just reducing you to such a small entity. It’s a lot because of that withdraw, like we kind of withdraw from the situation from everything. And it’s just not, it’s not very helpful. It’s like, it almost reminds me, I just thought of this right now, you know, when some people go through depression. And instead of opening up to the world and seeking out support and seeking out people and seeking out more, they kind of go into their little hut and hide. And sometimes we tend to do that. And just, that just makes things worse.
Kim Meninger Yes, you’re exactly right. We make our worlds really small, and we isolate ourselves from the resources that can help us feel better.
Ivna Curi The resources and, and just tapping into the reality, because the more we get into our head, the less we’re able to see reality. Yeah. And the reality often is, we’re actually doing a lot of things very well. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where we are, we wouldn’t, you know, be usually something that I was talking to this lady who felt like she was, again, not doing very well and just in her head as well. And, and I asked her like, what, why do you think she’s like, I’m terrible, I’m not good. It’s like, why did you think you’re, your boss hired you? What did they say? What did, what did your boss see in you? And then she’s like, oh. And then in that moment, she realized there were all these positive qualities that her boss actually saw in her during the interview that hired her for and that’s that she had to tap into that, like, let that be, let yourself, those qualities come through. We don’t have to be perfect in you know, every way. And we tend to think that we do, but opening up and seeking that clarity and asking our bosses and our clients and our peers for constant feedback. And here’s the thing, when you also do really good things, like when you think you perform relatively okay. I would say that’s a great time to ask for feedback. Because you’re going to get reinforcing positive messaging, and that’s going to help you get out of that.
Kim Meninger Hmm, that’s a great point. Now I have a question for you are, is this your definition of assertiveness? Or is there more to it? Like what does assertiveness mean to you in terms of how you have gotten to the work that you do today?
Ivna Curi Oh, yes. Thank you for asking me that question. This is one of the things that most people misunderstand. And, and it doesn’t, like even folks who have a really great education, right? have been in the marketplace for a very long time. When I asked them, what does assertiveness mean to them? I always get answers that are negative, generally negative, negative and when I ask women, you know, what does assertiveness mean to you? Do you aspire to be assertive? Like, nope, I don’t want to be assertive. Like, why don’t you want to be assertive? This because it has negative stigma around it. So what assertiveness means is basically to speak your mind, to share your thoughts, your desires, your request to defend yourself, to advocate for yourself, to speak up, to share what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what, what you’re hearing, what you wish to, what your passions are, share your dream, share your goals, talk about yourself, and what’s in your world in a way that is polite, and is respectful, that is thoughtful, that is considerate towards others. And without feeling anxiety about it without feeling like overthinking it, without having to get all worried about it. Which often is what we do, right? Yeah. And where, where do you think that anxiety comes from? Why is this so hard? Well, it’s hard because of that pattern that we have. Growing up, sometimes as a child, especially for women, but also certain people from certain cultures when they have to, like a lot of Asians when they come into or even some African cultures. You know, as they, when they come to a Western culture, it’s very different. It’s very open. But for women, women in particular, as you’re, as you’re a child, and like for me, this was the case, you had to like, be quiet like, you couldn’t speak up. And if you you know, being a good girl meant nodding your head and saying yes, and listening and always being pleasant and not questioning authority from other cultures is about not questioning authority. And not speaking your mind openly, not being negative, you know, and all these things that we’re taught. And we think that that’s the way, that’s how people are going to accept us. That’s how we’re going to be safe. That’s how, for me a huge thing was being obedient, like a young obedient girl, like I did what I was told if there was a classical example, right? If there was food on my, that was given to me on a plate. I couldn’t question that, I couldn’t say anything negative about that food, I had to eat that food. And it was only by in my mid 20s, that I realized that I could say no, to food, like to something that people served me and I didn’t want to eat it like I had, I could say no. I could express that I didn’t like food. And that was okay.
Kim Meninger Yeah, that obedience piece is so powerful. And I talk about this a lot too, that good girl sort of standard that we have been conditioned to think about. And if that is the mindset that you bring into the workplace, right, that basically your boss is like a parent that you don’t question, or an authority figure that you never push back on, you accept at face value what’s asked of you, it’s gonna be really hard to advocate for yourself, it’s gonna be really hard to set boundaries, to negotiate. I mean, all of the things that we kind of associate with leadership and self-advocacy become less available to you, if your way of operating is one of making your, your boss happy at any expense.
Ivna Curi Absolutely. And so you’re going to suffer a lot internally, as an individual contributor. And then as a manager. You’re going to make your team suffer.
Kim Meninger Hmm. Absolutely. So what do we, what do we do, and I know this is not a problem, we can solve in, you know, a 30-minute conversation. But if you sort of.. what’s the starting point for somebody who identifies with this notion of a good girl wants to be more assertive but can’t find the, find the point at which those two things intersect.
Ivna Curi First of all, I would say figure out what type of person you want to be. And for me, it was a realization that everybody called me nice. Everybody described me as nice, I was a nice person. I was nice. You know, I always was described and thought of myself as a nice girl, just a nice person. And that’s how people would refer to me as. And I said, no, you know, that’s not what I want to be anymore. And I allowed that to actually become anger at some point. I’m not I never, I hardly ever feel anger, but that’s one of the things around assertiveness is that, allowing yourself to feel certain things is a positive sign. Because you can use that negative, you know, energy like that, that anger or that frustration to fuel action, to fuel doing something about it. And at that point, I started to reflect, okay, what is it that I want to be, if not nice, how do I want to be seen and treated and, and by other people, right. And for me, that was I looked at tons of objectives. And I thought, you know, what, I want to be respected. And I want to be respectful. And out of all those words that I found, it’s like, respected and respectful. But right now, I’m not being respected, being nice, does not get, earn me respect, and does not earn respect for my team, and does not earn, it does not get the best out of me, and of what I can deliver to the world. And so from that moment, things also started to shift because I’m like, is this action that I’m taking right now respectful, and allowing others to respect me or earning respect from others. And often, all of those things that are considered nice, we’re not earning respect, we’re not something that would give me the object, the objective of, you know, being respected of being someone who is respected. So that was a huge change as the starting point of kind of changing. It wasn’t really the starting point of assertiveness for me, but I think that’s a great place for people to, to start thinking about what they want to be in gaining that clarity.
Kim Meninger I love what you’re saying about this idea of being respected and respectful, because I think sometimes we think that it’s an either or proposition, right? Like, I can either be nice, or I can be respected. And that’s often how we’ve been conditioned to think, but what you’re describing is, I can be respected and at the same time, be respectful of other people. Excuse me, and I think that’s what I, that’s how I frame assertiveness in my own mind is that I’m not just honoring your needs and values, and you know, what’s, what makes you feel respected, but at the same time honoring my own.
Ivna Curi Oh, yes, yes. So for example, a nice person might not disagree, but respectful and respected person would disagree and would disagree in the right, polite, thoughtful way. And a nice person might not say no. But a respected and respectful person would say no, and would know how to do it in a, in a proper way, that would be a win-win for both. A nice person would not, you know, would not make a decision that is, is a hard decision that feels harsh, or it would give negative feedback, for example, in a very clear way, but a respected and respectful person knows that that’s the right thing to do sometimes, and they will do so in a very humane, dignified way. And that’s the subtle difference.
Kim Meninger Well, I love how you attach it to who you want to be as well, because I think most of us would like to think of ourselves as nice people, right? We don’t want to be the opposite of that. But oftentimes, in our effort to be nice, what we’re really doing is just being safe. And being safe doesn’t help us to achieve our goals. And it also doesn’t advance the goals of the organization as well. Right? And, you know, our unwillingness to take risks or to address things that we disagree with it, it deprives people of our unique perspective and the strengths and the expertise that we bring to the table.
Ivna Curi Absolutely. And, and sometimes the issue is that we don’t feel like we have anything valuable to share or to say right? Even though we do, we have that feeling that maybe we don’t have something or maybe that our rights are not, or we don’t deserve to be at the table. We don’t deserve.. That’s often like what happens, right? Sometimes when we have impostor feelings is, I don’t know, I don’t deserve to be here. And, and I and one of the things that I find that is very helpful as well is when you have, when you have something much. And again, it goes back to the clarity theme, when you have clarity around what you want and why you want it and you want it so bad, then that trumps all of that fear. And an unwillingness to claim, claim space and claim what’s yours. And that could be that desire could be a strong desire to achieve something. So in my case, I wanted that and be one of the, you know, when I apply for the first time to be, when I asked for the first time for a position, so I could manage a team, right with no experience, I was feeling like the worst employee ever, as an analyst. I was totally feeling like I just did not deserve it. But even though sometimes it’s hard to, to make, to change, a feeling on its own. But what I encourage people to do, and especially with assertiveness is to speak up more, do more, take more action, even if you feel the impostor syndrome, because by doing that, you’re going to help create more clarity and it’s going to slowly wear off. It’s a very hard thing just to dissipate impostor by thinking about it, you know. And for me my experiences, taking action based on usually it’s a very deep desire for something greater. And for me, that was okay, once was an international I wanted an international career. So that was a huge, deep desire that trumped everything else. The other one was my team, I wanted to support my team, I wanted to empower my team, I was so connected, I said, I have to do everything it takes. And I’m willing to do what it takes to help my team grow and develop. And I realized I was getting, that my impostor syndrome was getting in the way. And so that shift and focusing on what you want, helped me navigate through that fear, through that feeling of not being enough and not deserving that and not, not deserving a seat at the table or my voice not being meaningful, and, and doing what I had to do. And then, when you, when you do it, when you speak up and when you share, you talk about your, your desires and your needs and your wants and what you not, and what you don’t like and your, and all of that, then suddenly, people start to respond to you. And you get cues. Usually, you get a lot of positive cues. You get more eye contact from people, from senior people, people that you respect, you get more calm, people talk to, people say your name more often. You know, in the meeting or in conversations or in emails, or messaging, they start to refer to your ideas more. And then when you start to see that people are acknowledging you and what you say, what you bring to the table, then you start to feel like, maybe I do belong here.
Kim Meninger Hmm, I love what you’re saying. And it reminds me of what I, how I think about this, because I couldn’t agree with you more on this idea of knowing what you want first, because fear will always be there. Fear will always be there whenever we’re going into something that’s uncomfortable or uncertain. And so, we have to know what’s bigger than the fear. And what you’re talking about is exactly what I mean by what’s bigger than the fear, right? If I know what I want, and I know what it takes to get there, then I have a motivation for facing that fear, right? Or if I don’t know what I want, and I’m not sure what I bring to the table, and then there’s a lot of ambiguity of around who I am and why I’m here. There isn’t that internal motivation to push through the fear. The motivation is to just hide, right? And just hope that no one else finds out. But if I know what I want, what’s my mission here, right, now, I know that I have to play bigger in order to achieve that. And what you’re describing is exactly right, is you behave differently and other people respond differently and that creates its own self-perpetuating effect. And now I’m building these muscles so to speak, right? By doing that I wouldn’t have built like, I always say this right confidence doesn’t come first. You don’t wait until you’re confident to do something. You do something and then you build confidence along the way.
Ivna Curi Yes, yes. Do, do, do, do. I’m all about the do, you guys. Do is like do speak up, show yourself get out there be visible, instead of hiding, the more you show up, the more that you are visible to others, the more you, you allow yourself to shine and be seen. Even if you feel like, Okay, you know what, I’m gonna be fired? Now they’re gonna really see how terrible I am. How inadequate I am. I, you know, I know there are people when I, I tried to encourage people to speak up in meetings a lot, right? Because that’s something that I, that all my team members had struggled with, I struggled the beginning of my career. And hiding, and not speaking up in a meeting is not doing anybody any positive, you know, outcomes, like you’re, you’re not contributing and bringing value to the table, and nobody’s getting benefit from you there. And you’re not going to, you’re not going to, your career is going to get stuck, right, because you’re not being heard and seen, and people are thinking that you’re just a puppet there in the room. But what happens is we start overthinking things, and we want every single thing that we say to be the most, most intelligent, smart, thoughtful comment ever. And when you stop, it was something that I did a lot in my career, the beginning was sometimes just to listen to people. And see, and folks who were being taken seriously, people who were respected. And, and try to understand, and I’m very analytical because of my background, I tried to understand the significance, everything sounded so important. But then I started to break down and think about the significance of the different arguments that they brought to the table. And I realized there wasn’t much, but it wasn’t anything spectacular, ever. But they said it, they brought it up, there was, they were always making comments, they were always… So the more they talk, the more likely that one thing out of 30 that they said, was going to hit the table, like, make people think and sound interesting. And, and but if we, if we hide, and we don’t speak up, if we don’t share what we have to say, if we don’t talk about our goals, and our dreams and our vision and our values, then first, we’re not allowing people to see who what we bring to the table because we are multifaceted individuals, right? Our value does not come from only our experience. Often it comes from our potential, it comes from our values. It comes from the way we interact with individuals. And it, but then, we as women think tend to think, no, it’s just based on our experience. And on the specific numbers we bring to the table. But there’s so much more than that. And if you don’t show it to the world, then you’ll never see it because they won’t. They won’t tell you what they appreciate. And you won’t attract the people. Here’s the thing, the more you share, the more you attract the people that value what you have to offer, whatever kind of corporate environment or business you’re in.
Kim Meninger Yes, yes. And I think this is an important point too because we’re talking about how a lot of how we show up is conditioned in us early in life, whether it’s through our parents or cultures, other, other people’s values, right, have influenced how we show up. And unfortunately, a lot of women, in particular, have experienced workplace cultures that don’t value them for who they are. And so what’s really important is that if you do put yourself out there, and you start to show up in these more powerful values-driven ways, and it’s not welcome or accepted by your manager, your organization, whatever the case may be, that you don’t make that about you. That this is really important data to help you realize that this is not an environment where you can thrive. But that is not because of you. That is because the environment isn’t structured in a way to appreciate and leverage what you bring to the table.
Ivna Curi Exactly. And the earlier you figure that out the better for your career.
Kim Meninger Hmm. Exactly. Yeah. Because I think it’s so easy to, I mean, so many of us have had those kinds of experiences with you know, all it takes is to have one bad manager or one bad experience in an organization and to just feel like, I have to keep my mouth shut from now on right or there’s something wrong with me, when in actuality it’s not a fit. And you have choices. And I think that’s really important from a confidence perspective for all of us to remember too is if it ever reaches the point where it’s just not working. You have the power to say this isn’t, this isn’t right for me.
Ivna Curi Absolutely, absolutely. And I also encourage people, you know, to, to, in order to, to figure these things out to discover if the fit is there early on. And to see if you are willing to do what it takes to thrive in that specific environment you’re in is to clarify some of the things that are unspoken, early on, and often because environments change and the culture changes and you know, the people around you change. So one of the, one of the problems with lack of assertiveness is that we, we make a lot of assumptions. And assumptions are like a killer of, of all good things, right, have good relationships have positive impact, and then they create, not only rumination, overthinking, but they create aggressive thoughts. So sometimes a nice person is full of aggressive aggressiveness, even though it’s unspoken, even though it’s not shown. So for example, we make an assumption about, let’s say, Our boss, that they’re bad, that they’re mean, that they don’t know they’re not good. They don’t understand us, they don’t respect us. But we fail to act, to, to ask them, what is important to them, what they value, so we can, we can, we can, you know, think to ourselves that our boss cannot see our value. They don’t recognize us. But we never took the time to ask our boss, what is important to them? What are they looking for? What are their expectations? What kind of projects or work is valuable to them? How do they want to see us perform? You know, sometimes, what I’ve, I’ve seen a lot, for example, like, for me, it was really important for the team to get out and talk to people and interact with the stakeholders a lot more. And I saw that even with my boss, my boss wanted the team members to be out there and have these, these dialogues, these conversations, to understand what really was needed from the team. But a lot of the team members just wanted to sit in the cubicle and do their analytics work. But that wasn’t seen, that wasn’t seen as a high value add kind of activity, sometimes, for the boss. But the individuals thinking that oh, my God is putting all this effort into all this work. But there’s not alignment there. And the problem is we start judging, and blaming, and all these things in our head, that, that’s aggressiveness, even though we don’t say it, we’re being aggressive or being judgmental because we’re not, we’re just assuming bad things and people and we’re not trying to clarify and build a bridge.
Kim Meninger Yeah, that’s such a great way to look at it. Because if the goal is to be nice, then we can realize how it’s, it can actually be nicer, right to simply ask the questions and do the scary things than it is to make these kinds of negative assumptions in our own minds about ourselves and others.
Ivna Curi Absolutely, yeah. I realized as a nice person. For a long time, I was nice. I was passive-aggressive, actually. And, you know, I, you know, that silent look, that you, you’re like angry, you’re like you’re, you know, you’re such a terrible person. And then you, you look at them and you make the face but you don’t, they ask you what’s going on, you’re like nothing. I’m fine. I’m fine, I’m fine. What’s your problem? They think there’s a problem. And, and that type of behavior. It was so not, that was aggressive. That was 100% aggressive. Or, you know, someone shows up late and, and you start thinking that they’re lazy. Hmm. You don’t say it. But, but then you start treating them like a lazy person, or non-reliable person. Sure, they could have communicated better or whatever. But sometimes if you, you, if you look into it, you ask them, you realize that, you know, they had a sick child that’s going through a difficult time or something. And you’re not having empathy, but to have empathy, you have to communicate.
Kim Meninger Yeah, wow. Oh, my goodness, Ivna, like I could talk to you all day. You shared so many powerful insights. And I think that there’s no denying how important assertiveness is to our overall experience at work and certainly to our confidence, is there anything you would say in closing that you want people to take away from this conversation today?
Ivna Curi Well, I honestly I could keep talking forever. I love this topic. And thank you for giving you the opportunity to speak about it. But in closing, since we do have to close, I would, I would like to bring back, you know, the central team theme around, for, to help the impostor syndrome, to increase your confidence to actually be a better person is get rid of those assumptions. And seek clarity. When I say seek clarity, seek clarity around what people want, and why they behave in certain ways. Give them the benefit of doubt, seek clarity around why people chose you for position, if you feel like, I’m, I’m not worthy of being here, I have nothing to offer. Remind yourself and try to understand or even ask them, you know, why did you bring me here? Why did you put me in this project? Why did you bring me into this position? Get clear on, on what the, what people view as valuable and in it, make sure that there’s a lot of alignment there. And what success means to you, get clear on who you are and what you bring to the table and what your values are, because a lot of, of who you are, it’s not just your deliverables, necessarily, but it’s also the values that you bring into your role into your position into your work. And, and understand that you’re more than just that person performing there in the moment, right, you’re bringing value in many different ways. So just seek clarity as much as you can and speak up and speak up and share. And always, always engage in dialogue. Always engage in dialogue, because you’re going to get a lot more out of that. And you’re going to get out of your cocoon, and you’re going to get feedback, you’re gonna get asked for feedback. So just very quickly here, some of the elements of assertiveness are giving and receiving feedback, both positive and negative, like people who have impostor syndrome tend to be terrible at receiving positive feedback. Right? That’s, you gotta figure that out. Another thing is saying no, and establishing boundaries, how to say things or negative that are sometimes as a leader, you need to give, deliver negative news. How do you do that in, in an assertive way? How do you ask for things, be it for resources, for time, for more work/life balance, whatever it is that you need and your team needs to thrive? How do you promote yourself, right? Without bragging, bragging a little bit? But how do you self-promote, and promote your work and your team’s work in positive ways? All those things are about engaging, speaking up, staying in dialogue, getting feedback going. Every time you talk, every time you speak up, share your ideas, you’ll get some sort of feedback, a look, a comment, an invite for something, right? The reason why you invited me is because you probably saw me speaking about something. And so you have to share your voice. And that’s gonna give you a lot of clarity as well. That’s going to help you defeat impostor syndrome.
Kim Meninger Absolutely. Excellent, excellent advice. I am going to include your information in the show notes too. So if anybody wants to learn more from you and follow up with you, your information will be there. But thank you so much, Ivna. This has been such a great conversation.
Ivna Curi Yeah, thanks. Thank you, Kim. And this is wonderful what you’re doing, and I’m sure you’re helping a lot of women in this world feel more confident. So thank you for your amazing work.