Nina East is a certified coach and content development specialist, and is publisher of Smart Confident Women Magazine. And so she’s been in business for fourteen and half years and has done a whole lot of stuff and calls that being a renaissance woman. And in the time that she’s tried a lot of different things she’s come to the realization that her brilliance is really helping people to overcome their fears and their doubts so that they can shine and so in today’s interview we talked with her about confidence. In many ways confidence is the building block of a successful business, because it holds a lot of people back, especially women. It’s that feeling of not quite being good enough, feeling like you’re an imposter because there’s a disconnect between who you really are and what you’re showing to the world. And in the interview Nina gives some fabulous tips on how to design an environment for confidence, so that what you’re putting out into the world is what you really are and that people are attracted to that.
Nina: I typically refer to myself as a renaissance woman. The way I describe it is that I have a deep knowledge and understanding of a whole lot of different areas. And so people talk about being “jack of all trades master of none”, and a renaissance person is kind of master of all trades.
So I was doing web design for a while, realized I actually hated it. But what I loved were the conversations with the clients and helping them step into how did they really want to present themselves online, so I went back to doing my regular business coaching that I’d been doing as well as coaching web designer’s themselves. What I’d seen, kind of across the board, with my clients, most of whom were women, is this issue of confidence or lack of confidence, or weak confidence, and I wanted to find a way to reach more women because it just feels like this is such an unnecessary problem.
I get that we have it but I wanted to find a way of reaching a lot more people because I really have this personal mission that I want to eradicate this lack of confidence, this feeling like “oh my gosh, I’m not good enough”; “what if they find out I don’t know what I’m talking about” – I want to eliminate that from the whole experience of being an entrepreneur.
Meredith: And where do you think that comes from? Where do you think that lack of confidence comes from? What’s like at the very heart of that?
Nina: Oh well, so if I were to get really philosophical with you I would say I think all the world’s problems come from a lack of appropriate loving touch when we’re children. So kind of at the core is that it starts when we are really, really young. And we are loved and accepted or we experience some rejection of who we are. I really do think it starts early and I have a feeling that our teenage years don’t help at all with that. It magnifies it for us.
Entrepreneurs especially are accustomed to really having to put themselves out there, and sometimes we put ourselves out there as we want to be versus how we really are in the moment, and then that starts feeling like we’re a fraud because we kind of are at that point. And then that really shakes our confidence, which then just spills into all different parts of our lives.
They think that is not good enough, or maybe they think they aren’t quite smart enough to do what they’re doing. We often hear people say things like, “well who am I to do X, Y or Z?” Whether we learn that from our parents, or from our teachers or from our boyfriend-girlfriend relationships when we’re young, I think it just really comes from this place of believing that we are not quite good enough – so we put a different projection of ourselves out because we think that will be accepted as being good enough.
You hear a lot of people talking about the whole “Fake it till you make it” thing. I think that’s a bunch of hooey, because if you’re faking it you know you’re faking it.
So when people do that then there’s always this fear of being found out, that maybe you really were faking it, or maybe people will find out that you were exaggerating something. And people don’t get that it’s actually the real you with all your quirks and vulnerabilities and weirdness that is what attracts people – the right people – to you, for your business and for your life.
Jasper: So Nina, do you see this as something that affects women more than men? I know you work mainly with women – or is it just that guys are better at faking it?
Nina: Good question. What’s interesting is the research that’s been done on what used to be called the imposter phenomenon back in the 70’s (now the common phrase is “imposter syndrome”). I like the phrase “imposter illusion” because it’s an illusion really that we’re an imposter. The research so far has been done on people like professors at universities, most of which has been done on women, and then on employees in businesses. There really hasn’t been research on business owners. So the research that’s been done so far does show that there are a higher percentage of women that experience this than men. I question whether that’s true or is it that men aren’t going to fess up to having this sort of feeling whereas women will talk about anything. So I’m not sure and so I really want to research this. I I know my own experience, and experience of all my business sisters that I’m with, but I really want to start doing more research on this in the entrepreneurial world because it honestly has not been studied and I think it’s one of the huge impediments to people really experiencing the kind of satisfying success that they want to have.
Jasper: It’s interesting in terms of childhood experiences and how that can affect you in later life, and I’m wondering whether or not the expectation of women when they’re young girls, traditionally has been, maybe not so much the latest sort of couple of generations but certainly in my generation – baby boomers and before – the expectation has always been that she will get married and have children and the career is not so important and whether part of that upbringing is playing in to this still?
Nina: Probably it is. I posted a video recently on my Facebook page; it was one that’s been sort of running around the internet. It was sort of an experiment that was produced by Always, which is a company that produce’s feminine hygiene products. It was called “like a girl” and they were asking young girls and they were asking teenagers and also like millennial girls and men. They would say so “throw like a girl for me.” And the young girls would throw hard, the teenage girls would throw kind of wimpy and the millennial folks would it was almost like a parody of like here’s how a girl would throw. So part of what they were looking at is that it can start early, but we might be with our current younger generation where the real change takes place. In terms of changing cultural expectations of what girls and boys can do, that it’s still sort of caught up even with our current teenagers.
Favorite Resources: CAPOW App; The Monetization Lab ~ Andrea Lee
Guest: Nina East – Nina East, Inc. and Smart Confident Woman Magazine
Nina East is a certified coach, a content development specialist, and is the publisher of Smart Confident Woman Magazine.
She’s been in business for 14 1/2 years – and in that time she’s come to the realization that she is at her best when she is helping other people shine.
She works primarily with women entrepreneurs, coaching them through the fears and doubts that inevitably come up when you run your own business, as well as creating and repurposing content to add new income streams to your business.
Her latest project, which she refers to as her labor of love, is Smart Confident Woman Magazine. This is a digital, interactive magazine available on iTunes and in the Google Play Store, and it’s designed for women entrepreneurs who enjoy personal development, but who also really get that their business success is directly tied to their personal development. So it’s full of articles, case studies, resources, videos, etc. to help women find that sweet spot where personal growth and business ownership intersect.
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