I am taken aback by the mindset of lack and scarcity I see from powerful women entrepreneurs, leaders, and visionaries right now. I’m seeing a lot of women fall into a simple but profound mindset trap that blocks the #1 quality leaders need most: conviction.
Conviction is what makes the difference between the leaders who make their impact and move their missions forward, and those who do not. And it is our responsibility and privilege to protect and nurture our conviction.
The Mindset Trap Stealing Your Conviction
This is the mindset trap I see countless women leaders fall into: you believe something is going to happen outside you that will interfere with your current success, happiness, and contentment.
It’s an external variable dependency — you depend on external variables for your internal wellbeing — and it poisons your success, growth, impact and happiness.
This mindset trap blocks you from feeling happy and from expressing the truth of how good things are right now (yes, even in a pandemic! There is abundance everywhere!). It also stops you from going for it — from striving for and hitting the next levels of success.
If you’re always looking outside of yourself for signs and cues that you’re doing the right thing, are you showing up and allowing yourself the joy and success you deserve? No, because you’re more concerned with, what if something ruins this feeling?
What you need to be a leader — right now and always — is to be steadfast in your conviction of what you are here on this earth to do. Yet I see brilliant women leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs let these five factors impact their conviction:
1. You Need a Divorce (from your expectations)
First you must let go of your expectations. And for women leaders, it’s often silent expectations that kill us the most.
That’s the truth: the origin point of disappointment and frustration is our own chosen expectations, whether you realize it or not. The fun part, is you’re the one who’s creating those expectations! You’re the problem… and the solution.
Imagine how you would feel if you released your expectations and fell in love with the process. What if instead you relished that moment of service, of leadership, of transforming people’s lives? What if you stayed in the conviction of the impact you are here to make?
One time I was delivering a workshop, and I wanted fifty people in the room. I rented an event hall, made workbooks, got catering, and twenty people showed up. There were extra seats, extra food, extra workbooks, and you know what? The event was phenomenal.
But had I been attached to the lack of thirty people, I would’ve shown up like garbage for the 20 who were there. If you’re attached to your expectations, you’re not in your conviction. When your mind and focus and attention are on what you don’t have, it impacts how you show up for the beautiful humans who said yes to you.
If you’re disappointed in the number of attendees at your workshop or the performance of a team member, it’s because you’re depending on an external variable. That’s it. It’s hilariously simple, yet everyone who has not done their inner mindset work falls prey to this frustration.
What matters is THIS: showing up with conviction that your impact will reach the exact right number of people at the exact right moment they need it. If it’s three people on your webinar when you wanted fifteen, well, those three are going to experience a massive transformation from working with you. And the best part? They are the ones who needed it the most — that’s why they were there.
2. Are You Waiting for the Shoe to Drop? (Spoiler: no such thing!)
I was on a call with a client when she said, “I’m doing great, and it makes me feel like something bad is about to happen… like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
Wow. Can you relate? Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop, too?
This happens to so many brilliant women: you want to enjoy your impact and your success, but you’re afraid that if you get too present, the other shoe is gonna drop. You’re afraid that if you open your arms to take it all in, something will take it away from you — as if something external can!
How does this get in the way of your conviction? It makes you second-guess the truth that you are in charge of your inner environment. It blocks you from receiving your success reflected back to you. It stops you from noticing the abundance, opportunities, and love around you.
Remember that the outside does not create the inside. Nothing outside can “make” you feel anything. Ever. Does this require practice? Absolutely! But it starts with taking radical personal responsibility for your mindset. It starts with understanding that you create your experience and you create your response to anything that comes your way. Waiting for the other shoe to drop makes no sense at this level of self-agency.
3. It’s High Time for a New Paradigm of Failure (the current one sucks)
Once upon a time, someone took action and intended for something to happen. It didn’t go that way, and he called it “failure.” Failure is when something doesn’t go the way you intended — when your expectations and reality don’t match.
But the meaning of failure has been warped by our culture. Thanks to our culture’s obsession with productivity, and shame, not to mention our attachment to our expectations, the meaning of “failure” has been perverted into this: if I fail it means there’s something wrong with me. It means I’m not good enough.
That innocent idea — that sometimes things don’t go the way you intended — got twisted to mean something about your worth as a person. People view failure as the ultimate external signal that you screwed up and you should go home now.
This is FALSE. The only way to learn about yourself and to be successful by all measurements is to fail — to have things not go the way you expect. My paradigm of failure is this: I intend that this is what I want to do, I’ll do it, and either it goes how I wanted, or I get a new piece of data. Either way you learn, either way you win. No matter how it goes, it’s time to cut the belief that if you fail, it means something about you. Nope. That’s allowing the outside to interfere with your worth, and that’s BS.
4. Fiercely Protect Your Dreams (no one else will do it for you)
Beware: other people will bludgeon your dreams if you let them. They don’t mean too! But we have a tendency to share our dreams with the wrong people, people who aren’t operating from a place of conviction. These are often people who love you want you to be safe and not take risks — the exact opposite of what you need when you’re an extraordinary leader.
Remember, people can’t see your dream the way you can… and they don’t need to. You don’t need external validation when you have inner conviction. But we’re like toddlers vying for our parents’ attention: we want everyone to be as excited as we are. We want everyone to see the vision in our mind’s eye.
The most loving, caring, and impact-driving thing you can do is to be your own validation. Your husband gives you the side-eye; your mother says, “that’s a sweet idea, honey”; your uncle who asks, “are you sure? That’s not a stable industry”; and your inner conviction is untouched. You have become your own approval.
5. Stop Confusing Interest with Commitment (no judgment)
Making your massive impact is not a straight shot to the top. Whatever that impact is for you — a small, bustling 1:1 private practice, CEO of your tech firm, #1 most booked motivational female speaker — it’s going to look more like the pattern on a heart rate monitor than the take-off flight pattern of an airplane.
That’s why you must be committed, not interested. Because when you’re interested, you’ll work on it when you’re in the mood. When you’re committed, you show up no matter what.
The road to the top is paved with “failure” (reminder: failure is just when what you intend to happen and what actually happens don’t match ), and you won’t get there unless you’re committed. Because when you’re committed you’re willing to be uncomfortable. You’ll do things you don’t “feel like” doing. Show up on the days you don’t feel like showing up. Committed means being so steadfast in the conviction of who you are and what you do that you’re a freight train. You’re unstoppable.
How can you tell if you’re committed or interested? If I became invisible and followed you around for a week, I’d tell you immediately. And you can do this audit for yourself: observe yourself. Are you faking the funk? Watching another Netflix series instead of creating new content or showing up on Facebook Live or doing something for your team?
Here’s the thing, too: I’m not judging whether you’re interested or committed. But I want you to be honest with yourself. If you’re not, you’ll do that thing where you expect certain outcomes, and when they don’t come you’ll be disappointed. You’ll ask yourself why don’t I have the clients? Woe is me! That’s not coming from a place of conviction.
To make your impact, to reach levels of happiness and success beyond what you’ve ever dreamed for yourself, you need conviction. And steadfast conviction comes when you stop letting the outside impact your internal environment.