I was planning to write a love-infused February newsletter along the lines of Love in Time of Neuroscience, but then I saw this article on E! Online, and I knew we had to talk about it. Surprisingly, an article about Bradley Cooper has a great deal to do with your career, your parenting, and your overall success.
The article describes the reaction of Bradley Cooper, a talented actor and the director of a film “A Star Is Born”, to the Best Director Oscar snub:
“The first thing I felt was embarrassment actually. […] I felt embarrassed that I didn’t do my part”
Doesn’t it sound incredible?
Cooper has completed a beautiful, high-quality, successful, award-winning project, and still, his go-to emotion in response to lack of recognition was embarrassment…
Cooper certainly understood intellectually that embarrassment was not warranted, as he added: “I’ll work on that”, and yet, there it was.
If you have a strong and healthy ego, if you are naturally confident, comfortably bordering on arrogant, you may not understand Cooper’s reaction.
Many successful people who look confident, but inside often feel like impostors, and can relate to Cooper’s response. You may know this first-hand, if you felt embarrassed when you …
– got passed on for a promotion despite great evaluations
– watched your kids fail a test on a subject in which you’re an expert
– couldn’t land a job or a desired salary that matches your skills and talent
– were dumped by your date, even though you haven’t done anything wrong
– did everything in your power to produce great work, but someone else managed to do more, or better
– were let go from your job after many years of service, or were left by your partner of many years.
Taking these things personally, and questioning whether things are not happening for you because you are not enough, or good enough, is just one of many possible lenses for looking at a situation. And it is the most unfair, distorted, miserable lens.
Why is this your go-to lens?! I know, I know: family conditioning, high standards for yourself, perfectionism, etc. It may take a long time to dig deep into these. As a “quick and dirty” solution, experiment with some of the strategies below:
1. Change the narrative. There are many possible explanations for what is happening, and the changes are whatever is going on is NOT ABOUT YOU. When you don’t get the recognition you deserve, I dare you to come up with 5 plausible explanations for what may be happening. Then, ask yourself whether you can know with certainty which explanation is 100% accurate. If you don’t know (and usually, you won’t), please do not go for the most gut-wrenching narrative about you not being good enough; chose a story that feels better.
2. Look at your history of success. Make a list of your successful projects, relationships, discoveries, contributions. Look for what is working well, for what is not broken in your career and your life. Look at what you’re good at, what you love, what blossoms in your hands. If you are having trouble coming up with a list, call someone who knows you well, cares about you very much, and has your best interest in mind, and ask for help with the list.
3. Make peace with yourself. I know this sounds banal and obvious; it is easy to say and difficult to do. Yet, it is essential. Can you live with yourself without xyz acknowledgement? I assure you that if your answer is “no”, then xyz recognition will provide only a temporary relief. You’ve got to learn to be ok with yourself as you are. It does not mean that you stop improving; it just means that you’re not mad at yourself and not embarrassed for being where you are. There is no other place for now, so you may as well figure out how to be well here.
Please, let me know if you want to talk about any of this (just reply to this newsletter or email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com). Also, if you’ve read all the way up to here, thank you for the gift of your attention. It is my Birthday today, and I’m thankful we are connected.
“Thank You. More Like This, Please!”
Would you like to share news about some of the exciting things you are doing? I would love to hear your updates, and if you’d like to share with a larger audience here (like, starting a business, writing a new book, expanding your practice, offering an interesting product, etc.), let’s do it! Email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com with your ideas.
Here’s my fun update, that contains four brags in one: I’m scheduled to co-present a workshop on Intuitive Wayfinding at Google in NYC in March, with my Ph.D. advisor, and 130 people registered for the class within a couple of days!!!
Also, I’m forming a new Wayfinding Circle group for successful mid-career multi-tasking doing-and-having-it-all women who feel exhausted, spent, who experience Impostor syndrome, and want more joy, more energy, and even more of what feels like practical magic. Email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com if you would like to see whether this is a fit for you, and you’re a fit for the group.