Recently, I spoke at a NYC event for the NGO CSW-NY event that supports the UN (and like our own company, SafeMoon, supports a number of the UN’s 17 Sustainability Development Goals). It was a tremendous opportunity, as I was presenting within a league of speakers with achievements that truly made me want to do more and be more. (My own presentation is available here.)
But when I first saw the lineup of speakers, my response was not excitement. Instead, I felt a massive, almost crippling wave of imposter syndrome.
For those not familiar with this term, it is this experience of not having an internal sense of your own success despite any accolades and accomplishments. Internally, you simply can’t see it and you don’t believe it. I felt it hard and believed for a few moments I wasn’t worthy to join.
But here’s the thing I learned in that process that applies to every one of you, too, especially if you work in a startup business: How we are showing up in our personal and professional lives every single day is explicitly linked to the effect we have on those around us. Can you see the crippling effect judging ourselves harshly in comparison to others can have on our actions and behavior, and the detrimental impact on influence on others?
And conversely, can you see how our confident behaviors invoke and inspire change in our lives and the lives of others?
As business and community leaders, we must learn to demand the best from ourselves irrespective of how we’re feeling on the inside. We do this because by default, we are setting the bar for those around us as well.
One of my favorite mottos is that change starts with me.
At SafeMoon, I have the honor to serve as a female executive leader at a company leading out in the development of blockchain technology for the purpose of creating social impact. We do this not as campaigns or give-back projects but as the North Star of our very existence. Our CEO John Karony speaks about Return on Impact, and how our community of participants, the #SAFEMOONARMY, influences our decision making in the best of ways.
As a company, we don’t compare ourselves to others. We compare what we are capable of now to what is possible 10 years from now. That is our only competition, and that is mine and your only personal competition as well, in comparison to your future self and how you positively impact those around you, which will likely also positively impact the people around them. This is the true ripple effect.
I recently started a new hobby, Power Paragliding. It is a sport very few women do, as the motor weighs upwards of 80 pounds and it involves strapping this giant motor onto your back and essentially getting a huge 24-plus foot set of wings inflated and then running to launch yourself into the air and fly.
It demands everything from you both mentally and physically. Last weekend while I was in training, my motor unexpectedly stopped, mid-flight. I was 2,000 feet in the air and I had my very first moment in which my instructor did not hear my emergency call for help. So, I had two choices: 1) Panic and face literally falling out of the sky to my death, or 2) Mind my mind and stay calm to remember my training and work out how to land safely, solo.
Clearly, I survived. But the ripple effect of this experience is worth sharing. Later in the weekend, I shared the full details of my flight with my oldest son (age 10) and shared just how scared I was. During this conversation, he said, “Mum, I am going to be brave just like you the next time I face a really hard thing.”
Everyone is watching each of us, whether we want to accept this or not. So, what kind of show are you giving them? This includes the women I presented with, myself included, who are focused on helping others. It includes my entire corporate career. My entire role as a mom to three children and my business journey has been focused on doing justice. I am the change I wish to see in others.
I am an example of the fact that no matter what is going on, you have the choice in how you show up and how you respond. What you say and what you do matters, and it affects those around you. There are so many people in this world waiting on my “extra” as an individual. There are multiple millions waiting on, and watching for, the progress and safety that I and my company can bring, and that’s a whole lot of “extra” to bring. I love the impact I have. I love the changes. I’ve seen others in greater ways as the result of my own actions and behavior. I’m deeply grateful for the positive ripple effect we are all creating in our respective lives, careers, and businesses. May we choose the path of impact in all that we do. May we learn to harness the Return on Impact to maximize our ability to improve lives and to change the world for better in innumerable ways. What an honor it is for each of us to accomplish this mission in every way.