Today my good friend and mentor, Tanya Geisler, joins me on the Rebel Rising Podcast. We're talking about such an important tool, the Unshakeable Confidence. This conversation and Tanya's work, in general, is something that needs to be heard by every entrepreneur.
Tanya Geisler is a certified Leadership Coach, TEDxWomen speaker, and writer who teaches women and women-identified people, how to step into their Starring Roles, own their authority, and overcome the Impostor Complex with Unshakeable Confidence in their life, in their work, and in their life’s work.
Tune Into the Audio:
Michelle: Welcome back Tanya, to the Rebel Rising Podcast. I'm so excited to talk with you again.
Tanya: I am so excited, especially after you have relaunched the podcast. I'm just so excited about this new direction for you.
Michelle: Oh, thank you. Yes, and I wanted to have you back because the work you do is so important for rebels who are on the rise, and who want to see themselves as thought leaders and influencers. You were like the top of my list for who I should have on the show under this new name.
Tanya: Awesome. Thank you. Totally honored to be here.
Michelle: Yeah. So the last time you were on the show, we talked about the 12 lies of the Impostor Complex.
The focus for us today is to talk about Unshakeable Confidence, so tell me, how does Unshakeable Confidence relate to the 12 lies of the Impostor Complex?
Tanya: Just hearing you talk about this, I'm so excited. I am in the right place, having the right conversation, with the right person. I love it, I love it. A super quick recap of the Impostor Complex is that it has three main objectives.
It wants to keep you out of action, it wants to have you doubt your capacity, and it wants to keep you alone and isolated. That's what it's really trying to do.
Those 12 lies are all colluding. Now, we don't believe all of the lies at the same time, like I said, you'd never get out of bed if that were true, but what lie you are believing is going to point to one of those objectives. Those lies are almost diagnostic tools.
The Unshakeable Confidence model is also a bit of a diagnostic tool where we go from the outside in, where we identify one of the behaviors that we might go to that is keeping us from activating on our very best.
Okay, I'll try to say that a little bit differently. We are not in Unshakeable Confidence when we are engaging in one of the behaviors, the behavioral traits that we'll go and hide out in, like procrastination and perfectionism and leaky boundaries and people pleasing, and comparison and diminishment. When we are believing one of those lies or many of them, they will probably be pointing us to one of those behavioral traits, and when we know what those are, then we can start to access and shift our behaviors and our thinking around how we're showing up, and then we can activate Unshakeable Confidence.
Michelle: Yeah, so can you give me an example of this? I think it would be just to make it more concrete in people's heads.
Tanya: Sure. If you were to believe that you'll never be able to pull that off again, so that is a really specific lie, you'll never be able to pull it off again, that's lie number eight of the Impostor Complex. When you believe that, you'll probably go into a place of either perfectionism or procrastination, right? “I'm never going to be able to pull that off again, so why bother?”
The Impostor Complex is doing exactly what it's supposed to do, and it's keeping you out of action. Okay? When we can see that we are having a crisis of action, like we are not in action, then we can discern, “Oh, this is the place that is costing me my unshakeable confidence.”
Michelle: Yeah, I can really see how that is this diagnostic tool. So brilliant. So brilliant how it's all come together.
Tell us about the Unshakeable Confidence model. Give us an overview of what this model is all about.
Tanya: Yeah, so there are three, I call them stool legs, of unshakeable confidence. If you've only got two of them, you're going to be really wobbly, if you've got one, I don't know how you're still standing.
They are integrity, action, and presence. We need to have all three of these aligned and engaged for us to really be able to root into Unshakeable Confidence.
When we have integrity and presence locked and loaded, then we can really trust in our Unshakeable Confidence. And when we have presence and action locked and loaded, we can count on it, and when we've got integrity and action going on, we can activate from unshakeable confidence, but we really are going to need some combination of all three to really engage in what I'm calling Unshakeable Confidence.
There are three really, like for each of these, there are three really specific things that we need to engage into root into integrity, to root into presence, and to root into action. I'm happy to go into those as well.
Michelle: Yeah, I would love yeah, let's pick one and dive into it. I'm going to pick it, because since I did the Starring Role Academy with you, the one that I struggle with the most and have been working on the most is presence.
Let's talk about presence.
Tanya: Presence, if you know that presence is your Achilles' heel when you go to the behavior of comparison and diminishment. Let's start there. We know that we are in a crisis of presence when we engage in diminishment or comparison. This is where we are dimming our light, where we are spending so much time in the place of comparison, where we aren't allowing comparison to lift us up, but rather to have us hold back.
Let me just pause here and say that neither diminishment nor comparison are actually problematic on their own. It's really just when it's keeping you out of action, or having you doubt your capacity, or having you feel alone and isolated. These are the places where it becomes a problem because I just really think it's important to name that diminishment is actually, a lot of these behavioral traits are actually a coping mechanism. They are survival mechanisms in some way, shape, or form, so I'm not all about, “Stop dimming your light.”
I'm really not about that, because there's some discernment and there is some care that is needed. But when you know for yourself that it is time for you to stop diminishing, and time for you to stop comparing, because you've got this work thing, you need to get it into the world, then we understand that presence is where we really need to be able to activate from.
Is that clear?
Michelle: Yes, that's completely clear, because I know from me, when we were doing that work around presence, my diminishment was coming from not letting compliments come in. Like, somebody would say, “Wow, this is such a remarkable idea” or they'd say something nice about working with me, and it just wasn't penetrating my armor. I was just letting that bounce right off of me, and not taking it in for a moment.
I was diminishing and really not showing up for my work, and also not letting people tell me that they care about my work.
Tanya: Right. Yes, yes, yes. Oh, my gosh, I feel that. I feel that viscerally as you say that, and it's just, it's been incredible to get to watch the shifts take place in you, thank goodness because your work is so vital. It is so vital, Michelle. So vital. So, for us to really be able to root into presence, I mean, technically we want to start with integrity, but that's okay, because assuming that we've got the integrity locked and loaded, it's not really a stepwise approach, but I do think that integrity's a great place to start, because build a foundation.
Talk to us a little bit about integrity.
Tanya: Okay, so integrity, I think a lot of these words, they're like the word success. They mean different things for people different. But for me, integrity is really about what it is that you stand for, what you stand in. This is a felt sense of your sovereignty, and when we are in integrity, real true integrity, then people pleasing and leaky boundaries, they just don't write. They just aren't part of our lived experience, because we really, we are obedient to our vision, we are able to show up authentically and we honor our word to others, as well as to ourselves.
Michelle: That's a big piece of it. It's the honoring our word to ourselves, as well as others, 'cause I know for some people and sometimes for me, it's so easy for me to show up for other people, and then something that's important to me, it's like, “Oh, I can put that off.”
Tanya: Absolutely. You're in excellent, excellent company, and again, it's because of the people pleasing, it's because of the leaky boundaries. These are, again, not problematic. The survival mechanisms, this is how we relate to each other. It comes from an honest place, and our job is to be able to discern where does that need to end, and where does the activation of our brilliance need to begin?
Really, it is about crafting and being clear about our vision, being clear about those things that we talk about all the time. Our values, our brand of joy, what is the three-word rebellion? Once we know what that is, we really need to lay it down, be obedient to that. Then we are really clear what our yeses are, what are nos are, then we are able to show up authentically.
Like I say all the time, this is simple, it's not necessarily easy. That's where it really begins for me. Once we have that integrity understood and we are working towards it, we continue to circle back and check in with ourselves and making sure that we are obedient to our vision, and make sure that we are honoring our word to ourselves, and we are showing up authentically, then we move into a place of presence.
Again, not exactly stepwise, I think they're like triple helices coming around to each other. But for me, presence is really about … This is what you're here for. Integrity's about what you stand for, and presence is what you're here for, what you are here for. That is really about knowing yourself, like just knowing yourself. It's not even an intellectual understanding, it's just like a knowing, you know?
Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tanya: We can cultivate that over time, and the second piece is really being able to root into your power and not being afraid of it. The third piece, and this is the trickiest one seemingly, once you know yourself and have a deep respect for your power, it is near impossible to not be able to show yourself some of that sweet, sweet reverence that we show everyone else. Reverence is that third piece of presence.
Michelle: Yeah, that respect that you have for your work, the awe that you show up with for your work. I do want to comment, that owning, like not being afraid of your own power to create, to create change, I think that's a huge piece for a lot of people when they're wanting to put their work out into the world. Like, having that power to help people and transform lives, that's big, and it is something you can be afraid of. Even though you say, “Oh, I want to help people, I want to give this transformation,” there's also something that's a little frightening about that.
Tanya: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, we have such a dysfunctional relationship with what power means, because we see what happens when it's abused. We're terrified that we're going to be complicit in that abuse of power, we're terrified that we are somehow going to conspire with the patriarchy, that we are going to use our power over people, and it's unconscious and subconscious, and once we recognize what is here, while we can root into how we know ourselves to be, and we can decide how we're going to move forward with presence.
I mean, I'm not here for crushing people. I'm here for activating people, and so as long as I am mindful of how that happens, where I'm being cognizant of impact, and proceeding with caution, and allowing my brand of joy, which is rooted in connection, and generosity, and gratitude, if I'm allowing that to inform how I lead, it's really hard to … I'd have to work at causing harm to others.
That's not to say that it doesn't happen, but unless we are aware of it, and aware of our impact, then I think we have more of a fighting chance. But really it's about being able to uncollapse, or even getting curious about what power means. And not dissimilar to how we, in a lot of the Starring Role work that you and I did together, we talked a lot about what authority means, and what expert means, and what thought leader means, and all of these things that we kind of, sort of want, but we don't really … They've come to mean something so different because they've been so badly abused, that we have to come back home to what these words, these titles, these roles mean for us, and redefine them for ourselves.
Michelle: Yeah, and that reminds me of the interview I did with Lena West, who talked about owning your power and taking back those words, because this podcast is essentially for the next generation of thought leaders and influencers, and I had a lot of apprehensions using those words, because of what they've come to mean and they're so bastardized in some ways. But then I thought of Lena and just being like, “No, it's time for that next generation to reclaim these words, and redefine them.”
Tanya: Absolutely. It is no surprise then that Lena West is my model of presence. She's my model of presence. When I was creating this, this framework, and I knew I needed to illustrate it somehow, Lena was that, because she is a woman who is really rooted in her power. She knows herself and she has a … You experience a reverence that she has for her gifts and her talents and her skillset and her energy. She has a deep reverence for that.
If you don't know Lena West, dear listener, please go find her, and her work is incredible. Also, think about somebody that you admire, I almost guarantee that they, what you admire most about them … Let me say that a little bit differently.
I think what you admire most about them is probably their sense of presence.
Tanya: I'm going to go ahead, like Michelle, I know who you admire, so if you think about that person in particular that I think we're probably both thinking of, that I won't necessarily name, you can feel her power. She knows herself and has a reverence for it.
Michelle: Yeah, and she shows up for it. Like, “I am here for this.”
Tanya: Yep, absolutely. Yeah.
I just had a question for you around what does Unshakeable Confidence look like in the wild?
Like, when you see someone and you're like, “Oh, my gosh that person has unshakeable confidence,” how does that … Can you tell us your own story around that, or maybe someone you've seen it in? ‘Cause I would love to have that concrete, like, “This is how unshakeable confidence shows up in the world.”
Tanya: At any time you see somebody doing something remarkable, they are operating from a place of Unshakeable Confidence. I just, I don't even know how to say it better than that. Let's just round it up and I'll get into action for a moment because we've got a wobbly stool otherwise.
Action is really about having a willingness to fail, resilience, and tenacity. When the mic goes out, you just talk louder. I really wanted to name that, those pieces, because of course, action isn't about doing it perfectly. It's about just having a willingness to fail, being able to show up for your resilience, and showing up tenaciously.
This to say, literally anybody who's doing something in the world that is magnificent, you can see that they are not tethered to perfectionism, but they're also not in procrastination, so that's that they are in action. They are in action, they've got integrity locked and loaded, and presence is here. They are deeply rooted in it.
I know those moments for myself when I'm truly powerful from the stage, it's because I am, I know what I'm standing in. I mean, I'm really, really, really here for my work and I'm doing it. The impostor complex doesn't have a chance when I am in this place of Unshakeable Confidence. I've seen you in places of Unshakeable Confidence, when you were just like, you are on your game. You know exactly what you stand in, you know exactly what you're here for, and you are activating from that place.
I mean, how long is a piece of string? I could really just tell you like absolutely anytime you've seen somebody in their glory, that's what's going on.
Michelle: I love it. Because it's happening all the time, and when we see it, then knowing and having the words for it, having the words unshakeable confidence allows us to name it when we see it and be like, “Ah yeah, that is unshakeable confidence.” That action piece is spot on. Like, when you are putting out your work into the world, when you are putting out your ideas into the world, that takes some confidence for sure.
Tanya: Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I mean, we often do think that confidence creates action, and really, it's the other way around, right? You do the thing, you do the thing and you know that there's a good chance you're going to fail, or there's a decent chance your going to fail, but what does failure mean? This is where the impostor complex loves to get really up in our grill about this, lie number three of the impostor complex is you are all or nothing.
If you've got 50/50 chance of being all or nothing, some pretty scary odds that you're going to be nothing, so we don't take action because of that, but there's a big world between success and failure. We've got to expand our idea of what that means, and the other thing about the impostor complex when it comes to this, it loves this binary of success or failure, because it's so concerned about you being inside of the pack, that if you're too far ahead, it actually doesn't want you to be successful, because then you're too far ahead, or a failure, you're too far behind. That's why it's so obsessed with that.
Michelle: Yeah, well and it's making me think, going on into the three word rebellion work that I do with clients, I often tell my clients, “You just don't go live on Facebook one time and think this is going to go viral and is going to be a big hit.” I'm like, “You are committing to sharing your three-word rebellion, your viewpoints, your stories for the long haul.” Because it is not, I mean it could be, I'm not going to close off that possibility of it being a viral sensation, but I also don't want people to see it as a zero-sum game.
Like, “Oh, I shared a post on Instagram, nobody responded, so this is crap, so I'm not going to do it anymore,” because the Impostor Complex really is like, “It's either a win or a loss” and it's like, “No.” This is a process.
Tanya: Yes, it's a process. That's what life is, that's what life is. There's that resilience, there's that tenacity that how do you respond in the face of zero likes on a piece? How do you come back from that? Well, you keep coming back, you build that resilience muscles. Those are the resilience muscles.
I think it's really important that we have a quiz, the Unshakeable Confidence quiz, that will help identify for people which of the behavioral traits might be getting in their way. Whether it's through inaction or feeling alone and isolated, or doubting their capacity, and when we know which one of those behavioral traits you tend to go to the most often, we tend to go back and forth on some of these, but then we'll know.
If we are procrastinating, or we're stuck in perfectionism, then we have a crisis of action. If we are stuck in diminishment and comparison again, we are having a crisis of presence, and if we are people pleasing or leaky boundaries, we're having a crisis of integrity, and I think that then we have a fighting chance to really understand where we need to pay more attention.
Because most often, like I said, we're in action, or we're in presence, but we might not be in integrity, and that's why things just aren't revving the way they need to be revving.
Michelle: I have one final question for you, Tanya.
Yes, what would the world be like if we all had Unshakeable Confidence?
Tanya: A world where people are honoring their word, a world where people are being obedient to their vision, who know themselves, who are respectful of their power and each other's power, who are willing to pay and resilient and tenacious, I don't know, it just sounds like a super joyful, powerful, propulsive, gorgeous world where people are like actually fulfilling their purpose. Oh, my gosh, my cheeks are just flushed with the idea.
There's this really, for me there's this, and I know that you feel it too, Michelle. I see the capacity in people, I see the space that the universe has carved out for people, and I also see how we don't inhabit those spaces. We don't fill them out for lots of reasons, and conditioning and survival, and lots and lots and lots of reasons, so when I think about, I seriously feel flushed just thinking about, people having filled out the entire space that the universe has carved out for them, just feels like otherworldly, and like what we are here for.
Michelle: Oh, my gosh. That is so important and I feel that way, too, because you are so great at holding space for us to fill what the universe has carved out for us, and I notice when I work with clients that I tend to create a very big vision for what is possible for them in my mind. Then, I tell them and they're like, ‘Oh, can I actually do that?” I'm like, “Yes. Yes, you can.”
Tanya: Yeah. And what a difference it makes to everyone when that happens. I have often said, I will travel anywhere in the world to see somebody really, really living out their purpose, because I just don't think there's anything more beautiful in the world than that. Truly, truly, I don't. So the idea that everybody can tap into their own felt sense of unshakeable confidence, and I mean, I think at our most fundamental, we are always going to be activating to the highest good, ay-ay-ay. I mean, it literally boggles the mind.
Michelle: I know.
Tanya: In the best possible way.
Michelle: Awesome. Thank you so much, Tanya.
Tanya: My delight. Truly, thank you.