Is there something missing or a little off about your life, your work, your brand, or anything else you do?
Like many who grew up as first-generation immigrants, Anjli Garg was outwardly focused on a certain level of success and got a secondary degree–in her case, from law school. But at some point, an unexpected shift in perspective brought her inward and caused her to connect with what really made her feel fulfilled and happy.
That shift now has her on a mission to empower high achievers to soar to their highest potential as leaders and human beings. She’s on the show to talk about her journey, how she works with others holistically, and help expand your understanding of service, success, and strengths as attributes and assets of your personal brand.
In this episode of the Branding Room Only podcast, you’ll hear about going within to connect to your true self and, through that, expanding your perspective on everything you do. You’ll learn about a new way to look at being of service to others, the opportunity that coaching affords everyone, defining personal success and branding that’s authentic to you, and much more!
1:15 – Anjli’s definition of personal branding and her favorite quotes, description of herself, and hype songs
4:57 – How 7-year-old Anjli’s life felt like Alice in Wonderland and her adjustment to it
9:57 – The light switch that changed Anjli’s perspective and how she’s rebranding the idea of service
12:53 – Anjli’s transition from practicing corporate law to having her own full-time coaching business
16:15 – Why coaching is important and how it can help you even if you don’t feel like you have challenges
20:25 – How holistic practice is like healing and helps contribute to Anjli’s brand and her client’s journey (including my own experience)
27:03 – The impact of unresolved energy that just sits within you
30:53 – The mistake that leads to imposter syndrome when building your brand
37:03 – Your most valuable brand-building asset that conveys confidence when you tap into it
41:35 – Anjli’s “words of the year” and her intention for 2024
43:39 – One aspect about her personal brand that Anjli will never compromise on and her Branding Room Only trait
Connect With Anjli Garg
Anjli is a certified professional coach and has over two decades of experience as a top-performing corporate lawyer and executive leader. Anjli is also a mom, an immigrant, a WOC, an author, a painter, a healer and a meditator. Anjli’s mission is to empower high achievers to soar to their highest potential as leaders and as human beings.
Mentioned In Going Within to Connect With Self and Expand Your Perspective with Anjli Garg
Sponsor for this episode
This episode is brought to you by PGE Consulting Group LLC.
PGE Consulting Group LLC is dedicated to providing a practical hybrid of professional development training and diversity solutions. From speaking to consulting to programming and more, all services and resources are carefully tailored for each partner. Paula Edgar’s distinct expertise helps engage attendees and create lasting change for her clients.
Paula Edgar: Welcome to The Branding Room Only Podcast where we share career stories, strategies, and lessons learned on how industry leaders and influencers have built their personal brands. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Hi, everyone. it’s Paula Edgar, your host of The Branding Room Only Podcast where I talk to influencers and industry professionals about their personal brands, their reflection on brands, and their advice about personal branding. Today, I have Anjli Garg who is going to be talking to us about so many fantastic things.
Anjli is an executive coach and founder of Your Coach To Soar. She has over two decades of experience as a top-performing corporate lawyer and executive leader. She’s also a mom, an immigrant, a woman of color, an author, a painter, a healer, and a meditator.
Anjli’s mission is to empower high achievers to soar to their highest potential as leaders and as human beings. My goodness, Anjli, we need you, please. Welcome to The Branding Room Only Podcast. Thank you for coming here to talk to me today.
Anjli Garg: Oh, thank you so much for having me, Paula. it’s such a pleasure and an honor to be here with you.
Paula Edgar: Fantastic. I start off all of my podcasts by saying what does a personal brand mean to you? How do you define it?
Anjli Garg: It’s funny that you should ask, and it might be an odd answer but I feel like it’s an ineffable thing. it’s a unique signature that you have like no two personal brands are the same. it carries with you and people know it when they see it but they may not always be able to express it in words. it’s a feeling that they feel when they’re around you or that they hear about you when you come to mind, that’s what I would think of as a personal brand.
Paula Edgar: I think that is a great description. There’s no way for you to know this but this is the second time today that someone has expressed branding as a feeling about somebody. I love that because usually, again, I think every definition is right, I think it’s whatever you think it is, I refer to your personal brand as your magic so when you talk about feeling, the person who said it before, I immediately thought, “What do I feel when I think about her?” and I just started to smile.
It really is a feeling how you connect with that person and how they make you feel so thank you for sharing that. Tell me how would you describe yourself in three words or short phrases?
Anjli Garg: I would say that I’m kind, that I’m intuitive and resilient.
Paula Edgar: Ooh, I love that.
Anjli Garg: Part of that is being resourceful. I gave you four words instead of three.
Paula Edgar: I will take that, not a problem. I think all of that is fantastic. I just was talking to my daughter recently about the fact that you don’t have to be nice all the time but you do have to be kind. The difference between those things, a lot of times people will tell women in particular, and women of color especially, “You have to be more nice,” and I’m like, “No, but you do have to be kind.” I think that it’s important to be a kind person so I love that.
Anjli Garg: I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Paula Edgar: Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you use or like?
Anjli Garg: Yes. I have a couple, one that I didn’t come up with but it to me resonates and sums up my whole journey is that the only way out is in.
Paula Edgar: Yes, okay, another one, or the other one you’re going to share?
Anjli Garg: The other one is something that is close to my heart. it’s something I’ve come up with is that when you’re soaring, it’s effortless.
Paula Edgar: Oh, everybody who’s listening and anybody who’s watching, you just know that I’m already like, “Oh, my gosh, this is going to be so good.” I think as we get into our conversation that those two things will resonate even more but I 100% agree, the inward journey reflects the outward output like what you do inside gets you the stuff on outside. I love it. I love it. I love it.
Okay, I ask everybody this, what’s your hype song? If you want people to know that they’re going to get Anjli, what is that? What’s that song? Or if you’re having a terrible day, what song are you playing to make yourself feel better? It could be the same song or two different songs.
Anjli Garg: Yeah. There are a couple of songs that came in mind and you’re probably already seeing a theme here. One of them is the Hall of Fame by will.i.am and the other one is from Nina Simone, It’s A New Day.
Paula Edgar: I love it. I love this.
Anjli Garg: About both of them is it’s all about self-belief and reinvention, except for the one you set for yourself.
Paula Edgar: I love that. I love that. Okay, tell me a little bit about yourself, tell me about where you grew up, what shaped you, and your career path. What’s the Anjli story?
Anjli Garg: What I would say is the way I grew up has had a huge impact on me. I was born in India and I was seven years old when my family moved to the States. I would describe my transition as a night-and-day story. imagine that you’re in a community in a place where you just belong and you never think about belonging because it’s just it is, the culture, the language, the food, the religion, everything, you are that. That’s reflected around you.
Then imagine that overnight, you come on to a place where it’s upside-down world, you’re like Alice in Wonderland. No one looks like you, no one speaks like you, no one follows the same religion, dress, food, everything, top to bottom. That’s what happened when I moved to Connecticut with my family. I was seven years old and it was a completely being like Alice in Wonderland. Where do you belong?
I think that has been a large part of my journey is what it means when you come out from a place of belonging into a place of “Well, do I belong here? How do I justify myself like how do I get a seat at the table? Do I have a right to be here?” That [inaudible] for me translated into a lot of throwing myself into things I could control in my mind, which was I threw myself into being the best student I could possibly be to excel. That’s a story of a lot of people I think.
I started to go to different places in my life where I finally went to college, where I was in a place that I felt more of a sense of belonging because there were more people that were different. I didn’t necessarily feel connected to most of them, funny enough, but I loved that there were more people than a specific subset of the population. it opened up new horizons.
Then I think the place that I’ve felt the most belonging in has been New York City which I called home for so many years. it struck me because I was having a conversation with a friend and I said, “I think that everyone belongs to New York because no one belongs to New York.”
Paula Edgar: That’s a really good way of explaining except that I belong to Brooklyn definitely.
Anjli Garg: But you understand what I mean that no one belongs to New York, right? Because it’s like no one can own New York, no one is New York.
Paula Edgar: Yeah, we make it up. We, the collective, make it up.
Anjli Garg: That’s it. So we all belong because it’s all part of that’s what it means to be a New Yorker.
Paula Edgar: Yeah, yeah, agreed, agreed. Then tell me how you got to the law after that.
Anjli Garg: I actually came to New York City to study so I went to law school at NYU and that’s where I started my legal career. I was doing what a lot of us who grew up as immigrants in our first generation in terms of that kind of profession or even in that kind of area, meaning I’m the first person in my family, other than my brother, to get a secondary degree, so college to law school.
You don’t always have these mentors or people you can look to tell you, “Well, what’s the way to do it?” So the path I followed was just get the best one, try to get the best one because if you get the best one, then chances are you’ll succeed or you get to the next level wherever that is.
It’s sort of flying by the seat of my pants and my only compass was try to get the best one, try to get the best law school, try to get the best law firm, try to get the best whatever in the sense of reputation status and the rest will follow.
Paula Edgar: Yeah. I mean that’s a really good segue into branding because a part of your brand is who you’re affiliated and that includes institutions and where you’re affiliated with. That is definitely a part.
I do think a lot of folks who don’t have a specific road map or, to your point about mentors or even teachers who can lay the map, that is the way, if that’s what the importance of lists are where it’s like, “Oh, that’s the top? Okay, good. That’s the one I want to strive for,” it’s not always fully accurate but it gives you a path that you can follow that will hopefully lead you to where you need to go to. Then talk to me about you then starting a new practice.
Anjli Garg: This is coinciding with that whole “the only way out is in.” A lot of my career and my life in terms of early life has been focused on the outward. That’s the whole the best is and it has really helped me in my journey. At some point, a light switch went on. it wasn’t something I was looking for, it happened to me, and that changed my perspective and brought me inward.
When it brought me inward, I started to connect with myself, who I am, what I want, and what really makes me feel fulfilled and happy. Part of that journey I realized was about being of service. I love being of service. I also understand another thing about myself which is that I’ve worked really hard for success and for certain things that go with success. My mantra really is service with abundance.
Paula Edgar: Ooh, I love that. I love that.
Anjli Garg: I think a lot of more people would be of service if the ethos of what service means wasn’t giving up everything that you want that’s comfortable for you. That’s why I feel like the two go together, for me at least.
Paula Edgar: So you’re rebranding the way that we look at service, that it doesn’t have to mean scarcity and it doesn’t have to mean lack. I love, love, love that, service with abundance.
Anjli Garg: Absolutely. Because to me, more people would be of service if they didn’t think that being of service means being impoverished for yourself.
Paula Edgar: In thinking about the legal profession and the place in which we navigate a lot, that just immediately called me to thinking about how folks will perceive doing more things for inclusion and incorporating and bringing in people who are different than them and feeling like, “If I do that, then it was not going to be enough for me,” and it’s like, “No, no, no, we’re not living in a closed field.”
Literally, everything expands when your perspective expands, when you understand that it’s not taking away, it’s actually making space for people and experiences and perspectives that should have been there anyway and weren’t for whatever reason. I love thinking about that in that way. That’s a fantastic perspective.
Anjli Garg: And the research bears it out because now people talk about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging not as a nice to do but a business sensible proposition because it is, to your point, it’s not a zero-sum game, it actually does expand so I love that you said that.
Paula Edgar: Okay, talk to me about your experience when you were in corporate law. I know that it drove you inward but tell me about what that was like, things that resonated in that space for when you did that, and then we can get into why and how you moved out of it.
Anjli Garg: I’ve loved being a lawyer. I’ve met amazing people. I’ve had amazing experiences. I’ve traveled to places and I’ve gotten to work with people who are highly intelligent, highly capable, and passionate so I have nothing negative to say about the law. it’s just that there was a part of me that wasn’t reflected in my journey as a lawyer.
That part I was doing informally when people would come to me and people would trust me. That’s something that I actually hold very sacred is people’s trust. I loved seeing them expand out of the boundaries that they put on themselves.
Paula Edgar: You’ve got all these great one-liners and I’m like, “I’m just going to use that too.”
Anjli Garg: The reason I say that is because it’s a reflection of me too because I want to be very clear, I’m not above any of this stuff. This is very much my own journey. it’s all been about looking at the limits and feeling them keenly and also saying, “Okay, am I ready to really step beyond this even though it feels scary, even though it feels hard, and even if I might fail?”
Paula Edgar: No, not the F-word. Failure is the how we move forward. I always say the F-one F-word moves to the other, failure [inaudible] forward. Okay, then talk to me about the transition and then actually saying, “I’m not going to practice anymore. I’m going to start coaching,” what was that like for you and what’s the coaching process like for you?
Anjli Garg: Sure. Thank you. For me, it’s really this summer that I transition to full-time coaching. I’ve been coaching on the side for the last five years and I transitioned fully into coaching because it’s another one of those places where I’m betting on myself and going beyond the limits I may have put on myself, which is that I’ve worked for people my entire life and this is a chance for me to take this thing that I find very fulfilling, that I feel very passionate about to put it out into the world in a more fuller way, and to step into that place of the unknown because that’s what entrepreneurship is, it’s the unknown. You know that better than anybody. You’ve done this way longer than I have.
Paula Edgar: It is stepping out unto the unknown but there’s something that you said that I need to pull out and highlight and that is really important, no matter who you are, no matter what you’re doing, you are the best bet that you can ever make. Of the places where we have control, we can control our perspective. We can’t control all other things but we can control our experiences as much as we can and that’s why I say it’s not a bet when you’re relying on yourself, you’re just saying that it’s time for me to invest in what I know is already there. That’s not a bet. That is a sure investment so I love that.
Alright, so coaching. You’ve been doing it as your side gig, now you’re doing it full-time, I was glad that we were going to be talking at the beginning of the year, although when the podcast comes out, who knows, and people listen to it at all times, why is coaching important? How can it help folks who might need support and how can it just be a consistency even if you don’t feel like you have challenges to help you to be strategic and to be thoughtful about what your path is?
Anjli Garg: Yeah. This is a great question because most lawyers, and including myself, have not heard of coaching. it’s getting more popular now but it’s more popular in the C-suite and in the business context more so than in the legal context.
The way I would describe coaching is it’s an opportunity for you to step into a more expanded version of yourself in a very safe, confidential way. it’s one of the things that we do and I do this all the time is that we get in our own heads about things and we make conclusions about what’s possible for me and what’s not possible for me.
“I can’t have that. No, I’m not that.” In that way, we limit ourselves. What I love about coaching is all about going beyond your limits in a very concrete meaningful way that has an impact. This has an impact on your performance. it has an impact on your success. it has an impact on your well-being and on your sense of fulfillment and happiness because often, we feel like we’re stuck.
“I’m stuck. This is just the way things are and they can’t change unless I radically give up things I want.” These are beliefs and we have them. What coaching can do is help you explore, is it really true that you’re stuck? What does it mean to be stuck? What would it look like if you weren’t stuck? Do you really have to give up everything to have that thing that you want, maybe that you’re even afraid to say to someone else?
But here you are, you can say it, you can say it out loud and there’s no consequence. You don’t even have to do anything about it. That’s the beauty of coaching. it’s like a container where you can go someplace where you can’t go with anyone else really.
Paula Edgar: I love that, the way you just described it because I used to coach individuals a lot and I would say that I am the foot in your back. Like, “If you want to get there, I’m going to push you forward so you get there.” But truthfully, what it was, was setting a safe space so that folks can stop lying to themselves.
That was really truly, and whether it was a conscious lying, and sometimes it was, or an unconscious lying where it’s just like, “You know what, you say that’s what you want because it sounds good but is that really what you want?” You say this is who you are but is it really who you are? Is it just to push back a little bit so folks can say, “Okay, I feel safe enough to be able to say, “Actually, you’re right, I didn’t want to be a chef, I don’t know why I’m here,” whatever the thing is and it is powerful when you can, to your point, go inwards in order to explore and to go on the path of what you need to do and what you’re meant to do externally. I love, love, love that.
Anjli Garg: Yeah. I’ve had clients who’ve said things that they are afraid to say out loud and it’s like, “Oh, can I really say this? Can I really say that I want this?” It’s a place where you can speak your truth without judgment and then you realize it’s not really that bad.
Paula Edgar: Right. There’s so much heaviness that goes into how we were raised, all these things that go into the story we make up, speaking of branding, about who we are but also who we’re supposed to be and that’s supposed to, I always say I’m trying to get rid of, in my whole life, I want to get rid of all the shoulds, “I shouldn’t do nothing. I should only do what I want to do,” no more shoulds because it creates a story that’s not necessarily your story and you have to unlearn it and then figure out what that story is. I think that’s a powerful thing.
Speaking of powerful and unlearning and inwardness, can you talk about how holistic practice is like healing, how it works to contribute to your brand, and helping you to help your clients elicit a part of their brand and their journey? Talk to me about that.
Anjli Garg: For me, these holistic practices, because when I coach, to your point, just to give context, is I’m looking at the whole person and part of the whole person is knowing and connecting to yourself. One of the things that we do and that I see a lot of high achievers do, including myself, is disconnect from ourselves and go into the mental space. That becomes the only space that we’re in.
I can speak from personal experience. There’s no connection to the body, there’s no connection to the emotion, there’s no connection to that intuitive self. it’s just this analytical like, “What’s the next thing I need to do and how do I need to do it to be whoever I need to be to achieve whatever it is I need to achieve?”
But we don’t pause to think, “Well, do I want to achieve that? If I do, why? There’s nothing wrong with it but what’s my motivation? Then how do I want to achieve it? Is it aligned with who I am? And who am I by the way in terms of what makes me tick, what makes me feel successful?”
I say that very intentionally because there’s this whole loaded understanding of what success is that we get from the outside in, and that can be your version of what success is, no problem. But a lot of what I’ve discovered when I talk to clients is that doesn’t necessarily make them feel successful.
It’s part of what makes them feel successful but they’re often surprised by, “Well, you know what, it’s actually being of service that makes me feel successful. it’s actually being with my child that makes me feel successful. it’s actually doing this thing that I love doing that makes me feel successful, painting a picture, making a movie, or whatever it is.”
It’s this thing where I get to create something that makes me feel successful. I want all these other things they’re part of what makes me feel success. I don’t want to give that up but I haven’t really owned this part of myself. it’s always the story I’ve told myself is I can’t really have that and have this. What they discover is wow, you can have both.
Paula Edgar: First of all, 100% and absolutely, and particularly if going back to what we were saying before, you are finding out who yourself is and then saying, “I’m going to invest in who that person is as I go forward,” as you were just talking about that, I kept thinking about magic and lawyers, I’m going to group us into big groups here, I got a bunch of groups, lawyers, people from Brooklyn, me, type-A people, Aquariuses, I don’t care, however you decide who you are, I would describe myself generally as very much like keep it real, tell me who you are, you’re going to get full and authentic Paula at all times.
That has meant in my lifetime I’ve been very literal and very much like I need to know what is the data, the science, and the resources behind that. One of the ways that I have emerged as a human being, and I think has put me in a much better space, is to be open to the fact that the one way, the two ways, or the three ways that I know how to do something are not the only ways.
I had an experience before the pandemic, so five years ago, I guess depending when y’all listening to this now, where I had an understanding that what was traditional was not necessarily what was going to be the space that I needed to be in, in order for me to have a healing experience, and that was outside, I’ve done acupuncture in spaces and when I was pregnant, I did acupuncture for pain, I was like, “I don’t care what it is. Knock me out. I just don’t want to feel the pain.”
I did that but in my mind, as I did it, I was like, “Whatever, as long as this kid is not causing me any pain, I’m going to do it.” Then whatever the five years ago was, it was like, “Okay, think about acupuncture as a place of healing what is going on both internally and then the pain that’s actually showing up,” and coming to it in that space helped me to experience it in a very different way.
Going forward, I think from that and realizing, “Oh, my gosh, I actually do feel better,” I’ve been a lot more open about what I want to experience, and also I’m open to hearing from other people. That long intro leads me into that Anjli was very kind to say to me, “Look, I want you to experience some of what I have had the opportunity to do and share with clients,” and that was an experience that I am still sitting with, y’all.
I’m not going to go all into the details but I will tell you this. As somebody who’s coached, and I currently still now have two coaches who I work with and a therapist, I got a whole team Paula, that one of the skills that Anjli was able to show me in her magic was an ability to see inside and to help me to process some of the stuff that I had going on in a way that, like I said, I’m still sitting with the magic that emerged and all I can tell you is from that experience, I just feel lighter.
All of y’all know that I’m always fun. I try to be the experience that I want people to have with me. I try to make sure that folks leave me feeling better than when they got me but I got to tell you, in the last week or so, I have been like, “Whoah, I am radiating sunshine to folks,” because I just feel like there was something in that experience that I had in this coaching session and the session with Anjli that was like lifted.
To that end, listen, I am not a paid endorser, I can tell you that you may want to open yourself up to thinking about the experience of having self-reflection and being able to navigate differently with a lot of different tools, not just one, and that I think is how Anjli helps people to soar, because I do feel like I’m soaring so, y’all, you got to check out her website, you got to contact her.
That being said, I don’t know what else you want to add about it, I just wanted to make sure that in our time together that I share with people that you’re not just talking it, you actually are doing it, so there’s that.
Anjli Garg: Oh, thank you so much, Paula. it’s such a pleasure and honor to have been on that journey with you. What Paula is talking about is one of the tools in my toolbox, if you will, because I work very holistically with my clients, we are doing both the analytical, tactical, strategic thing that appeals to the mind and the way that we’re brought to be, like data driven, show me results the way I can understand them, then at a very mindset level, and then at an energetic level.
That energetic level is something beyond words. it is energy. What is it? We are all energy, science has proven that, you can read all sorts of articles about it if you’re still not convinced, what you’re experiencing about the lightness is that there is energy that sits within us that’s unresolved.
That energy that’s unresolved that sits within us creates stagnation and it creates dis-ease, and that dis-ease can be mental, it can be emotional, it can be physical, or it can be all of the above because it’s trapped energy that doesn’t need to be there, it’s no longer serving you.
It’s there in the form of traumatic experiences. By trauma, I’m talking about not just the capital T Trauma that people think of but I’m talking about anything that’s a felt experience that has impacted you emotionally in a very deep way. That trauma sits with us and that sense of unresolved issues, whatever they might be, and often, it happens in childhood and it just sits there and you can’t reason with it because it’s like a two-year-old child.
Try reasoning with a two-year-old, let’s see how far you get. That’s why like when we have all these blocks like, “Oh, I know I need to stop trying to be perfect but I can’t let go of it and I’ve tried to reason with myself what’s the worst that’ll happen but it’s still there,” or the shoulds in your life as you’re talking about like, “Yeah, I have to do this,” “I should do this,” or “I shouldn’t do that,” why? You can sit there and rationalize with yourself and then you come back to the same thing.
I should say no but I can’t say no. Why can’t I say no? What’s wrong with me that I can’t say no? Nothing is wrong with you. You have a pattern of belief and mechanisms you put in place to stay safe at a certain time in your life and that energy is still there until we can dissolve it, until you can feel safe to dissolve it. That’s the work we do that’s beyond words that is a supplement to the coaching. That is what you’re talking about.
Paula Edgar: I am sold and I love that this mantle, the word disease into dis and ease. Although I probably I’m sure at some point when I was little had to think about the two but it truly is not having ease and what that means. I just had a moment thinking about that when you have disease, it creates dis-ease.
Anjli Garg: That’s it, that’s it.
Paula Edgar: Wow. Y’all, I’m telling you, y’all know me and trust me because you’re listening to my podcast, you know this already, I don’t believe and I will never ever talk to you about something that I either have not experienced or don’t know somebody who’s experienced. I’m a referral-based, you got to hear it but I’m telling you, you can hear it, I feel lighter.
Now I just gotta actually get lighter because I got a beach to be on. Thank you for explaining that. I think it would be helpful and I’m hoping a lot of people actually go and want to hear more about this.
A part of how you coach, again, for the whole person can impact how they show up and so I’m just thinking about this piece of it, what have you seen, and I’m interested in the answer, in terms of people’s mistakes and how their brands have shown up, maybe and that’s why they came to you or because they have not internalized or worked with the process in the way that they should, what are some of the mistakes that you’ve seen around building your brand and showing up in whatever way due to not having work or doing the work? I hope I asked the question right.
Anjli Garg: No, it’s an excellent question. What I see mostly is what I’ve done in my own life, which is trying to be and trying to do what you think is the formula for success, if I need to project this image or I need to do this stuff so that people will see me as something that is valuable and something they want at the table.
I’m not a Pollyanna. I know that there is a certain aspect to the game that we play out in the world depending on what goal you’re going for but here’s what happens when you play that game too much, too far on the spectrum is that you lose sight of yourself and then there is this feeling of hollowness that comes from it and an inconsistency that results too because you’re not doing it authentically necessarily, you’re playing a role and you’re putting on a mask.
There’s nothing wrong with that but here’s what happens is if you put that mask on long enough and hard enough, it feels like there’s a disconnection and there’s a feeling of “That’s not who I really am.” Then impostor syndrome kicks in and you lose confidence too because you’re trying to be something or you’re projecting something that you’re not.
Paula Edgar: Yeah. One of the things that I say often when I’m doing sessions on personal branding, etc, is fake it till you become it. But as I think about it, it really isn’t that. it’s more like fake it or show up that way until you can tap into it because you are it. You are it, it’s just you have to trust yourself enough to be able to say, “Now I can show it.”
Imposter syndrome is such a challenging thing because oftentimes, it’s not you, it’s the place that does not belong to you, it is that you can’t show up as who you are because of the situation you’re in versus who you actually are.
Anjli Garg: Yeah. I agree with you on that and I will make a slight tweak in terms of my own because I always tell my clients, “I’ll never do fake it till you make it with you because unless you feel safe to do this, we’re not going to go there because I’m not here to convince you of anything, it’s to help you step into a place of safety so that you can own it.”
What I really mean about the impostor syndrome and confidence is often, the reason why we’re in that lack of confidence and impostor syndrome, at least from my perspective, in my own experience, and also with the experience of my clients, is we’re looking for other people to reflect our value back at us.
That is a very destabilizing game because one moment, you might say, let’s just say you’re in front of me, one moment you might sing my praises, and the next minute, you don’t like something that I’ve done or you devalue something I’ve done. if I’m basing my sense of value and my sense of worth on you, I’ve totally given my power away and I am on shifting sand. There’s no way for me to gain stability and grounding in that.
What I’m talking about there is dialing back inside to see and connect to the fact that yes, I am valuable in and of myself. What I have to contribute and who I am aside from what I do is valuable. That’s the real underpinning of my coaching. it’s that place where when you own that, there’s a confidence that comes that no matter what happens, because life is going to have its challenges, no matter what you do, you’re not going to go the way that you expected them to or the way that you wanted them to, whether it’s people, whether it’s situations, whatever, it might happen.
The whole world has witnessed that with COVID, if not with other events but no matter what happens, I have this unshakable core and the tools to come back to that center because I know what alignment looks like for me. I can go back into that alignment so that when the world is shifting around me, I’m not doing this, I’m able to stand there and flow with it without breaking with it.
Paula Edgar: Oh, yes. it’s almost like you and my therapist have like a side conversation because I said yesterday in therapy that I have stopped resisting the flow. I still want to roll faster but I stopped resisting. For me, that’s a huge shift and I think for a lot of folks who have been taught that if you just work hard enough, you just do these things, all the things will happen.
It’s like, “Oh, my gosh. I have no control.” I don’t have control in letting it go and just be like, “You know what, I can show it as best I can and then life is still going to life,” and being okay with that and understanding that resisting is not going to change it either is a key, key thing. My goodness, it’s a key thing. What advice do you have for people who are trying to build their brand?
Anjli Garg: It’s really to understand yourself more fully. Know what your strengths are. Know what your values are. Know what you need to thrive and then own it. Because one of the things that I found again and again in my coaching is that, and this is a strategy for success that a lot of us have taken on, myself included, which is that our strengths are okay but it’s the thing I don’t have, that’s the thing that’s really valuable.
Can I really own this strength? Am I really good at it or is just everybody good at it? It’s funny, usually things that come easy to us are things that are strengths of ours so we assume it’s easy for everybody. What’s the big deal about that? Everybody can do it. Not that valuable. It’s not the thing right there that I can’t do or that I’m not as adept in, that’s what’s really valuable.
It’s really taking that and owning it because then when you own it and you understand yourself, you can convey that confidence and that goes into your branding because again, we come back to what is branding? It’s a feeling. When you talked about that person, when you thought of her, smile came on your face.
Paula Edgar: When you do that, I think a lot of folks, and I’m particularly thinking about some of my audience from traditionally underrepresented groups, etc, when you tap into the strength, it feels less about like them as boasting and it’s just more about I’m sharing who I am.
Even though it comes easily does not mean you should devalue it. Absolutely 100%, you should be thinking about the places where you have ease more in terms of the strengths that you have as opposed to trying to fight and push against, again, I’m a big believer in always trying to get better but there are definitely some things and I’m like, “Oh, I got that,” and I’m going to tell you that if you need somebody to brainstorm with, I’m your girl.
You want somebody to tell you about branding? I got you. Other things, I still know how to do but maybe a little harder because I’ve worked at it and I think that is an excellent way of thinking about that, particularly for those of you who are listening who may feel as if you don’t belong and are devaluing the needing and wanting to have this new skill set, etc, or skill set other people have and not feeling belonging is like a powder keg of feeling impostor syndrome. That’s all of it together and thinking with the perspective of how can I own my strengths to flourish in the space I’m in if that’s what you choose to do.
Anjli Garg: Absolutely, very well said because what happens is the opposite of that is we try to prove our worth again and again. As women of color, I know I’ve done this, I know you probably, which is hey, look, this new trick I just did, this shows you that I belong here. I belong here, right? Well, you already have that seat at the table.
You don’t need to keep proving yourself. What you need to do is own authentically, feel it inside yourself that yeah, you are really valuable. You being here is really valuable. Ask yourself, one thing I always ask my clients is, “What’s missing from the room when you’re not in it?”
Paula Edgar: Oh, what a great question. That just like took me back. if you’re watching on YouTube, I literally leaned back. That is a great question. That is a fantastic question and I thought to myself about what you were just saying too, that’s not just work and professional advice, that’s relationship advice.
If you are being like, “Pick me, choose me,” it’s probably not the right person. You are perfect, wonderful, and valuable all on your own and people should see that as opposed to you having to perform tricks in order for them to see your value. I think that is a key point. I hope y’all are hearing it.
For those of you who do, because I’m thinking of certain people specifically, make sure you email me when you heard this. I want to hear that you acknowledge that you you don’t have to perform for your value to be visible and for you to value yourself. That’s good. Anjli, tell me what do you do for fun? What’s your fun stuff?
Anjli Garg: I love that question. it’s so funny because this year, I know you do a word of the year, I know your word is “joy” which I think is lovely. I love it. I was thinking about that for myself and this year I have two words, spoiler alert, it can’t be one, it’s got to be two. it’s movement and play.
My intention for this year, and it’s not a resolution, it’s an intention, is to find movement and play in almost anything I do because I realize that one of the things that lights me up with joy is to be in movement, to be in nature, to be active but in a fun playful way, not in a treadmill sort of way.
Paula Edgar: Me too.
Anjli Garg: Right? To play and connect with others. I love to do that. I love to be in nature. I love to paint because, to me, painting is playing with color and color is something that I just love, to have colorful things around me is something that I enjoy. I enjoy connection, a great conversation, even an exchange with a stranger on a walk or on the way to work, whatever it is, you just have that moment and it’s like I see you and you see me. it’s such a beautiful moment for me.
Paula Edgar: It really is. Of course, I have to give a shout-out to my Annual Intention and Goal Setting session that I do. if you all haven’t seen it, go look at the replay. it’s always fantastic, over 400 people getting together and being like, “We want to do this thing this year. We want to do it in a wonderful way,” and with great resources”
Go back and check that out because you can talk about setting your own intentions and picking your own word for there and it doesn’t matter what time of year you’re hearing this, it’s still appropriate for you to do it now. if you haven’t done it, do it now.
I have two questions that I ask everybody in my podcast, one of those is standing by your brand, what’s an authentic aspect of your personal brand that you will never compromise on?
Anjli Garg: Being a safe space.
Paula Edgar: Oh, yeah, love that. I love that.
Anjli Garg: I pride myself on keeping people’s secrets and never using their secrets against them and really being that place because that’s something that I’ve always wanted in my life and so when my clients come to me or anybody comes to me and says something vulnerable, something they want to share with me, I hold that sacred. Being that safe space is a really big piece for me.
Paula Edgar: I love that and I can tell you all that immediately, I felt safe and you can hear her voice, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. I feel calm.” I remember once somebody said to me, “Paula, before you do some of your training sessions, you should center people and get them into a space of meditation.” I was like, “I am not the right person.”
But to that end, there are people who immediately I’m like, “I will get you in a fun space. I will get you in a movement space.” I think your voice also helps you get into that space as well. Tell me this, what is your Branding Room Only moment, which obviously, is a play on standing room only, something that somebody’s going to come into a room, crowded, and stand there to see or experience about you?
Anjli Garg: It’s so funny you said calm. I have heard that time and time again from people until I kept hearing it, I was like, “I didn’t quite get it,” because it’s like that thing where it’s something you do or you are and you don’t think about it. I noticed that people say that to me again and again that I feel like really calm and serene in your presence. I feel like the anxiety goes down. One of the things that I would say is that I’ve heard that a lot from people, that in my presence, they feel calmer whether it’s via Zoom or in person.
Paula Edgar: Yep, I can attest to that. Anjli and I met at a networking reception. it was really, really loud. When she came and introduced herself to me, immediately I was like, “Oh, my gosh,” so much so that I spoke about it at dinner that night. I was like, “She was so nice.” So when you are in your authentic space and when you were in your magic space is what I call it, it just shows up. You don’t even have to think about it. it just shows up. I feel even calmer already just thinking about this.
Tell my people, tell Paula’s peeps how they can stay in contact with you, how can they reach you, and how can they learn about working with you.
Anjli Garg: Oh, thank you for that. They can reach me on my website, yourcoachtosoar.com. You can reach out to me and set up a complimentary Epiphany Call which will get you a sense of what it’s like to work with me. We’ll do a kind of coaching session.
There is a program that I’m enrolling that I created for high-achieving professional women. That’s a 12-week program that is taking you from burnout to balance. We’re going to do a deep dive into all these things we talked about, getting clarity on your steps, connecting with yourself, letting go of those limiting beliefs, being really clear on some goals for yourself to what you want to achieve, and implementing those goals. if you’re interested in that, please reach out to me as well.
Paula Edgar: I love it. Everybody, tell everybody and we’ll see you in the next episode of Branding Room Only. Bye, y’all.
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