Building a Confident Career Mindset With Eliana Goldstein

Nicole and Marina chat with Eliana Goldstein, Millennial Success Coach, about how to build a confident career mindset wired for success and manage imposter syndrome.

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Nicole Booz: Welcome back to the GenTwenty Podcast! I’m Nicole.

Marina Crouse: And I’m Marina! Today we’re speaking with Eliana Goldstein, millennial success coach, about how to build a confident career mindset wired for success and manage that imposter syndrome. Eliana, welcome! We’re so excited to have you here. Can you tell us can you tell us a little bit about how you became a millennial success coach?

Eliana Goldstein: Yes, I would be happy to and thank you guys again for having me. I’m really excited to be speaking with both of you about a subject that’s very near and dear to my heart. Prior to becoming a coach I worked in the corporate world like so many of us do, the typical 9 to 5. I was very fortunate I got a job right out of college. I started off working at a small startup as a marketing coordinator and kind of slowly climbed the ranks, made a number of pivots, and I ended up moving in to sales and really grew in my sales career.

I was in a place where I had checked the boxes in the sense that I was doing what I had always aspired to be doing. I was making good money from a young age and felt like I was I had really kind of succeeded for myself. But while everything on paper was what I was hoping for, behind all of that I felt really unhappy. I was really disconnected from what I was doing on a daily basis. I felt so much anxiety about work. I had you know the very very typical Sunday scaries and dread about Monday and just really, really wasn’t happy with what I was doing but I think that for so long I had always been programmed and told that you’re not really supposed like your job as a job. It’s where you go to get paid.

I kind of ignored those feelings and just kept pushing through for a really long time and I know so many people  experience that and feel that way and it really just reached a point where I just felt “I can’t do this anymore. Even if you’re supposed to not like your job, this isn’t for me, I want to change.” I kind of at that point delved into the world of of personal development and kind of like self-development junkie. One of my friends introduced me to this to this intensive thirty hour seminar which was my first foray into the world and that really got me thinking and my wheels turning around what I had really defined as success. What I really wanted for myself. What I was really good at. What I actually enjoyed doing and through all of that I kind of discovered the the world of coaching and really realized that it hit on so much of what I loved and what I was engaged with and what I was good at and just dove into that.

I started building out coaching as a side hustle while I was still working the nine to five until eventually it grew and I felt like it was time to leave. I’ve been doing coaching now for over 2 years full time as a millennial success coach. But within that I really focus on careers for millennials and you know individuals in their twenties and thirties, really helping them understand “what does a fulfilling and a successful career look like for me?” And what do I ultimately do what is the action plan I need to create to really get there so I don’t live with those Sunday scaries with that Monday morning dread.  So that’s a little about my story and what I do and I honestly just feel very honored and grateful to do this work I really really love it.

Nicole Booz: Yeah I think it’s amazing and so impactful and changing lives because we’ve experienced it ourselves. I hear it a lot where people really struggle to really figure out what it is they want to do, where their strengths are and how to apply all that.

Eliana Goldstein: Absolutely, it’s not easy and people don’t know how to do which is why they keep fighting themselves back in careers that they really just don’t enjoy.

Marina Crouse: You were talking about how common it is to just think you’re not supposed to like your job because I know when I lived in New York I was in the same boat. I worked at a startup I really liked parts of, and I was good at some of it, but I was really unhappy and all of my support system was saying like well you’ve got to build happiness outside of your job. The Sunday scaries were brutal and I would just live for the weekend and I woke up one day and I was just like “I’m going to do this for 40 years, and then I’m going to die. this is terrible.”

I think so much has changed in the career landscape too for millennials that the advice we get from our parents and all the generations isn’t as current. It’s hard to have that confidence because we’re measuring our success on other people’s parameters. So Eliana can you talk a little bit about what even a confident career mindset is and can can look like?

Eliana Goldstein: Yeah, absolutely. I think you’re hitting on so many important things, Marina, in the sense that you know it’s true. The reason that success becomes so convoluted for us is because most of us are living in the definition of success that other people have. And you know when you talk about confident career mindset and really embarking on what feels good and natural for you, one of the first things that you really need to do is define what success looks like for you. The almost normal instinct with that is to kind of just  regurgitate what’s always been told for you.

When I speak with with individuals and especially women, I really try to nail down and say “okay, well where does that definition come from and do you truly truly truly feel connected to that?” I like to do a little game of doing word association almost saying when I say success what immediately pops into your mind and a lot of people say money and great title and all these kind of classic definitions and then I say okay and what does what pops into your mind when I say happiness and fulfillment and like this entire other sense of vocabulary will pop up.

Marina Crouse:  Oh Man.

Eliana Goldstein: Then I say “look at those two things. Look at the associations you have with success and what you have with fulfillments and happiness and how do you rectify those two things? Are you okay with those being two separate things.?” So I think when you talk about success in your career and confident career mindset, it first and foremost is about really defining it for yourself and what that looks like for you specifically. Also there’s so many different ways to really embark on that topic but beyond just success. There’s also the notion that I talk a lot about of  fixed mindset versus the growth mindset and a lot of us kind of fall into victimhood in our careers.

“This is just what I meant for” and I’m just kind of doing what’s told of me and what’s handed to me but true confidence in our careers is taking the direction into our own hands and doing what it is that we want for ourselves. One of the ways that we do that is really by embodying the idea that we always have the ability to grow and to learn and to develop and if we don’t have a certain skill set that doesn’t mean that you can never do that. We can always grow into that person. We can develop the skills that we need so those are just you know a couple things or so many different things in that topic. But I think really defining what success means to you first and foremost and being able to embody that growth mindset is really important.

Nicole Booz: Yeah, for sure and definitely throughout your career I think there’s like a lot of people and we texted on it a little bit earlier. They kind of experience imposter syndrome, especially because what they’re saying that their version of success is and what they really want and their fulfillment I think.

It also plays in together because it’s just not aligned, so how often in your coaching do you come across like imposter syndrome and like how does developing a confident career mindset help you manage that?

Eliana Goldstein: I don’t think there’s ever been a client or person that I’ve worked with or spoken with where imposter syndrome hasn’t come up. I think it impacts every individual out there no matter what level of success you’re at. I think it’s really important to have acceptance around your imposter, to know that it’s never going to fully go away because your imposter is virtually what’s keeping you “protected.”

It’s saying “Okay, something is going on here that I don’t really feel comfortable with that. You know I’m going to feel like a fraud I’m going to feel like a failure this might not work out. People are going to find me out,” and virtually that voice comes up because it’s trying to keep you safe and protected and as humans you know we come up against challenges and things outside of our comfort zone and our innate reaction is to want to kind of you know, stay in our box and stay safe and feel protected so we got to remember that it’s always going to be there.

And that’s okay, but it’s just a matter of how you manage it and when it comes to confident career mindset it’s so important because the more confident you are in yourself the better that you can manage your imposter and the better you can almost see your imposter as almost like an alter ego. It’s that separate version of yourself. That’s coming out to protect you but you can kind of embody that confident version of yourself and say “no I got this. I see you, I hear you, I understand that you’re trying to protect me, but you know I’m not going to buy into those thoughts right now, or into those beliefs. I know what I’m doing, I’ve proven it time and time again that I can do this. And I’m going to keep moving forward.” So if you can embody that confident version of yourself, you can keep moving through the blocks that the imposter kind of tries to throw at you.

Marina Crouse: That’s really great advice I struggle a lot with imposter syndrome.  I’m a writer, I’m trying to finish a novel and get published. But I also coach other writers and so my imposter syndrome is constantly saying “you know, you’re not truly published yet. You can’t really give this advice” and I have to take a step back and say “okay I see you those are valid fears and thoughts. But we’re not going to operate on those we’re going to operate on the 10 years of experience I have in writing and my skills” and it’s just a daily journey a daily battle where I’m you know trying to embrace that confidence and leave the imposter behind.

Eliana Goldstein: Exactly and I yeah I think you’re handling it beautifully, saying “I’m not going to buy into that narrative.” That’s why I say acceptance is really important because I’m a big believer that the more you resist…the more you resist the more it persists right? So the more I’m like “no no, no, Imposter Syndrome, go away. I want you to disappear,” the more you’re almost giving it power and and control in your life versus saying “I know this is normal to have these fears, to have these thoughts, but I’m not going to let it direct me” and it just kind of becomes a part of you. It comes up from time to time but it doesn’t completely throw you off board when it comes up because you know how to manage it in those moment. So  it’s like you know the pinprick as opposed to the stab in your chest that comes up for you.

Marina Crouse: Yeah, and I wonder too if if the way millennials have been raised between the Boomer generation as parents, or whichever generation raised the millennials depending on what scale you fall on, between who raised us and our constant social media highlight feed with all that comparison,  I wonder if that really feeds into the narrative of success and that imposter syndrome.Eliana  can you talk about  the high rate of imposter syndrome and why our generation might experience it at such a young age too.

Eliana Goldstein: Yeah  I think exactly what you were saying. It’s a product of our parents and it goes back to that definition of success and what we’re taught success is and what we should be doing to achieve that success. Then when it’s not happening feeling like a fraud or an imposter around it. But I think the biggest culprit is definitely social media. When you’re constantly bombarded with other people’s lives and what they’re doing and how successful they are and how easy they’re making it seem…because social media only tells one story. We think “oh my God that person’s succeeding so well, it’s so easy for them, who am I to think that I can have this opportunity? I’m not that person I don’t have their skill set. They’ve done all these things I haven’t done those things I can’t go for that”

We’re just like caught in this endless cycle of comparison and just make when you’re constantly living in someone else’s lane and not focused on yourself and what’s important to you, you’re always going to feel less than. You’re always going to feel that sense of fraud which is what imposter syndrome really is. So I think it’s a huge part of why it’s so prevalent among our generation… And like I said before it’s still human nature, even if social media wasn’t there, it would still exist. But I think that because of the atmosphere that we’re living in and that we’re growing up in… it’s just so much more pervasive. I forget the statistics around it but you’ll see 7 out of 10 people experience Imposter syndrome and I always say that b.s. every person experiences it. You never have a conversation with someone who hasn’t experienced that to a degree but I think social media is a massive culprit of all of that. Absolutely.

Nicole Booz: Yeah, for sure I think having just all this stuff bombarded at you constantly just really warps your perception of how easy and hard some things are. Something I was just thinking about as you were talking is that success, however, we are defining it for ourselves, is sometimes easier than we expect it to be, and harder in other ways if that makes sense. For example, as Marina was talking about her writing her novel and stuff… I am a published author and was actually way easier than I thought it would be because I had sort of a strange journey to that.

We also interviewed Dr. Meg jay about the Defining Decade and I think so much about how she got her book published. She told us the story and it was essentially that the editor of this other publishing company had mistakenly sent her a box of books and so she emailed her and she was like “hey, I got this box that wasn’t meant for me” and she was like “oh don’t worry about it. Just keep it” and she was like “okay, thank you It’s really nice of you.” Then a few years later when Dr. Meg Jay had the idea for her book, she didn’t know anyone in publishing. All she did was email that lady that she had one touch point with who put her in contact with other people and I just think of how simple that is right? But that takes something that to me seems like it takes a lot of confidence to do. I would never just email someone like that. But why not? So my point of getting to a story is I think it takes a lot of confidence and as you were saying earlier, and I wrote down that I wanted to ask you how can we develop confidence in our careers. where do we start with that?

Eliana Goldstein: Yeah, so I love that story. I think it it really does, like you were saying ,shows the simplicity of situations and the fact that we most often overcomplicate things. Because it all roots back to confidence right? Like why do we overcomplicate it? Generally, we are nervous about it or there’s a fear of failure around it and we just don’t have the confidence to pursue it and say “hey whatever happens, happens.” So when it comes to you know building confidence in ourselves I think you know there are tactics.  I do this with imposter syndrome too. I always tell my clients “I want you to have like a brag list.” So having a note in your phone of different things that you can just record from time to time like something that happened at work that you’re proud of and an interaction you had with a friend that you’re proud of whatever it might be.

It’s like the big wins and the small wins really honing in on those and focusing on those. And the reason that we do that is twofold. First and foremost we tend to really dwell on the negativity and the negative things that happen in our lives and what doesn’t work out well but we don’t have any sort of focus on what does work out well. So when it comes to those moments and opportunities of needing to channel that confidence we don’t really have that confidence to channel because we just like overlook all the great things that we’ve been doing and we dwell on the negative.

So first and foremost if we can start training our brain around recognizing the small wins and the things that make us feel more confident, we will be able to step into a more confident version of ourselves and then we also have this notepad so that when things do come up for us and we’re feeling really nervous. “Can I pursue this opportunity, can I do this?” We can pull up that notepad and say “oh look at all these times that I was able to do something really awesome, that I took a risk in an opportunity and worked out for me.”

So it’s the retraining of our brains but it’s also the tangible effect of being able to see that written on paper. When it also comes to building confidence, a lot of the times it’s not the easiest answer. But we have to do things that push ourselves out of our comfort zones. That is when it comes to  embodying a different version of ourselves. It’s about retraining the pathways of your brain.I always tell my clients  “how many years have you been on earth? You’re 28 years old, you have 28 years of programming all around diminishing your confidence,” and “if I do this it’s not going to work out, and and I’m going to fail in all these things,” and  it completely puts you down on everything that you you have for yourself.

The way that you retrain those pathways is that you virtually have to throw a wrench in those pathways to redirect them and the way that you throw those wrenches is by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone. So it means doing something that you’re nervous isn’t going to work out and that you’re not going to be confident in but then you do do it. You throw that wrench in it and you actually see that it works out and then there’s a new pathway being built it’s “hey when I did this it actually worked out, hey I’m a little bit more confident in myself,” and then you keep doing that until those pathways get reestablished. So yes, there are the tangibles of writing the accomplishment down and all of that and that makes a big difference but it’s also making an active effort and saying to yourself “I’m gonna do something different that I haven’t done before now and it’s gonna be really hard the first time that I do it but every single time I do it after this, it’s going to get easier and I’m going to build confidence with that.” So I think it’s really a combination of of all those things.

Nicole Booz: Yeah I totally agree. I actually shared a post on GenTwenty’s Instagram yesterday which when people are hearing this will be months ago. But I said that confidence is not a personality trait. It takes practice and it’s something that you have to do over and over and over again, like you’re saying, to really actually retrain those physical pathways in your brain so that when you do come to these situations you can approach them differently and I don’t know how to say other than to be more confident. But, yeah, I think like you’re saying get out of your comfort zone. The more you do things that don’t feel natural to you, the easier it will get over time.

Eliana Goldstein: Yeah, exactly and you know  I always share with people that when I was younger I was really quiet. I was super self-conscious. I was so consumed with what others thought of me and I kind of lived in that for a really long time and I never ever would have believed that I’d be in the profession and the career path that I’m in right now, but it came from an active decision that I wanted to be more confident that I had more to offer that I had a lot of valuable things to say in that if I wanted people to know that I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and I started doing it and like I said it felt really uncomfortable at first.

But then I started seeing that I was getting a positive reception and wow I felt really good about myself after I did that and slowly slowly slowly, it got easier and easier and now my life is putting myself out there. But this is not at all who I am, I wasn’t born this way at all, and that goes back to growth mindset versus fixed mindset. If I had a fixed mindset I would believe that there’s no way I could ever build confidence because that’s not what was given to me. But when you have a growth mindset, you believe “I can step into this. I can learn this. I can acquire these these new beliefs and this new skill set.” So I complete I love that post and I think it’s so true. You’re not, you’re not just given it. You have to work on it. You have to build it.

Marina Crouse: In this last conversation I’m thinking about all of the times my bosses and managers have told me to be more confident and that was the job performance feedback: “we just want you to be more confident” andthen it would stop there.  I remember it got to the point where it was such crushing feedback because I would never know what to do with that and it [confidence] came from getting out of my comfort zone. But also I think working on acceptance of “oh yeah, I’m accepting that I’m not going to be good at this thing at the first try” or “I’m going to care less about what people think of me and care more about what I think of me” but the advice you give is just so much more tangible than all the other times I’ve had managers say “just be more confident.”

I think especially for women we’re kind of socialized to be all of these things and none of them include confident. Because when you’re a confident woman you’re bossy and hard to work with, and all these things but I like that we’re kind of reclaiming this idea of  accepting of who we are. We’re going to know what we’re good at, know what our weaknesses are. I think a lot of our readers struggle with that balance too in their early careers.

Eliana Goldstein: Oh absolutely. I’m sure and yeah I think you’re right, I think that it’s a narrative that so many women have and for good reason and it’s the balance between being accepting of it because that goes back to what we were saying before about resistance. You don’t want to resist feelings or thoughts that you have about yourself because the more you resist, the more it persists. So there’s the acceptance around it.  “I might not naturally be good at this. I might not naturally be confident and that’s okay, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me,” and at the same time “just because I am this way doesn’t mean that I have to stay this way. Let me find tools and resources so that I can change this in a way that feels comfortable for me” and that  is a way that feels supportive to me as opposed to just being told like “hey go do, this go be more confident.”

Generally when that’s thrown at us it doesn’t really motivate us. So we need to figure out what will motivate me to move into this newer version of myself. Whether it’s having a vision around where I want to be in a year from now or having a really clear action plan and goals like what will motivate you to do that and knowing that it’s then possible for yourself.

Marina Crouse: Yeah, absolutely. Eliana, this has been so great. I know people are going to want to continue to follow you and work with you. Where can people find you?

Eliana Goldstein: You can find me on Instagram it’s just my name eliana goldstein. I’m also very active on tiktok these days which has been…really one of my assistants that I work with is like” you need to get on tiktok”

Marina Crouse: Oh I love to hear it.

Eliana Goldstein: But I thought “I’m not gen z” but it’s been a really really fun platform and I put out a lot of content there. So I would say  connect with me on Instagram, I’m really active on dms, if you ever want to chat and learn more about ways that I can support you and just follow me on tiktok for some you know, fun digestible career content.

Marina Crouse: Well I will be following you on tiktok. I love ticktock. We will link all of your links as well into the show notes and thank you so much for joining us! Nicole can you sing us out.

Nicole Booz: Yes I can. This has been another episode of the GenTwenty podcast. Thank you so much for listening. We’d love if you leave a rating and review and you’ll hear from us again soon. Bye.

Eliana Goldstein: Bye Guys. Thank you.

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.