PCW Key note Speaker: Vivian Howard

I recently found out that some of our members at KORE nominated me to be considered for recognition as a Palmetto Center for Women Honors recipient. I’m still not really sure what exactly this honor is but, there were some pretty awesome women in attendance so I was incredibly humbled to be considered on par with them. If you know me at all, I prefer to stay in the wings and not in the spotlight so this was not the most comfortable event for me to attend however, I am very glad that I did. Here is what I learned.


Vivian Howard who hosts “A Chef’s Life” on PBS was the keynote for this event and she spoke about pursuing her dreams and the work it took to get her to where she is now. She also spoke about her biggest weakness: self-doubt and the struggles she’s dealt with battling that weakness. As she spoke, she told stories of the constant battle in her head with being afraid that one day, she was going to reveal that her cooking wasn’t all together that great and be exposed as the fraud she really believed herself to be.


Clearly that has yet to happen and from everything I’ve seen and heard of Vivian, her self doubt is purely unmerited. I’m sure that every person in that room was relieved to learn that a very accomplished chef and TV celebrity struggles with the same thing we all struggle with on a daily basis: believing in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals. I see it all the time with my clients: amazing, intelligent, incredibly talented in their field, and yet still they struggle with self doubt.


Finding that a lot of people with self doubt issues set small goals then struggle after crushing them, I always challenge our clients here at KORE to dream big, then break the big goals down into smaller ones. This promises that while winning the small battles and gaining confidence, there is always room for growth.


One of the problems with dreaming big is that sometimes the dream is SO BIG that you truly doubt the possibility of ever succeeding. I know it is true for me. I have a dream and vision for my future that is huge (I had no trouble finding a lofty goal). The problem and the thing I struggle with daily is actually believing that this dream will come to fruition. I struggle with my visualization exercises because I just don’t even know how to see myself at the point where I am living my dream. I suffer from the same self doubt that Vivian talked about, that we all seem to suffer from in some way or another.


In my reading I came across a chapter that really hit home for me. In this chapter, the author suggested visualizing big goals in the same way you would worry. We all worry and when we worry, we do so about things that have not happened yet, that in fact, may never happen. Yet, we worry about these things nonetheless. The author suggests that if you took the same approach to thinking about your lofty goals as worrying, you can work yourself into it. Ask yourself what it would look like if you did in fact achieve your goal. You aren’t trying to convince yourself that it is in fact going to happen but instead you are saying, “Suppose it DID happen, what would that be like?”

Changing this one thing in my visualization exercises has made a big difference in the battle of self doubt and remolding the way I approach my big goals. I would encourage you all to give this technique a try. If you don’t have big goals set, spend some time thinking about what those goals might be and refer back to this blog post on envisioning your goals for help in doing so.

Elise Matthews