Maryam and Nivaal interview Julie Carrier
A leading authority, author and global speaker on authentic confidence and leadership
In our first interview for our Perspectives column, we had the opportunity to speak with one of our biggest role models and mentors, Julie Carrier. We have had the pleasure of working with Julie for the past few months now, and she inspires us with her dedication and passion for helping others every day. We’re so excited to share her perspective here with you today.
Would you be able to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about your work?
Yes! My name is Julie Carrier, and I’m a leading authority, author and global speaker on authentic confidence and leadership and do a lot of work supporting women of all ages on how to be even more bold and show up in bigger ways. I am honoured that I was recently recognized by Leading Global Coaches and Thinkers 50 as the #1 Coach for Young Women in the World.
Amazing! You didn’t always do this work. Would you be able to share a little bit more about your journey to how you decided that this is what you want to do, and perhaps talk a little bit about what you did before this and what your career looked like?
Before I became a speaker and an author, and somebody who uses applied neuroscience to teach interactive leadership education for young women and women, I worked as a senior management consultant in leadership development at the Pentagon where I taught leadership skills to executives. What most people don’t know is that before all of these successes, my life actually started very differently. In high school, I had crippling anxiety and self-doubt and tremendous fear about stepping outside my comfort zone. If I could go from someone who was afraid to raise my hand in class to someone who now has spoken around the world for audiences of 20-70,000, I believe anyone can learn how to be confident and it’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about sharing this message with women and young women.
That’s such great advice for not only young women and men, but for everyone. Would you be able to share some of your tips for how women can maintain their confidence in the workplace, or in their everyday lives?
The number one thing I would like to start with is revealing a toxic myth that we have been conditioned to believe — that confidence is either something that you either have or that you don’t. What research shows, just like my life experience shows, is that confidence — just like you would learn how to ride a bike, or just how you would learn to cook, or just how you would learn to create a Powerpoint — is actually a learned skill.
You can actually learn how to leverage the power of your brain and use principles of neuroscience to learn how to be confident. While I normally have a 60-minute keynote or a three-day seminar to teach this, in the time we have I can share a highlight. I developed this brain-friendly learning quote which basically summarizes hundreds of pages of research on confidence: “Fear knocked. Courage answered. Then Confidence arrived and Success showed up.”
Think about that for a moment. Confidence does not just happen. It is developed as part of a process that usually happens in this order. Let’s start with the fear knocking. The reality is that fear knocks any time you are getting ready to do something bold and new, whether it’s asking for that promotion, or applying for that job, or getting ready to share that big post on social media — you are stepping outside your comfort zone. The feeling of fear is actually a normal human physiological reaction to stepping outside your comfort zone.
Sadly, because so many have never been taught the science of confidence strategies and the confidence formula, here is where many people give up because they think that because they feel fear, it’s a sign that they are not “confident enough” to make it happen. They have been given the wrong equation.
The difference between successful people who take bold action to realize their goals and those who don’t, is that successful people feel the fear and push forward to do it anyway. This is called courage. When you practice courage this is what develops confidence. It’s that confidence which will then allow that new thing you did to start to feel like something that’s second nature to you, and that confidence multiplies your success. While this is important, what I especially love is teaching the authentic confidence formula, science and strategies that actually help so many others translate the knowledge and research into action!
Amazing! That’s so inspiring. On that note, would you be able to share a little bit more about the science of confidence? Especially the Default Mode Network you talk about? What you have to say about that is so inspiring as well, and we think that our audience would really love to hear about that.
Thank you for asking that question! I’m so glad that you’ve been to so many of my different programs and have heard me speak about this because most people have never heard of the Default Mode Network and I’m so thrilled that you asked about it. The science of confidence actually starts with the science of understanding self-doubt. When we understand the science, we actually become empowered and equipped to work with our brain instead of against it.
One of the reasons why we feel fear when we step outside our comfort zone is actually because of a very outdated part of our brain known as the Default Mode Network (DMN). This is a co-activated set of brain regions that has very outdated programming that thinks it’s keeping us safe by keeping us small (and stuck in our comfort zone). If someone is worrying about how they are going to fail at that big project they have not started, ruminating on something that didn’t go well in a presentation or criticizing themselves about how they won’t fit in during an important social event with new people, they can often thank their DMN.
Just like the heart has the responsibility of pumping blood, and the lungs have the responsibility for breathing oxygen, the DMN has the responsibility of generating this Automatic Negative Chatter. The science of confidence starts with understanding that what we often believe is negative “SELF talk” is actually not you at all. It is actually Automatic Negative Chatter generated from the DMN part of the brain that has very outdated programming. This awareness is actually the foundation of many strategies I teach that help you build confidence and get your power back.
And it’s so amazing to see where you’ve reached now, and the amount of people that you have impacted through your conferences and events you speak at. In working with you, we see how hard you have to work for everything that you do, and it’s incredible to see the impact that you have been able to have. Moving onto the topic of life amid COVID-19, how do you manage to stay positive, and I know that you probably aren’t able to stay positive all the time, but what advice do you have for women during this time, because it is uncertain and things are really changing. How have you changed the way that you are thinking and perhaps developed a routine during times like these?
This is an uncommon answer to your question, but it’s very true and I want to share it. Positivity is actually a math problem. Everything we do in our day is either a plus or a minus as it relates to our energy, time and attention. I call it the Full Can Principle. Have you ever noticed that if you have a full, unopened can of soda or sparkling water and you try to squeeze that can, it’s almost impossible to actually crush it because of how it’s filled up inside? On the other hand, if you take an empty can, it’s super easy to crush. People operate the same way. What influences whether or not you cave under pressure has to do with how much you are filled up inside. So if someone is feeling down, negative, tired, drained and unmotivated, myself included, that often means that “your can is empty.”
Even if you don’t feel like it, these emotions are a message that you need to take conscious action to fill yourself up. The natural state of a healthy mind is actually positivity, hope and optimism. When we get depleted, overwhelmed, and stressed out our abilities to be and feel positive start to lessen. Especially now, I recommend that each person creates a restoration list and a daily routine that involves taking time to fill yourself up. For example, my list includes working out and running with my dogs, making myself a healthy breakfast, spending time doing prayer and meditation, and making myself a beautiful cup of tea before I start work! These are not luxuries, during times of increased stress, these are necessities! I try not to actually do my work until I have completed those other items on my list.
It feels counter intuitive, but if I don’t add those positive restore items into my day, over time, I feel more and more empty and depleted and I get cranky, I get worried and negative. Positivity really is a math problem. You have to spend time adding in things that restore and fill yourselves up to counteract all the negative drains on our energy and time, and this equipped us to be and feel more positive and show up to best serve others.
That’s such great advice. Thank you so much for sharing that. To bring positivity, hope and optimism to youth, it’s been exciting to work together with you to offer Virtual Youth Summits during this time. Could you tell us a bit more about that initiative and how you’re supporting youth during this time?
Absolutely, so here’s what’s interesting — I’m a speaker, and a coach and an author, and most of my work, typically is live at events and speaking for organizations. In this time of cancelled events, it was important to pivot and figure out how to serve differently. Because in this time of distance learning, students have never felt more disconnected. So many things have been cancelled — after-school activities, their in-class activities, their sports and even their summer camps.
Students are really seeking an opportunity to connect and find meaning and hope in some really challenging situations. In order to help this underserved population, I am so honoured to team up with both of you, and the award-winning, amazing UN Youth Champion and role model from High School Musical, Monique Coleman, to start offering these interactive, immersive summits that are virtually held online so students can join from the convenience and safety of their home. Even though it is a virtual event it is still a live event!
We’ve had so much positive feedback. In fact, one principal that hosted one of our Virtual Summits for her school had such an incredibly overwhelming positive response of parents emailing and calling and thanking her for the positive impact it had on their teens, that she actually hosted a second one just two weeks later. We are finding that students are almost desperate for this opportunity to think about the future and build hope and optimism for the future. In fact, one of my favourite quotes that one student said was, “This made my whole life!” and she posted it in the chat with tons of tear emojis.
It’s been so successful that we’re actually filling spots for a global tour right now — that’s the beauty of virtual events, we’re not limited to just one location. So we’re doing a global event tour and we are accepting nominations from different schools and organizations to host their own event. So we actually showcase students from the school or organization right alongside our celebrity role models and we do really cool experiential exercises that bring students together.
And it’s not only helped the students, but it has really uplifted me too. These kids are very resilient. And shout out to you too! They love you as speakers and I’m thrilled that we’ve created this together, it is awesome!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! We hope you were as inspired by Julie’s amazing insights and words as we are. You can find out more about Julie’s work by visiting @juliemariecarrier across social media and @juliecarrier on Twitter, and find out more about our Virtual Youth Summits initiative with her, by visiting virtualyouthsummits.com!