How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome on Video

Are you throwing these away?

Then stop. These are really valuable to you.

It took a man named Victor Borge to stop me from throwing away mine.

Victor Borge, originally from Denmark, was a classical pianist.  

He was also very funny. They called him the Clown Prince of Denmark. 

He starred in movies with Frank Sinatra. He had his own TV show on NBC.

At the end of his 7-decade career, I was in the first decade of my career and we got to work together very briefly.

He was to be playing this beautiful black Steinway grand piano and I was to be filming him doing it. I was setting up all the lights. I was trying my hardest to make a name in the TV industry.

He said to me, “my boy, can I see the magic you are creating with your lighting?” Gulp! I set up a screen so he could see the shot I was creating.

“My boy,” he paused, “this is w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l. You have a gift.”

Phew! I responded with how I always responded. “Nah, anyone could do this.” 

I went to walk away and his hand went on my arm and pulled me up. He spoke.

“Have you ever had an occasion where you wanted to buy someone a gift, and this person was special to you, so you spent a lot of time choosing the gift because you wanted it to mean something special to the person.  You wrapped it, just so. You waited and waited, and you chose the right moment to give it. The moment had to be just right?”  

Not sure what this was about or my part in it, that he still had his hand on my arm suggested I answer earnestly, if not intelligently. “I think so?”

Victor Borge eloquently continued, “What if they opened it, and just said that’s nice, and pushed it to the side. You’d feel very rejected, right?”

The lively conversationalist in me came back with, “I think so?”

Now he got to the point. “When I am on stage and the audience applauds, this is a gift of gratitude they are giving me, and I graciously accept it.” 

“My boy…” 

I felt his grasp on my arm tighten so I paid attention.

“I just gave you my gift, a compliment for your work, and you crumpled it up, right under my nose, and threw it away by saying, ‘oh it’s nothing.’ My boy, you must learn to accept the gift of a compliment. What you have just told me is that I am a bad judge of character, that I don’t know something of quality when I see it. It’s not what you intended to say, but it’s exactly what you did say.”

It took me a while to understand this. 

I didn’t accept compliments, because I didn’t believe in myself.

Because I didn’t believe in myself I played small for so long.

I’ve changed.

If you do not have video confidence, if you struggle with the Impostor Syndrome, I think this is the very first step to take on your road to becoming utterly compelling on video.

 

BONUS 1 How to Accept A Compliment

Simply stop, face the person, look them in the eye, smile and say, “Thank you, you’ve made my day.” 

 

BONUS 2 Give Compliments Too!

Authentic compliments lift people and give them wings. 

A compliment won’t pay the rent but it makes others feel ten foot tall. 

There are very few things in the world where you can expend such little effort to get a huge effect.

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