Dear member,

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost at the holiday season, which marks the end of the year. 2020 has truly been an unprecedented year and, unfortunately for most, not in a positive way: floods, record unemployment, riots, unparalleled wildfires and COVID-19. 

The holidays will be different this year due to the pandemic. Although families and friends will most likely be separated, there are still reasons to be grateful. Those of us in the telecommunications industry are a big part of this, which is why, in spite of everything that has happened, and will continue to happen in 2020, I feel blessed to be in our industry and especially to be involved with WWLF.  

The women on the WWLF Board are some of the most caring, intelligent and creative women I know.  We've been able to keep the WWLF community connected and educated even though we haven’t been in physical proximity. 

As we go forward into the holidays and the end of 2020, let’s all think of the things that we can be grateful for every day. In the words of Oprah Winfrey: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” 

I’m grateful for the connectivity that our industry provides us and for the creative ways the WWLF Board and members have kept us (and will continue to keep us) connected in these trying times.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

With gratitude,

Michelle Salisbury


How to sell your sizzle:
Part 2 - Overcoming ImpostorSyndrome

An interview with psychologist and high performance coach, Dr. Cristy Lopez

Impostor syndrome. Have you heard of it? Do you have it? If you do, you are definitely not alone.

Last month we talked about how to position yourself as the expert you are. This month, we’re talking about how to combat that little voice in your brain that says, “Ha! You think you’re an expert!”

It takes effort to quiet that voice, but it can be done. The work starts with understanding your brain.

Brain Basics

“Our brains have a negative bias,” explains Dr. Cristy Lopez, a psychologist, high performance coach, and founder of My Anxiety Fix. Lopez has appeared on the Dr. Phil show and serves as an aftercare psychologist for the show's guests. She’s also served as an aftercare psychologist for Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers. And she’s been featured on the List TV show as well as in publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, and Authority Magazine.

“Our brains also use a lot of inaccurate thinking,” she continues. “Knowing those two things about your brain should already help.”

This isn’t because our brains are jerks. “Our brain’s primary goal is not to make us happy, or to make us feel like we're awesome,” Lopez explains. “It's to make sure we survive. So it looks for anything negative or anything that could possibly be negative.”

Being overly sensitive to danger was an advantage early in our evolution because you’d take steps to protect yourself. We don’t have to worry about predator attacks anymore, but our brains haven’t evolved to this reality. So brains jump into fight-or-flight mode at non-life-threatening situations, like your boss calling you into her office. Or having to give a speech. Or putting yourself out there for a new job or promotion.

When you’re in that state of mind, you can't think clearly. “Blood moves from the prefrontal cortex—the part of your brain that thinks logically—and prepares your body to fight or flee,” explains Lopez. “So you lose your ability to reason and to recall information. You’re more impulsive.”

The first thing Lopez teaches her clients is how to get their thinking back to the prefrontal cortex. She advises practicing until it becomes automatic. This is because when the brain is in a fight-or-flight state, it’s easy to forget what to do.

The key is awareness of these triggering events. “Usually there will be a physiological sign first,” she says. “Think about how your body feels. Does my heart race? Does my face get flushed? Know your signs.”

Once you know your signs, use deep breathing to calm your body. It’s important to exhale for longer than you inhale for the breathing to work. Lopez recommends a specific technique, “Inhale for a count of 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8. And really whoosh out the exhale. It pushes your diaphragm against the vagus nerve,” she explains. “This activates the relaxation response of your parasympathetic nervous system.”

Breathing is the very first intervention for any triggering emotional state, like anxiety or imposter syndrome. In fact, Lopez explains, imposter syndrome is a form of anxiety. “It’s fear that people are going to conclude you're a fraud. That’s anxiety.”

Name, “blame”, and reclaim

So, you’ve done your breathing. Your prefrontal cortex is ready to be reasoned with. What next?

1. Name your feeling

“I’m feeling anxious.” “I’m feeling afraid.” “I’m feeling angry.”

Lopez says it’s important how you frame this. “Say ‘I am feeling afraid.’ Because if you say, ‘I am afraid’ that tells your brain you're afraid when, really, you are having a feeling.”

Then give yourself some self-compassion. “If your boss is coming toward you and is in a bad mood, it’s normal and natural to feel apprehension or other negative emotions,” Lopez says. “It’s reasonable to feel nervous about a big presentation. The problem is when our brains run amok with inaccurate thinking.”

2. “Blame” inaccurate thinking

Inaccurate thinking has internal and external causes. Internal causes are cognitive distortions. And three common types appear with impostor syndrome.

  • Emotional Reasoning “For example, if you’re feeling really overwhelmed your brain might tell you a problem can’t be solved. That’s not necessarily true,” Lopez says. “Or if you feel afraid, it doesn’t mean you are actually in danger.”

So remember, just because you feel something, doesn’t make it real.

  • Catastrophizing “This is the type of thinking that gets you from ‘I made a mistake’ to ‘I’m a total failure.’ Things can go badly and still not be a total disaster,” says Lopez.

So remember, it’s not the end of the world.

  • Mental Filter “We look for evidence to support our beliefs. If 100 things have happened and ONE of them supports what you think, you’ll disregard all 99 other things that disprove it,” Lopez says.

So remember, no cherry-picking your data.

External causes of inaccurate thinking aren’t self-generated. They come from “schemas”—stories we believe about ourselves, usually developed when we’re young.

“If you had a critical, perfectionist parent, you may have come up with a story that you’ll never be good enough,” explains Lopez. “Or maybe a teacher or relative said you have no talent for leading and you wrote that into your self-narrative.”

But not all schemas come from negative or cruel behavior. For example, several decades ago in an effort to boost the self-esteem of girls in school, girls were reminded by teachers and parents that they were smart. This was said with the best intentions. But newer research shows this kind of praise can backfire, leading girls to think of that quality as an identity. Since trying and failing threatens that identity, girls who were told this may hold themselves back. Now we know it’s better to praise effort.

“You can think about whose voice you hear when these schemas come into play,” Lopez says. These schemas are more complicated to figure out by yourself. If your impostor syndrome is crippling your ability to advance your career, Lopez advises working with a professional to help you.

You’ve calmed your brain, named your feeling, and where it’s coming from.

I’m feeling afraid I’ll lose my job because I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s normal to feel apprehensive about a new role. But losing my job is catastrophizing. That’s my aunt’s voice telling me I screw things up. Oh, that’s my ‘I’m not good enough” story.

Now comes the good part.

3. Reclaim your narrative

You need to replace your inaccurate thinking and schemas with accurate thinking. And you need a new story based on evidence rather than beliefs. It’s important to do this, because otherwise your brain will fill the void. And, as we’ve seen, it’ll probably pick something negative.

To reclaim your thinking and rewrite your schema, start by writing down a negative belief you have about yourself. Then write all the evidence you have in favor of this belief.

The hard part is making sure it’s actual evidence. For example, if you think you blew a speech because you didn’t know what you were talking about, do you have proof that’s true? Is there a recording or a review? Maybe you just felt fearful and thought you were not doing well.

“If that’s the case, you’re using emotional reasoning as evidence,” Lopez explains. “And emotional reasoning is not evidence.”

One person’s opinions are also not evidence. If your third grade teacher said you’d never be good at public speaking, that’s not evidence.

“Now, if several people have said the same thing, maybe it’s something you should work on,” Lopez says. You still need to consider the source. If the source is a group of toxic acquaintances but no one in your profession, that’s probably still not evidence.

Next start writing down evidence against this belief. (If you took actions from last month’s article How to sell your sizzle: Part 1-Practical Tips, you’ve done some of this work already!) 

This is my third job doing this particular type of work. I’m really good at it.

Lopez cautions that we tend to hold on to the negatives. “It's funny, people try to fight for their problem, their limitation, or their obstacle. They really try to discount their positive evidence,” she says. To counter this, it’s helpful to have someone—either a counselor or a mentor—who can challenge you.

Now that you have your evidence, you restructure your belief and write a new narrative for it. So, for example, with impostor syndrome, your original belief might be “I don’t know enough to be considered an expert” and your schema may be “I am not good enough.”

Your new story might look like this:

I know a lot about this field—even more than a lot of people. I’ve done X, Y, and Z (this is the evidence part that supports your new story). It’s ok that I’m not perfect and I learn from every mistake I make. I continue to get better and hone my skills.

This isn’t about creating some fantasy facade, which will keep you feeling like an imposter.

“This is authentic, and it will feel right because you’re making a true statement,” explains Lopez. “And because our brains are negatively biased, when we create an accurate thought, the side effect is it’s usually more positive. So just being accurate can be more positive.”

When you start changing your thinking like this, all these steps will take time. But in the future, and the more you practice it, the quicker the whole process becomes.

“You’ll be aware quicker, you’ll name the feeling quicker, you’ll replace the original ‘I don't know what I'm doing’ with, ‘Hey, you know what? I do know.’  It will get really fast and eventually you won’t even be aware of it anymore,” says Lopez.

You can also keep adding to your statement. Each successive time you do the exercise, it will take less and less time.

“You can use this same strategy for anything,” says Lopez. “It works for any limiting belief.”

To learn more from Dr. Cristy Lopez, check out her guide 3 Easy Ways to Reduce Anxiety in 10 Minutes or Less and her website Or follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Kristen Stelzer is a B2B technology and telecom writer and content strategist. She specializes in articles, white papers, case studies, and proposals. And she has a special interest in helping women and women-owned businesses. She can be reached at Kristen Stelzer Content & Copywriting.

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become that Way 

by Brendon Buchard

Book Review by Amanda Cahill

Do ever notice people around you who are excelling as top performers and wonder how they're doing it? Perhaps you’ve seen someone progress through their career quickly or know someone who always seems on top of their game.

Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits gives you the framework required for high performance and shows you practices to develop on your journey to becoming more extraordinary in life.

With over twenty years of research and interviews with high performers, Brendon’s unique access and insight from these high performers allowed him to deconstruct the exact behaviors (habits) that set them apart from their peers.

The Six High Performance Habits that he presents include:

1. Seek clarity on who you want to be, how you want to interact with others and what will bring meaning into your life.

2. Generate energy so you can sustain focus, efforts and well-being. To stay on your A game, you’ll need to care actively for your mental stamina, physical energy and positive emotions.

3. Raise the necessity of your level of performance. This means actively tapping into the reasons you must perform well, based on a mix of your internal standards (e.g., your identity, beliefs, values, or expectations for excellence) and external demands (e.g., social obligations, competition, public commitments).

4. Increase productivity in your primary field of interest. Specially, you’ll need to focus on “prolific quality output” (PQO) in the area in which you want to be known and to drive impact. You’ll also have to minimize distractions (or opportunities) that steal your attention from creating PQO.

5. Develop influence with those around you so you can get them to believe in and support your efforts and ambitions. Without a positive support network, major achievements over the long haul are all but impossible.

6. Demonstrate courage by expressing your ideas, taking bold action and standing up for yourself and others even in the face of fear, uncertainty or changing conditions.

High performers are not born extraordinary; they grow through steady and persistent practice that involves a conscious attempt to master certain habits.

This book is not only packed with practical tips to achieve high performance, it is also backed up with science as to why this works and why you should incorporate them into your own life. I cannot recommend this book enough if you’re wanting to get more done, lead others better, dramatically increase joy and confidence or develop skills faster than you ever have before.

These habits will make you extraordinary. Enjoy!

WWLF Executive Leadership Team
Election Information

Nominate someone (or yourself) for a leadership role!

Candidate applications for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer are currently being received by the WWLF Nominating Committee. 

Those interested in serving in leadership with WWLF must meet certain criteria. Positions will be elected by vote and winning candidates will be installed in January 2021.

Nominations will be accepted November 2 – November 16. Voting will take place between November 23 – December 13. 

You must be an active member in order to nominate and to cast your vote!

Not a member? Or has your membership lapsed? Activate your membership here!

For more information about qualifications for nominations, please contact Carolyn Hardwick at

In case you missed it:

Developing People on Your Team:
Experience, Expertise, Integrity

Recap by Lynn Whitcher

Back in August, WWLF had the pleasure of hosting a webinar on team development presented by Ed Roach, Vice President of Regulatory Compliance and Associate General Counsel, and Matt Kohl, Director of Business Intelligence, both with SBA Communications Corporation.

Key takeaways include:

    1.   Start your candidate search by looking at an internal pool of candidates. If you do not have a good pool, this may be a sign the company needs to focus on mentoring, training, and retention.

    2.   Employees must take personal ownership of developing your talents. If a good opportunity arises for the employee outside the company, the best solution may be for the employee to leave. It is often hard to come to terms with this, but we should not hold employees back from professional growth opportunities. Perhaps one day, there will be an opportunity for the high performer to return, bringing with them the benefit of their new skillset.

    3.       LinkedIn is a great place to mine for external candidates.

    4.       Do not fill positions quickly. Do not settle. There is a good candidate out there and it is worth investing the time until you find the right person.

    5.       Hire people who are competent – not people you like.

    6.       Hire candidates with diverse backgrounds. Companies that are more diverse are 33% more likely to financially outperform their less diverse counterparts. (See, e.g., McKinsey & Company, Delivery through Diversity, January 2018). Having diverse teams means they can drive towards better, faster solutions.

    7.       Create an environment where dissenting voices are encouraged. Group think prevents the organization from getting to the best possible outcome.

    8.       Conduct objective, blind testing to confirm the candidate has the requisite skillset (and reduce the chance for hidden bias). Skills matter more than impressive degrees.

    9.       Do not allow candidates to skip any steps – no exceptions!

    10.   Have a defined interview process, involve the team, and make sure all interviewers have an opportunity to provide feedback on the candidate.

    A recording of this event is available here.

    Many thanks to our event sponsor, SBA Communications Corporation, who made this programming possible.

    Upcoming Events

    Webinar: Preparing for 2021 – The Year of Strength, Learnings, and Moving On!  

    Thursday, November 12
    1:00PM EST  |  Noon CST  |  10:00AM PST

    Were there times this year you weren’t sure if you were going to make it through?  

    Have the people you live with and love the most during your time of quarantine become even closer, or would you like to put a for sale sign up hoping someone will take them off your hands?! 

    Are you ready to take your lessons learned, the strength you’ve realized and use 2020 as your eyesight for Insight for propelling you into a great, new year? 

    If so, save your seat to hear global women’s leadership and communication speaker and published author, Barbara Teicher, CSP, as she connects with WWLF to move forward and prepare to experience 2021 - The Year of Strength, Learnings and Moving On!

    Save my Seat!

    Monthly Networking Event:
    Motivation and Mugs

    (1st Monday of every month)

    Our next event is Monday, December 7 from 10-10:45 am EST

    Although times are getting somewhat back to normal, we're still not quite there yet. So let’s come together and connect while enjoying our morning ritual of coffee, tea, lemon water or whatever is your choice of drink.  

    During this Monday Motivation and Mugs, each attendee will have one minute to introduce themselves and talk about what they are looking for/needing during these times (job opportunities, connections, friendly support, etc.).   

    Registration closes the Friday before the event. You'll receive a zoom link before the event.

    Register for the December 7 event here!

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    WWLF is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are welcome in all aspects of our organization. WWLF values the knowledge and perspectives that our members bring to our organization from their diverse backgrounds. While all members are welcome to participate in both regional and national events, WWLF remains committed to the design and delivery of content to support the development of women in the wireless communications industry.

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