I am SO excited to finally share this interview I did with Veronika Abrams.
Veronika is a Confidence Coach and recently launched her Confidence Academy to help you create a life that supports your authentic expression.
I first discovered Veronika on Instagram and reached out for something completely different than doing an interview.
But, the stars were aligned, and doing an interview kind of just fell into place.
It was such a fun call, and I really enjoyed speaking with Veronika about all things confidence – PLUS, I asked Veronika about what you can do TODAY to start cultivating confidence in your life, and the answer is simpler than you might think.
You can consume this interview in whatever way you most enjoy content:
- Watch the video down below
- Download the audio file (just click to download, no subscription required!)
- Scroll down to get the blog version
Let’s dive in!
Melissa: Do you want to start by telling me a little bit about how you got to where you are now?
Veronika: I was actually a really shy kid – very introverted, quiet – so it’s kind of funny that I’m here now, but it also makes me realise that I think the thing that you struggle with the most is the thing that you’re meant to teach. And that’s because you have the greatest journey to get to the other side of it. So, you know, the fact that I was a shy kid and introverted, and now that I’m teaching on confidence and how to achieve your goals and how to push past the comfort zone – it’s because that’s what I had to face myself. It wasn’t something I thought was inherent to who I was in my personality, but it didn’t keep me from pushing past those milestones in my life, and that’s why I think I’m teaching on this, to be quite honest, which gives me hope for anybody who’s really in a difficult place. I feel like if you’re struggling with finances, then you are meant to teach on finances.
On the other side of your struggle, you’re the one who’s sharing and teaching others, and really pulling others to the other side, too.
Melissa: I think I’ve gone through a similar journey myself, from being really shy and having social anxiety, and getting to where I am now, where I’m sort of like, “let’s be on Instagram, let’s be out in front of the camera.”
Was there a moment, or a series of moments, where you realised, “I don’t have to be shy, I can be something else” and what did that look like when you were deciding to do something different?
Veronika: I think there were a few key moments, even just as a kid, you know, taking a step to try out for the play, and getting a speaking part, and being completely terrified, but then feeling so proud of myself on the other side of that, and doing well, and getting accolades. Those are the kind of moments where I feel if we can actually do that and take that initial step out of our comfort zone, we could really have a chance to see another side of us that we don’t explore too often.
The more you do that, and you see this different identity that you’re not familiar with, but you love and it speaks to a certain part of your soul that really wants to be seen – the more you do that and step out into that, the more life you give it, the more voice you give it.
So it was just those key moments.
I ended up just out of need, because I needed to get a job, I got a sales position at 17 at Gap, and I was terrified to speak to people. But within only a couple of months, I was able to go up to people and introduce myself, and ask if they needed help. It’s amazing how within that framework of, “you’ve got your training, and in order to keep your job you have to do this,” I was able to get to that place where I was comfortable talking to people. It took me 17 years to get to that, but it also goes to show within the proper environment, you can make massive progress in that short amount of time, because you’ve got that kick in the butt.
It’s like, two feet and a heartbeat, you’ve gotta get it done.
Which is why I have a huge appreciation for coaching, because in a short amount of time within the right framework, you can completely 180 play for a completely different aspect of who you are in your identity that you just dismissed for so long.
It’s the “I am not this, I am not that,” and you kind of accept certain things, but within an extraordinary circumstance, you’re able to uncover extraordinary aspects of who you are.
Melissa: I definitely agree. And I think putting yourself in a new environment really helps you see what else you’re capable of, and you get that new feedback that you can incorporate into your belief system.
(Veronika: sink or swim!)
So, I’m going to ask you how you define confidence now, if there was a 10 second elevator pitch version of it, and then how your views on confidence are different from when you were a kid, and when you saw people that you thought were confident, and what were you thinking of them?
Veronika: If you look at other synonyms of confidence, there’s self-esteem, there’s self-belief, and faith in yourself. So that’s how I would define confidence: it’s having faith in yourself, belief in yourself. I think how I viewed, oftentimes, confidence, is you see someone who’s confident, and you think, “I need to wait until I’m confident, and then I’ll do.” But that’s not how it works.
What I really teach, and stress – there’s a couple things – messy action, which is what my mentor, Rachel Bell, says. The quote that I grew up with, there’s a preacher, Joyce Meyer, who said, “Do it afraid.”
So, you don’t wait until you’re confident and then do, you do and the product is confidence. And I think you’re constantly pushing the frontier. So the things that I’m confident in now, I wasn’t confident in three months ago, a year ago, three years ago. But now I’m facing things that I am not confident in, in the actual task, but I have a history of follow-through, so I have faith in myself. So there’s an aspect of confidence in myself, even though I might not be confident in the task, and that’s how you keep pushing the frontier.
So, confidence is having faith in yourself.
How do you develop faith and belief in yourself? You have a history of follow-through. And keeping promises to yourself. That’s how you develop faith in yourself.
What that needs to start with is, it’s okay to not be confident right now. It’s okay that you don’t feel like you belong. That’s where people feel like that identity isn’t home for them, but you do, and then you will be confident. You don’t just wait until you’re confident and then do.
Melissa: Right, because you can’t really know that you’ll be good at something, or become good at something, unless you start doing it, and practice and practice.
Veronika: Imposter syndrome! That’s what I was thinking of. They’ll feel imposter syndrome and even operate within a role for a while – it takes time to feel at home within an identity. You need to live in a space before you feel it. You need to be in there and acquire it externally, before you actually feel at home.
Melissa: Is there something now that you are doing, or practicing, or thinking about trying that you’re a little scared to try, but also kind of excited to see what happens?
Veronika: Right now I’m launching my Confidence Academy, and that is something that I’ve put so much heart and soul into, but this a new framework, and there’s so much hope that I have in it. I’ve coached people on different aspects, but I’ve never had such a concentrated course and curriculum, so that is something right now, that I’ve put my heart and soul into that I’m launching. Am I scared? I am, because I’ve got so much heart in it. I think, oftentimes, if you don’t have skin in the game, you’re not going to be afraid, but you’ve got hope. And if you have hope on the line, you’ll be afraid, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do it.
So that’s something right now that I’m launching, and it’s new for me. It’s my baby, and it means a lot to me, and I really want it to impact people. And that comes with responsibility too – having 12 women for three months – I’ve not had that kind of concentrated program before.
That, for me, is something that I’m massively proud of, but also, I am scared. It matters a lot to me. But, I’m going to do it anyway.
And (*pause for effect*), I’m also moving to California, and I don’t even have all my ducks in a row, but I’m saying it, I’m planning it. I’m figuring out how to sublet my apartment, I’m renewing my passport – doing the ten-year, not the five-year – I’m pretty much already gone.
Am I scared, am I afraid? When I look at the list of things I have to do to get it done – is it gonna work, is it not? There’s all these things, but I’m just jumping in. So, that’s a big thing, too, to up and move my life, but I have so much belief that that’s where I should be, and that’s where I’m gonna see the most growth for myself, so I can pour into others. I don’t want to stagnate, so that’s a big thing that’s happening right now.
Melissa: That is so exciting! Do you have a timeline for that?
Veronika: By the end of the year.
Melissa: So, by the end of the year, you’ll be in California.
Veronika: I’m basically whittling down all my things, so I can have two suitcases, buy my ticket, and go.
Melissa: That’s amazing. I actually know someone else who is moving to California, too, so I think it’s kind of like people are just called to California, and everyone is going now.
Veronika: It’s like the mecca of transformation; it’s like the new “finding yourself” in California.
Melissa: The idea of “faking it ‘til you make it” – do you think it’s something you have to do to build confidence, or it’s kind of a misguided concept?
Veronika: I think people like to play with words and overcomplicate things. There’s this whole “Don’t fake it until you make it, face it until you make it!” They’re saying the same thing. You do want to be present, and use your intuition to really understand how you’re feeling in the moment, and not just willy-nilly go about things. It’s okay to face your fears, it’s okay to break them down, and also just do it, as well.
I think it’s just overcomplicating a thing. You gotta just go do it.
You can keep talking about it, you can keep writing posts, you can keep putting memes together, but yeah, you do need to step into that space. You need to face it. And fake it? Sure. There’s so many things where I had to step out way before I fully embodied that identity, but I took up space in that identity.
I started a business in design and renovations, and I learned along the way. I took whatever knowledge I had and I did my very best, but then as I became more at home and present in that space, I was able to learn more and really fully embody that.
Is there an aspect of faking it? Sure, yes there is, and facing it, absolutely. When I say, “be present in the moment,” what I mean by that is, if you are in that space and you make a mistake, you want to be able to look at that and readjust and learn. You don’t want to be hitting the same wall. You do step out, but be present, recalibrate if necessary, try a different approach. You don’t have to change the goal, but might have to change the approach.
Be present, and definitely face it, and you might have to fake it, too, and that’s okay.
Melissa: Just don’t be a completely fake version of yourself, just do the thing until you figure out how to do it.
Veronika: There’s an authentic way to do something – your version of something – but even with that, you learn the ropes. Sometimes you do a version that you’ve seen before you learn what your own version is.
For example, when I went into general contracting and design, I thought I had to look like a lot of these guys that were in that space. There were designers, but general contractors, which was more of the nitty gritty that I was involved in – I thought I had to look like the guys with the polo shirt and the logo…by the end of it, now with the design business that I also have, I show up with jewellery, hair done, nails done – this is my flavour, but sometimes I did act out in a version that I saw, and then over time, I got to learn what my honest, authentic expression was within that space.
Sometimes you don’t see yourself, or somebody really represent you, and oftentimes this happens in underrepresented minorities. How do you step out in there without seeing people that represent where you are?
You go out and you do your very best. Don’t overanalyse it, just go and do. And if it doesn’t work, or if it doesn’t feel authentic, be in tune with your feelings and emotions, and readjust.
But sometimes you do have to go out and be a version that looks more like somebody else’s, but don’t stay in that. Definitely come to a place where you can express your authentic version of that.
Melissa: Was there a time in your life where you felt like you didn’t really know who you were yet, or what you loved, or what you wanted to do?
Veronika: Yeah, there was, a few years back. This is what really kickstarted me into coaching. I hit a rock bottom. Within six weeks, my mother moved away, I ended a relationship with someone I thought I’d marry, and my best friend moved away. My whole friend group was gone. And, I turned 30. It was this moment where I realised I had lived my life mostly for everyone else. Even my plans, partners – I had lost myself in the mix. I hit that place, and I was like, now that everything is gone – and now I see the beauty of that. It’s kind of great to be able to start from ground zero. There was nothing distracting me from the fact that nothing’s fucking working. Just overhaul, start over. Now I have an appreciation for that and I see that the clients that are actually going through those times are the ones that see the best results, because they’re willing to just scrap it.
Yeah, that was a time where I was like, “Who is Veronika? And by the way, I hate my own company right now – being alone.”
It was a super hard time in my life. I hit probably the darkest depression of my life, which I can definitely say it was. I did a lot of running away and distracting myself for a time, before I finally came around and said, “Okay, you gotta put your Big Girl pants on and figure this out!” So, that’s what I did, and I did start grassroots, and that’s where the principles within my program really came from.
It’s not complicated in what you need to do, it’s that you need to do it. These simple principles really arose from that time in my life where I had to rediscover my identity apart from who I was to others.
It was the worst time in my life, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
Melissa: A few years ago, I went on a solo trip around Europe, and it was not a dark time, but it was the first time I had ever really been alone. It was the first time in my life that I didn’t have to compromise, or think about what other people wanted to do. It was kind of this refreshing time where I could focus on, what do I like? When I wake up in the morning, what do I want to do? So I look back on that time in a similar way, and I would say that’s when I really first started getting to know myself. And I think my confidence was also related to getting to know myself
Veronika: It’s hard to have self-love and self-faith when you’re not familiar with who you are.
Melissa: Yeah, I think there’s definitely an aspect of, first, who am I, and do I know who that is, and do I love that version of myself? And then, do I trust myself and have faith in myself?
What is something you did for yourself, or what’s a practice, or an activity that you did during that time in your life that really helped you take steps forward?
Veronika: I was talking about keeping promises to yourself and learning how to follow through, and that’s how you build faith in yourself and build confidence. So, what I started doing, just because my health was so poor – I had put on 20, 25lbs – I started with fitness.
It wasn’t about losing the weight. It was about, “I’m gonna make a promise and follow through.” And, especially with depression, I had the intention everyday – I didn’t get there everyday – but little by little. I forgave myself a ton.
There’s a need for compassion, but also being honest with yourself and saying, “I’ve got to follow through.”
So, a couple things. I think that fitness is a great place to start keeping promises to yourself, and even if we put the whole weight and health part of it on the backburner, ‘cus you’re gonna get the results, but this isn’t about those results, it’s about keeping a promise to yourself. So you’re gonna go, and do this as a confidence, promise keeping ritual. Focus on that first and foremost.
When you go about that task – if it’s the weight, you’re not gonna see the pounds – but if you go about the task, and the goal is, “I’m going to finish this, this is something I committed to,” by the end of it, you’ve accomplished a goal.
You can put that right in the bank – that’s the confidence bank that you’re putting it in.
The results for all the other stuff will come later, but I think fitness is a really great platform to start the promise keeping, confidence building process.
So, that’s what I did, and because I didn’t have a lot of motivation to get out, and I was struggling with depression, I just put my gym clothes – that fit a little tighter now – and I hung a right outside my door, and I hit the stairwell of my apartment, and I started running that. I committed to doing ten sets, and that’s about 1,000 – I didn’t realise. It was ten sets of 100 stairs up and down, so 1,000 up, 1,000 down.
It took me, like, two hours, because I was huffing and puffing, so to do that ten times…but, then, next day, I was like, “Let’s do this again.” So, little by little, and my goal was to do it everyday. And the reason I do it everyday, and I have a “no days off” policy for that, is because it’s not about the fitness, it’s about the promise keeping. That became my church, in a sense.
My background is in bio, and even from a biological level, cardio is a great way to boost your serotonin, which is one of those happy neurotransmitters. When you accomplish a task, you get a hit of dopamine. So, from a chemical level and a mental level, it’s such a good space to start that confidence building.
I think that’s a really great place for people to start that has so many benefits. And you don’t need to do stairs, ten sets of 100, it could be, “I’m going to commit to 15 minutes everyday.” It’s not about the length of time, it’s about the commitment, and doing it daily, so that you can create that neural path in your head, and that track record, and that bank of confidence.”
Melissa: And by the time you get to something bigger – by the time you get to the point where you’re starting a business, you know that you do what you say you’re going to do.
Veronika: You’ve created that history, exactly.
Melissa: 1,000 – that’s really awesome! So, thinking back to when you were little, what is something that you think you really needed to hear? If you could go back and tell that to yourself now, what would you say?
Veronika: That you can do it. To have more accountability, too. It would have been great to have a little bit more accountability, and pushing me into that space when I was little. But, hearing that, “You can do it, and your version of ‘it’ is the right version. You think you have look like somebody else, you think you have to be popular like so-and-so or whoever’s on TV, but you can do it, and your version of it is perfect.”
Melissa: I love that. Is there something that you wish you could hear today?
Veronika: The things, really, right now that warm my heart and keep me going, because I also hit times where it’s hard to be motivated – I have those times, too. I’m constantly pushing that frontier for myself, and I do get discouraged, but right now, the things I love to hear are other people’s success.
You know when clients reach out, and people reach out and comment on posts or something, like, “OMG this just made my day”. And then I’m like, “OMG, this just made my day, too!” So that makes me feel really, really good, and those are the things that I’m super grateful for right now and they mean the world to me right now, and probably will forever – making a difference and making an impact. Those are the things that warm my heart and keep my fire lit, for sure.
I am human, and I am so motivated to help others, but hearing it from somebody, and from clients – I keep those messages actually, even comments on my posts and emails from clients and other people that I connect with. I keep those because you need that encouragement during the hard times. I’m super grateful for that and those mean the absolute world to me.
Melissa: Do you have a morning or nightly ritual? Maybe you don’t call it a ritual, maybe it’s just something you happen to do every morning. Is there some sort of thing that you do every morning or night that just really keeps you grounded, or sets you up for the day, or anything like that?
Veronika: So I do work out everyday, or movement everyday. Here, I’m out of town, so I did a little yoga flow this morning, so I think that is really important. But followed by that, I’ve integrated a meditation practice. I change it up. I do different kinds. What really works for me is changing it up, so sometimes it could be a mantra, sometimes it could be a guided meditation, sometimes it could just be breathing. I do about 10-15 minutes of meditation, and I have a gratitude practice and journaling I do almost everyday. I’ve started a new thing, gratitude POET – people, opportunities, experiences, things – so I write down “POET”, circle one, and it helps kickstart that.
Something I’ve developed personally, and that I’ve integrated into my program, is a personalised manifesto. That’s a time where I get to really tell my limitless story to myself, and all those dreams and goals that I have, are encompassed within this manifesto. That’s something I read to myself daily.
So, fitness, gratitude, reading my manifesto, and starting my day that way to keep my on track. Sometimes I have to revisit those things throughout the day. I have such a close place in my heart for my ritual. It has really kept me grounded.
Melissa: Is there a typical day for you, or what would your ideal day look like?
Veronika: I normally wake up between 6:30am and 7:30am. I don’t set up an alarm, I let my biological clock work. (Melissa: *shocked* And you just wake up at that time naturally??). I start with my meditation, then I have my coffee and do my journaling as I’m having my coffee, then get suited up and do my workout. So, that’s how I start my day, and then typically before 12, I try to get some errands done, and things like that. Between 12:00-3:00pm, it’s work, between my coaching, to my business, and sometimes in the evenings I’ll have some business appointments, and then I try to wrap things up. By 10:00pm I’m in bed.
Melissa: Same with me, I’m like, 9:30pm, it’s getting late!
Veronika: I do get tired by 9:30pm, my party days are gone.
Melissa: Have you done any of those personality tests, like the Enneagram, or Meyers Briggs, or…?
Veronika: I have. I’m an introvert. I think it was INTF, and an “Advocate” – I can actually look it up really quickly.
Melissa: I think I’m INFP and I’m the “Mediator”. We’re similar, we’re one letter off.
Veronika: Introverts unite! Alone and at home. Virtual high five!
Melissa: I recently discovered Human Design, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that one, but it combines all these different things, and then it tells you what your strategy is and how you should make decisions. So, when you said that you work 12-3, I was like, “That sounds great!”
So, I’m a Projector, and Projectors in Human Design, they’re just not supposed to work that long. They kind of max out at a few hours, and then they have to go nap or something.
Veronika: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Melissa: I feel like you might be a Projector, too.
Veronika: Yeah, I can do spurts. There’s a prime time after that. I can maybe do some lighter, maybe creative, not having a deadline kind of stuff in the evening, but yeah, it sounds familiar.
Melissa: Do you want to describe your program a little bit? Because I’m hopefully gonna post this soon (side note: check!), so if you still have spots left in your program, maybe people want to hear about that.
Veronika: Right now, I’m gonna be launching to the waitlist this coming week, so the waitlist will have access in the coming week to interview for enrolment. I will be then opening it up to everybody else after that. There’s only 12 spots.
The program is going to be weekly 1:1 coaching, and then full access to the curriculum, so the first month, we go into very foundational concepts and principles. We start with forgiveness – I kind of doubted for a time, and put off putting that into the program, and then I got a hard dose of reality, like, “Veronika, you gotta talk about forgiveness, you can’t launch into a new life with things holding you back.” There’s just no way you can. So we go into forgiveness, and that’s two-pronged – it’s forgiving others, but it’s also forgiving yourself. Oftentimes there are things that keep us back out of shame, in decisions we’ve made or the ways that we failed, and that shame is such a poor motivator for change. It really, really does hold you back.
So forgiving others, forgiving yourself, so you can really start in a clear mindset on your transformation journey.
Then we go into intrinsic value, core values, and core beliefs, so really getting that alignment in.
In order to live an authentic, aligned life, there are a couple things that need to fall into place. I think the biggest disconnect in people’s lives, and why they don’t see the life of their dreams manifest in reality is they have certain values, but then their beliefs are not aligned with their values.
So, you value love; love is really important to you; you want that love represented in your life. But then your core belief is that you are not worthy of love. You see where that disconnect is?
If you can solve the disconnect between beliefs and values, that’s when you can start really having those breakthroughs in your life.
In the second month, we start going into purpose, and also things like personality, and how all those things work together to cultivate a life full of purpose. I believe in multiple pillars of purpose in your life; it’s not just one things you’re doing, it’s something you’re experiencing within your career, your hobbies, your friends, your family – all of these kinds of things.
It’s trying to define what that purpose-filled life looks like for you, and we start getting into developing that personal manifesto, which can change over time – mine will change over time, yours will change over time – and that’s okay, because purpose is not a set thing. It’s a journey that you’re on right now, and that journey will evolve and change.
And then in the last month, it’s really about action. So, making sure that your environment is the right environment to cultivate that life that you want, and also how you very intentionally set up a plan to launch yourself into that purpose-filled life.
Alignment, purpose-filled life, and then action plan. That’s how we tackle everybody’s personalised goals. That’s why the journey is different for everybody, but when you’re talking about principles, you could take those principles and apply them to your life, and yours will be remarkable for you, and somebody else’s will be absolutely remarkable for them.
Melissa: Are there any favourite books you have, or favourite podcasts, if people wanted to start diving into this journey for themselves – what’s a good place to start for them?
Veronika: I really started my journey – I knew that I needed to have influencers in my life that were speaking to my higher potential – so I was listening to Tom Bilyeu, Ed Mylett, there’s quite a few. Elizabeth Gilbert, she talks about art and creation, she has a podcast series, as well.
(Head’s up! Affiliate links down below for the books. If you use these links to make a purchase, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you!)
And then also inspirational life stories that have a twist of humour to them – Tiffany Haddish, The Last Black Unicorn and Kevin Hart, You Can’t Make This Shit Up. Those are great stories. There are some times in there where there’s no way you can’t listen to that, and like, he’s in that situation, and he’s where he is now, and she’s where she’s at, well – I think I’m gonna be fine!
Sometimes you need to see somebody else’s hero story to be like, “Oh. Okay.” Those are really great books, as well, that I would highly, highly recommend if you want to be able to laugh and cry.
Melissa: Just like, out in public, laughing and crying. Is there anything else that you want to share, or any questions you wish that I had asked you?
Veronika: Anything else I’d like to share, is…I really believe an extraordinary life happens from making a lot of little choices in the right direction. The things that people ignore because they don’t seem extraordinary in and of themselves, but don’t neglect the tiny steps, the small goals. We focus on the big ones because they make us feel good, but the actual execution is really hard.
But there’s a lot of progress you can make from making small, incremental, consistent changes.
One thing compounded over time will get you so far, so don’t neglect the tiny habits, the small steps, the small goals.
Consistency over time is gonna get you so far – so much farther than waiting for perfect moments and perfect goals.
Want more Veronika and/or confidence in your life?
Check out Veronika’s website and learn more about the Confidence Academy (interviews take place September!): https://veronikaabrams.com/
Follow on Instagram: www.instagram.com/veronikaabrams