Conquering Imposter Syndrome and Self-doubt, with Nicole Mahoney

Episode 141:

With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for her dad’s car stereo shop, I got my start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester. I also began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, I headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester.

In 2009, I founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. I now host “Destination on the Left”, a highly successful tourism marketing podcast.

As a business owner, I know what it takes to be successful. I founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. I have the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I share a personal family story that has inspired me to never give up even when the going gets tough. I explain why using this advice is important to all professionals and how applying it can make you a better tourism marketing specialist.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why you should always go for it – just like Nicole’s daughter
  • Changing the “soundtrack” in your head to conquer self-doubt
  • How to avoid “imposter syndrome” in your quest to pursue your dreams
  • How to own your experiences as a unique individual
  • The power of stories and their impact on our successes

Believing in Yourself

What inspires you to keep moving forward, no matter the obstacle? For me, it’s the story of my daughter, Maeve’s perseverance and strength in the face of self-doubt.

With the goal of being selected as the commencement speaker at her high school graduation, Maeve saw the competition and was filled with self-doubt. Stricken with “imposter syndrome”, Maeve believed she was not good enough and that there would always be somebody better for the job. I quickly reminded her: “The only way to know for sure you won’t get picked is to not even try.”

Realizing she should aim for what she wanted, no matter the odds, Maeve took the leap and went for it. The result? She was selected as one of the two speakers at her commencement. From her success, tourism marketing professionals should always be reminded to aim high, go for it and never give up. You never know if you don’t try.

The Power of Stories

Maeve was inspired after being moved by the commencement speaker at her sister’s graduation. I continue to be inspired by what Maeve shared in her speech: a personal story about great adversity.

Maeve suffers from chronic lung disease, a condition that put her in the emergency room for eight weeks in 2002. Despite a seemingly impossible uphill climb, me, my husband and Maeve persisted, and Maeve was off of oxygen and medication without a transplant when she was five years old. Although she doesn’t remember much of it, Maeve was able to teach everyone the power of her own story and remind her parents of the power of theirs.

Stories like Maeve’s remind us of how different we are and how stories reach us differently. The one constant is this: we all have the power to see the good in stories, change the soundtrack in our heads and go for it. I hope that this episode and Maeve’s story will resonate with tourism marketing professionals just as much as they did for her.


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Episode Transcript