Confidence is sometimes viewed as something you either have or you don’t- but I think of it differently. I believe that you can grow confidence by accepting your flaws and owning your strengths. After that, it takes practice.
“Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it.” -Amy Cuddy
Over the years, confidence is something I’ve struggled with off and on. Right around the time I turned thirty last year a switch flipped and I suddenly had natural confidence. Either that, or I finally decided to let all of my insecurities go and stop wasting my energy worrying.
Since then, I’ve realized in several occasions how much my confidence has improved- in my career, as a mom, in my marriage and overall in life.
I had the opportunity to present last week to all senior leadership in my company. It was an amazing opportunity to share a project my team and I spent ten months working on. We practiced several times in the weeks leading up to the day and at some point we just had to own it.
As a Mom, I’ve been faking it since day one. But the amazing thing about motherhood is how strong your instincts can be. Once I learned to follow them, I no longer worried about what others thought and knew that at the end of the day, I was doing my very best and intend to do what’s right for my family and that’s all that matters.
In my opinion- being uncomfortable helps you grow confidence.
While I was in Washington DC earlier this month, I decided to try a local yoga studio. I stumbled upon an adorable studio with a cool local community, where everyone knew each other and hung out quietly in the lobby before class. I walked in and silently found my way around as we waited for the class before me to end. When it was time, I grabbed my mat and settled in for a great class.
After class was finished, I text my friend and she responded with “you’re so brave” and when I thought about, I realized she was right. But over the past several years I’ve put myself out there so many times that it’s now a habit. Coupled with the fact that I’ve learned to be unabashedly myself, I can say with confidence that these two things helped me grow to where I am at today.
Over the past few weeks this TED talk has come up for me three times. The first time was at a women’s group I am in at work, where we talked about having presence. The second occasion was when it was shared my by team’s mentor before my presentation last week. And finally, my favorite fitness instructor brought it up again to me over the weekend.
The universe has a way of knocking you upside the head with what you need to hear and I heard it loud and clear.
I had a moment of clarity over the weekend when I realized just how far I’ve come in the last three years. I’ve improved personally and professionally, finally accepted my body, owned my personality and honed on my priorities. I’ve worked really hard to figure out what I want in life and work to get there. I’m proud of where I am at currently and proud to finally have the confidence I have wanted for so many years.
There’s always work to be done. That’s what keeps me humble. I’ve noticed that my life is a series of preparing and pushing phases. Right now, I’m feeling like a big push is almost over. Pretty soon, I’ll be ready to set new goals but for now I’m enjoying taking a minute to breathe.