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Faking Confidence Leads to Real Confidence

Faking Confidence Leads to Real Confidence

Is confidence something we’re born with, or is it something we grow within ourselves when we are surrounded by a loving family, friends, society? Is it always with us or does it wane over time or experiences? I think about that as I examine my life, my choices, my career.

At seven, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Everything I did was leading me to that career. I wrote in my spare time, I became and English major, worked as a technical writing intern. I worked as a technical writer when I graduated.

Regardless of what I had done over the course of my life, I always stayed close to writing. It was what I was told I was good at since I was young, it was what I enjoyed the most and it gave me confidence. Some of the best jobs I had involved writing, whether it was business letters, technical manuals or user guides, there was a pride that came with learning a job and translating that for others to learn from. So when did the confidence wane and leave?

Bad jobs, fractured relationships, the death of a child, there are so many things that eat away at confidence, that leave a black cloud over your head, that suck the light and life away.

A series of bad events, of loss, left me paralyzed. And yet when the confidence was at its lowest, I decided to put myself out there, expose myself and write again. I needed to be reminded that I wanted to write a book and when I was, I did. To do that requires honesty and being open with the world in hopes that you find your audience.

You throw yourself out there when you publish your book whether you have a publisher or you self-publish. You read the reviews and you meet other authors and bloggers who can help you attract readers. Its raw and scary, terrifying and sometimes your read a review that is hard to stomach and you can’t speak for a week.

But there’s something in my makeup that when the confidence is lacking, propels me forward and keeps me writing. It’s a manufactured confidence, when I believe that I’m strong enough to keep writing, marketing and planning for that dream future.

Confidence is a tricky thing. It can be strong or it can be weak. We can be slaves to it or we can overpower it. I’ve never overpowered mine at least not until recently. I no longer wanted to watch other accomplish what I could only dream about. I wanted more. Even when the confidence leaves, I’ve learned to fake it. Negative self-talk can break you and positive self-talk even if you have to pretend for a while is better than none at all.

Because somewhere along the way I realized that I can do whatever I set out to do, I just have to believe in myself. Even if I have to fake it once and awhile.

The Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone

comfort zone

 

We all have them. The place we feel the most comfortable. We’re familiar with our environment, our friends and family. Even with all the problems they might possess, it’s the devil we know and regardless of what’s happening, we can maneuver and get through it. It’s when we’re faced head on with something new, well not even new rather an experience, a place, a person so unfamiliar that we clam up, hide in a ball or under a blanket and refuse to come out because doing that thing, meeting that person or going to that place is so overwhelming all we can do is shut down.

I have a feel experiences like that where I rearrange my schedule or find something else to do to avoid it, or pass on jobs that could potential be wonderful, all because the fear of the unknown is holding me back. I did it with a career in interior design, sometimes I do it if I’m driving to Chicago and once I lied and said  I’m no longer interested in that job.

It’s not taking advantage of all that life has to offer, not experiencing things that fall into your lap because you lack self-confidence. It’s being an introvert and knowing your limitations and not trying something so radical because you can’t see yourself doing that.

I took my job because it was sorta handed to me. I mean, I had to interview and I had a great interview. But I also had a really good temporary job experience that gave me confidence and I realized through that, that I can do pretty much whatever is put in front of me. I’m a pretty good employee and in the case of the temp job, I went above and beyond because I knew I needed a good recommendation when it was time to move on.

And being that it was I interviewed for a job in a field and a company type like no other I had worked for. (I’ve spent a lot of time in tech companies and in large banks). I’ve handled whatever was thrown my way and I’ve been successful. Though they were all merely a way to make money while I worked on what I really wanted to do, I always would do my best.

Knowing the temp job was ending, I interviewed for a job in the cosmetic industry at a trade association for small cosmetic manufacturers. I like makeup, clothes and shoes it seemed like a great opportunity. But as I learned about the job, part of my brain said, run, while the other part said, you need to learn to do more than write. Talking on the phone and meeting people, you could use that experience.

When I interviewed I made it known that selling, it’s not my strongest ability, it’s really not one at all. I also let my boss know that I’m confident that I can do whatever is thrown my way. I had a temp job to prove that. But in a way, I feel as though I’m a liar and a fraud, because, talking on the phone isn’t my strongest ability. I do it awkwardly because as a writer, what I can do, is craft a sentence. I can string two or more together to complete a thought. I can edit and I let what I say stew and churn in my brain until I say what I really want to. I’m a much better writer than I am a talker out loud.

I’ve been surveying members of this organization because part of my job is to update the database. It’s fairly straight forward but it’s tough because there are a lot of questions to go through. It’s stilted and awkward as I try to ask all of the questions. Now why didn’t I email these members first you ask? I did. These are the one’s who haven’t responded. And though I’ve made contact with a few, it’s hard to get in touch with people and many simply don’t call back.

It’s stressful for me to pick up the phone and ask company specific questions. I stall, I finish up other work, I check my email for the second, third and fourth time. I wring my hands until I finally make the call. In the end it feels foolish that the phone causes me so much stress. It’s really not as bad as I think it is when I finally check one off the list. I move on because the second part of my job is even more tricky. I get to call members and try to convince them to buy sponsorships with our company. But that’s for another day.

My point is I’m out of my comfort zone. A carefully crafted zone that I know, whether it’s good or bad, at least I know what to expect. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to say yes to a job whose skills I am simply uncomfortable doing and other times, I push the anxiety way down deep and realize at some point in time I have to act like a grown up, handle my discomfort and move on to something more. I mean after all, maybe I will get lucky and my book will sell and as a result I’ll be asked to do several interviews.

It’s all about communicating and finding the place best suited for you and sometimes it’s about letting go and finding your way to something better.

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