It's a rhythm that not everyone can move to the beat of... that is, the tune of our own step.
How many times have you looked in the mirror and disliked what you saw? How many times have you poked, prodded and critiqued your appearance? How many times do you tell yourself you can't when you more than likely can?
For most of us, the answer to that is 'been there done that' and sadly for others it's 'all too often'.
Confidence lives in our self reflection of our physical, our soulful, and our external abilities and you want to know where I stand on the need for it? I stand front and fucking center.
I started thinking about this yesterday after listening to Brittany Pakcetts TED talk on the foundations of confidence. The former teacher tells of confidence being the necessary spark before anything else follows. It being the difference between being inspired and getting started, between trying and doing until it's done and the driver that helps us keep going even when we've failed.
I don't believe that confidence is a birthright, I think it's something that you have to continually show up and work for day in and day out. Especially when it's been shattered, in your own doing or the carelessness of others.
Brittany tells of her days as a teacher whereby she wanted to create the environment of a dreamer's paradise. She wanted to encourage and enrich her students and build their muscle of confidence. For the point of her story she shares two student's experiences.
One being a young boy with a fidgety approach to learning, little self-confidence for sharing his learnings and requiring a different approach in educating him. To gain his focus Brittany allowed him to work anywhere in the classroom where he felt comfortable. She felt, in doing this, she was instilling confidence and a better learning system within this student. She used the opportunity of a class speech to tease out his potential confidence and put him in front of the class to deliver his view. He stunned the class and created impact. Job done on Brittany's part - she believed in him, she harvested and he delivered. Going forth, in that moment this student hatched a seed of confidence he will take with him for life.
The second student she spoke of had an inherent confidence that needed less grooming and came more naturally. She would fly through her academic duties and then move onto working the room and distracting the class. Brittany, says that this student was a glitch in her orderly teaching system. One day, she snapped and approached the student with the idea that she wasn't being a distraction but that she in fact was a distraction. She said as she extinguished the joy from her eyes that lit up their classroom on a daily basis she watched her get robbed. With self reflection, Brittany says she is now haunted by the potential involvement she had in the process of killing her natural confidence.
As a leader of a growing company, hearing this solidified the non negotiable consciousness that should always be on my delivery of any constructive enforcements to my team in their everyday conduct. It was crazy for me to think that how I deliver as a boss/employer/leader/team member could make or break someone's self confidence. Whether you run a business or not, the fact of the matter is, your engagements with people imprint how tall they stand after walking away from you. Upon reflection, I think this is one of the heaviest life lessons I think we all need to wrap our heads around.
Brittany perfectly puts a lack of confidence as a force that 'pulls us down from the bottom and weighs us down from the top' crushing any possibility of I can, I am and I wills.
I put a lot of what Amal and I have done in the business space both positive and negative down to confidence. We were two girls from Menai that wanted to change the way the world viewed nutrition and we had enough confidence to fuel a huge decision to quit our full time jobs, defer our uni degrees and build a nutrition turned tech company from scratch. This is the bright side of confidence. Over the past 6 years I've also seen a downfall in too much confidence too. I've seen this in stages, like taking gambles on capital investment into the company and at times it not paying off - why? Because we were too confident, less cautious and contingency prepped and could have adopted a bit more reservation (aka put the ego at bay).
Confidence I feel is a never ending work in progress, and as I think to say 'especially for women', I think that philosophy is outdated and we need to be fair to the blokes under social pressure and empathise that we are all trying to strengthen self belief.
I know you're probably at this point (if you've got this far in my short and passionate novel) and are thinking, 'okay, I get the importance but how do I get it?' I can't give you a straight answer for that. But I can tell you this, you have to work on it every day and prioritise with self development, unlearning bad habits and surround yourself with those that add sparkle to your shine.
For what it's worth, I believe in you. I think we all have a shot to take a shot.
So, go forth and keep shining baby girl.