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Confidence. It’s a slippery thing, isn’t it? One minute you’re full of it; happy, sure. The next it’s gone; replaced by fear and anxiety.
It’s something I have always struggled with.
First impressions probably suggest that I am confident, out-going, extrovert. I love groups, parties, events. I get a real buzz out of presenting to an audience. I am good at networking and chit chat.
But, the truth is that I play a good game.
I read an interesting post by Vicky at Honest Mum on Being Confident a couple of weeks ago that resonated.
One of her key points was that it’s okay to fake it, and that the very act of faking confidence can ultimately lead to us feeling confident.
I realised that I have been doing that, unconsciously. Forever.
I rarely start confident inside, irrespective of how it may appear on the outside. But then, something takes over; the ideas come, the conversation flows and laughter is no longer forced.
I worked in construction for almost 20 years. In a male dominated, pressured environment, I became adept at appearing at ease. Confident, knowledgable and in control.
Most of the time I felt anything but.
However, I did know that I was good at my job, that I could manage, organise, persuade and encourage. That teams listened to me. Liked me. That clients trusted me.
That knowledge gave me a certain amount of self-confidence. Even when I was winging it.
I gave all that up three years ago when I left the UK and left my career.
Three years without external validation. I’m a bit of a sucker for validation.
Three years of erosion of that self-confidence.
And a lack of confidence can seep into everything. Opportunities, activities, friendships. If you let it.
Except that moving overseas has given me a different feeling of confidence, a different sense of self. I am braver than I thought, stronger than I imagined. I am still able to walk into a room of strangers feeling shy, and leave having chatted and laughed and enjoyed.
When I began writing this blog, I had no idea where it would lead me.
I had no idea that I would find a new passion. That I would begin to feel that I might have found something else to do. Possibly even a new career.
That is, of course, where it gets tricky. Remember the need for validation?
And while I may have retained my sense of inner self-confidence, I have lost much of my confidence in my ability.
I find myself strangely reticent to pursue opportunities. I struggle to publicise. I shy away from self-promotion. I am reluctant to ask people to read!
As an engineer I won work, won competitions, won clients. I even won awards.
As a writer (if that’s what I am) I am starting from scratch. And that’s scary.
Finding that same level of confidence (whether real or faked) is proving difficult. That sense of self-worth is proving elusive.
Writing exposes you. It leaves you open to criticism, to judgement. That is difficult to reconcile with a lack of confidence.
But, I know that the time has come to fake it.
To take pride in what I do now. To look to the future. To grasp opportunities, to pitch ideas. To write with a confidence that I don’t yet feel, knowing that it will come.
To take that leap into the unknown, and try.
Because the only person that can give me back my confidence is me.
You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this week’s prompt inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.
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