Today, we round up the ‘Raw, Honest and Blazing with Confidence’ series.
We wrap it up with three more amazing women sharing their stories of overcoming confidence woes.
I’m still so bloody inspired by these ladies![line]
“The day my confidence was shot – sitting at home, 7pm when I get this email come through on my work phone. My heart started pounding and felt like everything around me was caving in… literally.
Rewind a few days… I was putting together a campaign for the company I worked for, ticking all the boxes, with approval and endorsement from my manger.
I started the communication and sent an email to all the correct people informing them of the campaign. One manager in particular didn’t agree with the campaign and the direction I was taking – so, he decided to let the whole company know in an ‘everyone’ email using horrible words directed at me and my capability to perform the task.
Confidence sunk to ground zero in a few short seconds and as you can imagine, self-doubt and tears soon followed. AND I did not want to show my face at work the next day. But I did.
I spoke with my work colleagues who supported me and my role and existence in the company. My partner held my hand and encouraged me to ‘shake it off’ and prove him wrong. Turning up at the office that day was challenging, uncomfortable and my confidence was still very low. I had meetings with my manager and the director to sort through the issues and understand what was going wrong and what actions we can take to rectify it.
My initial thought was the run, run far far away so you don’t have to see these people again. I didn’t want to go through with the campaign and lost interest in me and the role.
But. I stayed. I listened to his comments and issues. I listened to the advice of my family, friends and work colleagues. I stood my ground with my head held high. I did not fall into a hole. I did not ran away.
This was the first step in rebuilding my confidence.
Soon after this incident, I was always after acceptance and reassurance from others to make sure I was doing the right thing. I soon learnt that, this needed to come from me. I need to be confidence in myself and my performance for people to be confident in me.
I didn’t need to prove myself to others, I needed to accept myself both my strengths and weaknesses. I needed to accept the fact that this had happened, learn from it, then move on and up. It was from within that I can be successful and one horrible, inexcusable email isn’t going to stop that from happening.
Once I realised that confidence needed to come from within I have excelled in my career, achieved goals and have never looked back.
– Claire Colebeck: White Blank Pages[line]
“When I first read this question [what tested your confidence?], like most things, I sat with it. I observed what thoughts and feelings arose and allowed memories and experiences to come to the forefront of my mind.
I reflected on the countless times my confidence has been tested throughout my life; I could tell you about the doubt, uncertainty and fear I felt when I sat across from my very first coaching client holding their heart in my hands as they waited with baited breath on my every word.
I could tell you about the time I was invited to an event and with less than a moments notice was told I had to stand up and speak on a microphone in front of one hundred people. I could take you through verbatim the time an old boss of mine in the corporate world was bullying me and abusing his power to have me fired, and how instead of bowing out I stood my ground and held onto my values whilst having my confidence bruised, battered, twisted and pulled.
Or I could detail how deep and far I had to dig for confidence when I had to coach a client just days after the hardest and most painful relationship breakup, somehow showing up and embodying confidence to inspire, encourage and motivate them when those feelings were nowhere to be seen in my own life.
So how did I overcome those testing times?
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud, the heart in wholehearted. The truth of the matter is this…
I overcame those testing times by having an unshakable and unwavering belief in myself. An innate ability to look beyond logic and reason and discover that when we transcend the ego, life is limitless, not linear.
The thing all those testing times had in common was me and having a rock solid foundation of what I knew to be true; that not only could I just get through the testing times but revel in them and come out the other side more authentic, wholehearted and resilient.
The benefit of believing in myself was and continues to be that I am able to see beyond the horizon, instead of becoming paralyzed or bound by it. Life then does not become a mere matter of being confident or not, or being defined by such notions but rather is about releasing the need to label or control our external environment when the only one we’ve ever had any control over is the one that resides within us; our true north.
“I know it’s a bold statement but my confidence has been tested since the day I was born. I was born with a genetic bone disorder that has a long and complicated name but is more commonly referred to as Brittle Bones. This means that I break bones more easily than most. It has also resulted in a few physical abnormalities. I was unable to walk until I was 2 and walked with a limp until I was 13 as I was pretty much constantly recovering from a break or surgery. Also my skeletal structure is slightly abnormal due to an abnormal curvature of my spine and I have large scars running down the side of my legs.
So my confidence has been tested on 2 levels. Firstly I’ve always been physically different. Interestingly enough, as a child, this didn’t bother me too much. I think I was naturally confident enough to own who I was and all the kids at school just accepted me. I never got teased. But as a teenager I became very self conscious of my body shape, despite the fact that I no longer walked with a limp, and you couldn’t really tell unless you saw me in a bikini. I still feel self conscious at times, particularly at the beach. But I’ve come to realise that the people who matter to me like me for who I am, not my body. I’ve just had to learn not to worry about it.
Secondly my confidence in my physical abilities has been tested because I could fall and break something. As a child this was a big one for me because I always had to be careful and not do things that would risk me breaking something. Climbing and contact sports were out of the question. Even though I have not had a break since I was 12, to this day, if I find myself in a more physically challenging situation such as climbing over rocks, a bit of fear kicks in. But I just take my time and I know my limits.
Did I overcome my insecurities? No, not really. They still rear their heads from time to time. At the end of the day I don’t think it’s about trying to overcome or get rid of your insecurities or fears. We are human and it’s part of life. It’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. While I still had my doubts and fears, I believe in my ability to handle whatever happens.
The benefit of believing in myself is that even if I do feel afraid, I will not let that stop me. I have never let my bone condition hold me back from life. This belief has helped me to live as normal a life as possible and continues to help me to stay open to opportunities and take risks (non life threatening of course). It is in doing the things that scare us, that we learn the most about ourselves. I’m all about living life to the fullest and if I let my fears hold me back, then my life would be pretty boring. I believe in grabbing life with both hands and making the most of it.
At the beginning of this year, I took the plunge to not accept any more work in the TV industry I’d been working in for the past six and a half years. I was about to embark on a brand new journey as one of the pilot testers of an emerging coaching course and a first time business owner.
Then it hit me.
Self doubt. Fear. Rapidly plummeting confidence.
I knew of so many beautiful, talented, and amazing coaches – most of whom were already successful. Why would anyone choose to hire me as their coach over one of these incredible women?
I’d never had my own business before and my site was brand new. How would I make enough money to support myself (something I desperately needed to do now that I was without a steady income)?
But I continued to head in the direction of this new life and career goal despite my reservations. I stuck with my resolve to not take on TV work for at least three months, to dive head first into my coaching course, and to pour myself into my new business.
Shaky, but determined, was the name of my game and I’d soon know if I was up for it or not.
Six months later and, with a solid and growing client base and still no return to full time work, I’m still using the same method.
One foot in front of the other.
When fear pops up, I ask what message it has for me, listen with an open mind, and then get back to my plan. One step, two steps, three steps…
Each day, I believe in myself more than yesterday. I see results from taking inspired action and the confidence that comes from those results. When I do pause to acknowledge how far I’ve come, I put it down to the little steps.
Sometimes the steps are so tiny they barely seem like forward motion. But even small progress eventually leads major movement, when repeated often enough. If I went back and told beginning-of-the-year me that I’d be working everyday with incredible women – seeing them get closer and closer to their own incredible achievements – I don’t know if she’d believe me.
But the lesson of the little steps has taught me that as long as I keep moving in the direction of my dreams, I will get there.
– Katherine Mackenzie-Smith: The Beauty of Life[line]
And there we have it.
Did any of the stories resonate with you? They sure did for me.
It was so awesome to be able to bring these stories to you. The more we start talking about our vulnerabilities, the more we invite connection and growth together. I’m all for the sisterhood – I mean, c’mon, I didn’t dedicate a shizload of passages to this very topic in #IAMATRAILBLAZER without reason!
As I (sadly) wrap this special series up, I wanted to pass the baton over to you.
What battered your confidence? How did you bounce back? Have you shared this with anyone?! I implore you to dig into a little courage today and tell someone your story. It will do something amazing, I promise.