March #WTCweek | Confidence: Finding it, Faking it, Commanding it
Written by: Bri Crow, Founder
My latest description of confidence was perfectly voiced by Krista Suh, a self-described feminist, artist, Hollywood screenwriter, creator and author. She said, “The most engaging and fascinating people are the ones who are constantly trying new things, people who are willing to be a beginner all the time, again and again.”
This is something I’ve inadvertently strived to live for a majority of my life – without ever identifying it as “confidence”. Confident is not something you always are. I’ve had my moments where it was nowhere to be found. BUT I was TRYING. Most of the time, a shrug of the shoulders and a “why not” attitude but hey…the simplicity of “one foot in front of the other” has led me to feeling more and more confident in the things I do.
Sometimes, I’ve surprised even my own self with what’s come out of my mouth and coherently conveyed the point I was passionate about. It’s tempting to file that as “faking it”. But let’s not. Rather, it was an authentic display of confidence. Spontaneously operating under the assumption you’re confident…is confidence in action. I also heard this alternate phrasing and it’s better, “Faith it ‘till you make it.” Nothing to do with religion besides faith in yourself.
But, there’s also that thing where your body betrays you and you’re on the verge of crying from being so angry or feeling small? Been there. A truly infuriating reaction, but confidence in yourself and harnessing emotional intelligence in those moments is the holy grail. I say that because looking back, after you’ve navigated the most difficult of situations with grace and assurance, you’re left feeling confident as hell and ready to conquer the world.
So how do we find the grace and assurance that are born from confidence?
Personally, and depending on the situation, what’s worked for me is either preparation without memorization…or relying on my gut and instincts. Maybe you’re saying, “My natural instincts are NOT what you want me reacting with when I’m angry.” And I hear you! Concentrate instead on that damn high road we know is the better choice but that rarely feels satisfying at the time. It may not feel good then…but it WILL pay off. [Over]-confidence has led more than one person throughout history to lash out and deeply regret it. Let’s add patience to the recipe for confidence.
Emotional intelligence is also an ingredient and with it, you respond to a tense situation with the mindset of, “I am angry. I have a problem with what is happening here, however I will
convey my message/point/idea/opinion with respect. OR, I will excuse myself, take a minute to breathe and re-visit this so my voice is respected.” To excuse yourself, an option is: “I hear what you’re saying and I’ll think on it. Do you mind if we pick this back up in 10 minutes?” No other words need to be said after. Put it out there, wait for response, and be sure to actually pick it back up.
We also find confidence through doubling down on our strengths and realizing we can collaborate with someone who complements our weaknesses with their strengths. Together, we’re then succeeding and at a faster pace.
I’ve been complimented for my confidence. Does that mean I ‘command confidence’?
I'd say I command respect so maybe it’s just a matter of personal definition. It’s a huge compliment, one I’m very grateful for, yet I often fumble in my reply. “Thank you so much!” is the obvious best response. Mine usually consists of nervous laughter and saying, “Wow, um, haha, thank you! I’m just here and having fun!” out loud…while thinking, “Really? I don’t have any more reasons for confidence than you!”
Confidence is accessible. There is no gate keeper, no judge and jury, no lens filter, and there’s no shortage of supply. As women, whether we’re seeking or commanding it, we’re also responsible for RESPECTING confidence. I say that because passive aggressive and jealous behavior can rear their ugly heads, especially when it comes to confidence in the office. i.e. The all too common, “This colleague always has to be the first to interject with her idea in a meeting or volunteer for extra work.” Realistically, that’s something to respect. We’re responsible to ourselves in building up, rather than cutting jabs. Respecting confidence in others keeps our light shining. It dims with the negativity of jealousy and comparison. There’s room for each of us, if we make it so.
In moments of potential eye-rolling or jealously, instead reach out and say – “You seem to have a lot of ideas and I’m interested in seeing what we can build together.” I believe that is an act of owning/commanding confidence. It recognizes you each have something to contribute.
You can be finding confidence [“why not” and “one foot in front of the other”] in the morning, commanding confidence [acting with respect and emotional intelligence in difficult scenarios] in the afternoon, and faking confidence [faith it ‘till you make it] later that same night. Maybe it’s a first date. Let’s be honest, those are where we really dig deep for confidence. Have faith in yourself and you’ll see it reflected by someone else. That’s a version of making it.
I believe confidence is a fluid conversation with yourself. You are you. Be proud of you. Nobody else can be you. You can’t be anyone else. There’s room at the table for each person to feel confident in themselves.
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