Confidence: “It’s about being the little engine -- I think I can”

“It isn’t about winning or being the best. It’s about being the little engine -- I think I can”.

After reading The Confidence Code, by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman, I’ve come to realize even more how important it is to have a regular meditation practice and to include self-compassion in the mix more often. The key to confidence is really knowing yourself, being accepting of it all--flaws and marks--and being true to yourself. These basic tools then allow you to take risks and fail and try again. So the next time you find yourself ruminating about a mistake you made or beating yourself up, try this self compassion exercise by Kristen Neff and turn it into how this helps you.

For example, when I add too much salt to a dish and it is too salty tasting, in my head I think “geez, can’t I do anything right?!” A better way to handle this is to say “I can try something different with salt next time.” I’ve found writing down my self critical thoughts in a journal for a week and then reading it back to myself, then either burning or tearing it up, has been very helpful to me in mending my self critical voice.

Confidence, as the book states, requires hard work, substantial risk, determined persistence and failure, but it requires them all. You can’t have hard work without risk or failure.

My best teachers have been my failures, not my successes, although I have learned from them too. When I worked at an organization, I attempted to implement Salesforce. The Executive Director felt it necessary to have a centralized database system. It made sense. This was my first Salesforce implementation. I was nervous. I was actually terrified, but I forged forward. And, after all our hard work (not just by me but also by many others), it was a complete failure, and is no longer being used in the organization. Mainly because many in the organization didn’t want a centralized database system. At the time, I felt horrible. But I thought about it and realized it wasn’t all my fault. No one person was to blame for this catastrophe. It was a combination of many factors. But, what I learned was far more valuable and was the catalyst to create Database Sherpa.

So, for women, hard work is not challenging, but often, we are not willing to take risks and fail. To recognize that about yourself and to walk through it shows confidence, something we need to cultivate in ourselves for our sisterhood.