Tuesday, September 3

Some thoughts on confidence

Now handing over the reins is not something that I do easily. Well not normally anyway. I can be a control freak just like anyone. Today however I have handed over blogging on a Tuesday, and I have done so with great pleasure.

Last week as I was trying to avoid actually doing something constructive with my time, I turned to my Facebook page with a whine of how exhausted I was feeling after a hard day of community building at the school. The reality of my day was that I had actually held someone else's baby (with glee mind you) while she (the mother, not the baby) actually did all the work serving the kids at the Father's Day stall.

Anyways, a loyal liker, who also just happens to an old high school bestie, shared that she had sat an exam that day. Knowing her like I do, I assured her that she probably had little to fear from the exam and passed with flying colours (or words to that effect). Which being the super modest chick she is, Angela politely deflected which then resulted in a brief epiphany on the topic of confidence.

Now I am not sure who said what, but before we both knew it, Angela had agreed to sharing a few of her thoughts on confidence in the shape of a blog post.

So without further adieu I give to you the wonderful words of Ms Angela.

Image from here

Having just finished a semester exam I decided to check out what was happening in the land of Facebook. Scrolling through my feed I saw an update from A Parenting Life, asking what I had been up to. When Rhianna heard of my exam she complimented me on my skills as a student. Which I instictively went to deflect.

I’d carried out the weekly work all semester and felt confident going into the exam, but instead of simply thanking Rhianna for her compliment I deflected it with the modesty that most women are trained to display from a young age. 

After I had written my response though I realised that I might be onto something: maybe confidence does stem from putting the groundwork in?

Academics has always been my forte; I do not have to ‘make’ myself put the work in, I just do it. That said, I can still fail the course if I don’t put the work in each week. I was confident about doing well in the exam because I did the necessary work.

Confidence comes from knowing your strengths, but it also comes from knowing your weaknesses and how to work around them. 

A person might prefer to plan ahead for a particular situation and might not like surprises or sudden changes of plan. In this case she can consider various scenarios that might derail her plans and plan for or visualise how she is going to deal with them. 

Someone else may be going somewhere new but is uncertain in new places. She can improve her confidence in various ways, such as asking someone who has been there, researching it online, or asking staff for assistance on arrival. 

Your preferred style of preparation may vary from mine; I prefer to do basic research and then plan what I am going to do. I like to limit the amount of input because I get ‘paralysis by analysis’, ending up with so much information that I can’t make a decision. You might like to talk to people whose opinion you trust. I prefer to keep positive thoughts running through my head, while you may prefer to get a pep talk from a friend or family member.

Obviously there are some people who are easy-going enough to walk into most situations with confidence, and I say that their confidence still stems from having put groundwork in, just in a less intensive way. These people are able to quickly draw on previous experiences, and it’s this that gives them confidence.

The takeaway:

Embrace your strengths and understand your weaknesses. Know how to work around your weaknesses.

Research and plan ahead in the way that you find most useful, but beware of ‘paralysis by analysis’.

Draw on previous experiences – preferably positive. If an experience is negative, focus on what you’ve learned, rather than on what went wrong.

And finally:

Confidence doesn’t always just happen, so don’t beat yourself up if you have to work at it!

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