Camaraderie with fair authority and authentic twinkle of perseverance breeds CONFIDENCE in many untold ways. It fashions a path of an unquestionably durable allure in the landscape on both the corporate and personal facets. We forge forward trying to quell the colour rising in our cheeks as we project real or perceived confidence. The lexicon derivative is: ‘Confidence means feeling sure of yourself and your abilities – not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic and secure way.’ Typical exemplars are trust, commitment, self-assurance and keeping a lid on something told in secret. Confidence is a fusion of esteem and efficacy and many things in-between.
Let’s turn our focus to what confidence is not: It most definitely does not believe in the illusion of perfection and the drum beat to conform to perfectionism as a character standard. It is not the impression that life is free from trials and tribulations. It is most certainly not unrealistic expectations set by others or oneself. It is not a license to be self-serving. The lack of confidence will create a whirlwind that may trap you with: self-doubt, worthlessness, inferiority complex, apathy, anxiety, depression and the list go on. It is crucial to understand what self- confidence is and the reality of accepting your faults and foibles. Standing tall regardless, while you act vigorously because you believe in your inherent worth and value. It is so vital that we understand what confidence brings to the table: awareness and limitations and how to balance your life with both. Realization and acceptance of what’s possible, desired, wanted and coveted – get a realistic snap shop. Reaching contentment.
The potential to create an authentic experience and craft happiness into your life. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then how will society calculate confidence? I sojourned to New York, the big apple to celebrate my 40th birthday. At breakfast my friend played a video created by my friends in Sydney – all beautiful birthday wishes. One of my male friend, in the video went on to describe … ‘Kelly, you made a real impression on us all, waltzing in with your white corporate suit and hair all slicked black – like a woman with real purpose and seeping so much CONFIDENCE.’ Then a few days later, my friend that played the video in New York went on to tease me about this line. I caught myself introspecting myself, to discover the contours of my character!
A resolute personality rises to the challenge – grandstand for the fiercest competition to evaluate who we truly are verse the perception of others. Refrain from stagnating in your bubble of perceived perceptions – get into the real world and test society’s theory and the thread of every fibre that stacks up to define your confidence. I was born in the great escarpments of Southern Africa where apartheid reigned. I grew up in a segregated community that was enforced by segregation bylaws. In essence this environment was a default habitat and it was all that I was exposed to. I attended school, lived and shopped in the boundaries defined for my Indian demographics. We all lived in the very same bubble. We respected and cheered each other on as one joyful race.
My first employment was in South Africa for the federal government and the taste and smell of division was oh so rife. The standard and expectation were almost set in stone, it only dictated compliance in every domain. Find your lane and stay there, this was subconsciously indoctrinated in me. Then I immigrated to New Zealand and eventually relocated to Australia. It came with a host of new challenge but for the purpose of this article, I will zoom in on just one facet. My confidence. I was freshly shipped from a developing world that modelled nothing but apartheid to me! Suddenly I was thrust in a new environment – a cosmopolitan vortex. This new world spoke of equality and freedom but many undercurrents presented, the muted tones and string pulling was no different to find your lane and stay there.I had to get up each morning and find my own internal moral compass, my self-esteem, my self-efficacy and ultimately my self-confidence. I gleaned that my confidence came in small dollops in the little things I did and in the profound ways I stood up for my values, principles and work ethics. My confidence was constructed in the manner I presented myself and the rooms I walked out off when my welfare was not served as the main course.
With the progression of time, I can now walk into a room and watch the molecules move, simply because my confidence sets the tone. It’s a learned skill – we are most definitely not born with it. In essence, know your worth, what you bring to the table, understand your limitations and be true to your values and your confidence will find it’s way to you and take over the narrative like it is in your core DNA. The unaltered momenclature of processing fame or status in small intellects is not the vibe of confidence. Confidence brings out the best in you for the best reasons. Everyone wants to knock the top dog off the step, but happy to see you be the underdog fighting for it. When you are confident in your own skin then you will not be inclined to knock anyone off their game or even dictate to others to remain in a labelled path. Real confidence is not just striving to live up to your worth but recognising that others around you have worth too and you are not threatened by any other levels on confidence in the room.
The epic life of Harriet Tubman gives life to the meaning of confidence on steroids. I recall watching the moving about her life and was in awe, she had confidence in herself and had the zeal to inject her confidence into others but most aptly she used her confidence for the greater good, to help others to freedom. She did not settle for the crumbs thrown her way. She dug deep to bring up her confidence in truck loads. She did not even lack confidence when her own husband, could not wait for her and took to another woman. Yes, indeed she was hurt but her confidence surged. She had the acumen to separate her pain and not allow it to derail her confidence. She was born a slave and most around her complied with the dictated rules. Harriet Tubman was a fine woman of distinction; her self-confidence gave her the fragrant savour to freedom. She honed in on her talents and granted freedom to another 750 enslaved African-Americans – the sweeter taste to sovereignty. She understood the limitations around her, the community and the laws of the land, yet her confidence prevailed.
Not all of us are born with confidence, it can be a real struggle for some of us. Life experience sometimes send us into a cocoon and keeps us in a pattern of perpetual despair. Every tiny or gigantic step can help you leap out of that shell. Create a self-analysis of all the things you got right in your life and ways that you impacted others positively. Hone into your strengths and practice the art of excelling in this facet of life. Define some micro and macro goals and plan to achieve them. Enhance your self-awareness, practice objective thinking and listen actively when people offer advice – specially to correct and grow yourself. Strife to reduce negative thought patterns, learn skills to cope under pressure, don’t be afraid to get things wrong and don’t wait for opportunities to come to you on a platter with your name etched in gold. While you are still in the pig pen create new opportunities even when the whole world seems shut. Harriet found a way in the grimmest circumstances. Understand what the journey will cost you, know what you need to whether the storm and find what you need to bounce back. Every setback must have come back to mature your confidence. As soon as we act confident, we are already pretending – let the zeal ignite within. Live and breath it with courage and conviction. Confidence is your true north; you will be lost without it and most around you will notice that at the onset. So, plan for your success as confidence is the amplifier of the trait of triumph. Confidence also paves the way to leadership … so if you want to write yourself into the script of leadership, polish up your confidence.
Confidence presents hand in glove with substance – refrain from the shallow strut, it will not pay dividends. Non-verbal communication unlocks your confidence even before you unleash your verbatim – your body language reflects and reinforce confidence in a palatable fashion. Your vocal tone sets the scene – speak in statements and not questions while you own the authority. Dress up with authentic vulnerability, genuineness transcends typical uncertainty into substantiated confidence. Realise that like everything of value some elbow grease is required and there is no magic wand, you must prepare to shed layers and grow – commit to a process. Realise that the philosophy ‘fake it till you make it’ is a train wreck for confidence. Don’t engage in people pleasing behaviour and stop comparing yourself. You need to run your own race, it’s not a competition with others. Don’t live in a prison of your limitations. You are not living your best life because you are surviving with your lingering failures. Setbacks are leaning curves to launch forward. Taking a scenic journey, life has so many twists and turns and turning around one definitive corner is understanding that our confidence is not originated from society hammering the like button on social media. Despite many false correlations of people having their worth, value and confidence tied up in the number of ‘LIKES’ they accrue or fail to accumulate. This is not tethered to confidence.
Healing is a quiet homecoming; it’s about tracing the way back to yourself. Zooming out of the brokenness and focusing on your wholesome beauty. Seek to define your confidence and don’t rely of society to mirror it to you. If you are wrong then educate yourself and don’t let society belittle or degrade you. If you have made a mistake communicate affectively and gain clarity and support so that you may be receptive and open to wise words and communication into your life so that you can change for the better and greater good – adding a rich layer of confidence to your weathered hide. Robust people also have frail stints. Don’t let your weak moments define your level of confidence and eventually your charisma. Be strategic and know when and why to pause. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie