I have a few thoughts on confidence….
When I was about 23, my boss came out of a meeting and, with a laugh, said, “Sofia* is unequivocally herself!”
At the time, this simple statement stirred up so much in me.
I had never heard anyone referred to in this way in my entire life. I thought, “Wow, this woman is the PINNACLE of self-confidence.” And I wanted that kind of confidence too.
Yet, the idea of having confidence like this felt so far away from my lived experience. Part of me wondered if perhaps it was just luck, privilege, or personality. Something seemingly intrinsic to her life experience and unattainable by me.
Another part of me defiantly wanted to reverse engineer it anyway. You can call it optimism, but to me it was defiance. (And I’m grateful to that defiance).
Naturally, I had questions. I asked my boss, “What do you mean? What did she do that made her come off this way? This is a good thing, right? What happened in that meeting?” I got laser detailed.
While I was looking for specifics I could emulate (you know, “fake it ‘til you make it!”), my boss responded in a much more general way. She spoke to Sofia’s assertion of her own boundaries over the problematic interpersonal “family-like” workplace dynamics (this is so common!). She commented on her irreverence for antiquated professional norms and the confident lightness in which all of this was delivered. And, I never found out what the hell happened in that meeting.
Over time, “unequivocally herself,” has grown to mean something a little more nuanced than “having confidence.”
Now, I see it as someone who embodies their complete self, regardless. It’s about being self-led. It’s about emphasizing being rather than doing. Inherent in this is being non-judgmentally aware and connected to ALL parts of yourself.
I also realized that confidence is not this thing to be had in perpetuity. It’s not a commodity. It’s something to experience as it comes and goes. Something to cultivate when needed and appreciate when it’s there for you.
But it’s also helpful to let it rest sometimes too. Feeling insecure has its place and value as well. We learn SO much about ourselves when we tune into insecurity. And, ironically, the more we can embrace our insecure side, the easier it is for confidence to show up.
Now, let’s be real. ALL of that can be super hard work! And, not often achieved overnight. Click here for my next blog post for some strategies to help you be more unequivocally yourself.
*To quote Tina Fey, “All names in this story have been changed, to protect the FABULOUS.”