Today I want to talk CONFIDENCE because without it you’ll never be able to embrace your awesomeness, and trust me. You are awesome.
Confidence alluded me for, oh, I’d have to say about five decades of my life. Yep, I’m 52 and I can truthfully say that it’s probably only in the last couple of years or so that I’ve begun to feel confident about my awesome self. The good news is I have a grandma who lived till 103 so I’m hoping I’ll have another 51 or years or so to master it.
Do you have the confidence to accept compliments?
Whether they relate to talent or looks, compliments can be pretty hard to take.
A copywriter by trade, I’ve spent a few decades working with advertising agencies and the like. Over the years, this has prompted people to peg me as creative. It makes sense I suppose. Advertising is a creative field but I never saw myself as ‘one of them’ — despite the fact that others did.
“You’re a great writer,” friends would say. “You should write a book or something.”
I’d quickly belittle the compliment, insisting that I didn’t have an original thought in my head; that while I may be good at taking someone else’s creative brief and assigning words to it, there’s nothing floating around up there that anyone would be interested in reading. Yet here you are! (Thank you for that, by the way.)
I can now confidently say that I’m a creative individual.
The funny thing is that for years I’ve had a strong writing portfolio, a roster of reputable clients, and a decent annual income. Still, it wasn’t until now, with a year of unpaid blogging my heart out behind me, that I can say with conviction: I AM CREATIVE. HEAR ME ROAR!
That’s right. I’m roaring (inside my head, of course), unlike a year ago when I said with a mere whisper and a question mark:
I am creative?
When I started blogging, I may have been determined but I was far from confident. Sure, I told friends about this little project of mine but even when I got a positive response, I imagined they were feigning interest and quietly thinking, what makes you think you’ve got something of value to offer others?
Maybe they were thinking that. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe I was simply projecting my own fear of being perceived as arrogant. I mean, to call myself a writer and believe I have a story worth listening to, surely that’s arrogance.
Confidence and arrogance are two entirely different things.
Confidence is believing that I have a talent for creative expression. Arrogance is believing that anyone who can’t recognize my obvious talent must be stupid. The former is slowly but surely becoming part of my psyche. The latter never enters my thoughts.
In an article about confidence versus arrogance, Scott Berkun says:
A confident person feels competent from the inside out. They use their talents to genuinely try to be of use, or to succeed at the task at hand. They might seek external validation, but they don’t depend on it to define their sense of their ability or nature.
An arrogant person only feels smart if someone else feels stupid. Their sense of themselves depends on thinking less of someone else.
Based on these definitions, I can safely say I’m making headway in the confidence department. That said, I should point out that while confidence and arrogance are different, they are not mutually exclusive. Says Scott as he delves deeper into arrogance: Arrogant people …
… insist on correcting other people’s grammar…
Guilty as charged! C’mon. What’s a writer to do?
“A confident person feels competent from the inside out.”
How right Scott is.
Most of the work I do is for repeat clients. I receive positive feedback weekly, if not daily. I’m frequently referred to people by others. (I’m not trying to be cocky here; just confident!) Yet none of these outside factors allowed me to fully embrace my awesomeness.
Even when I launched my blog, I did so in the hopes of monetizing it. Somewhere in there, I believed that earning money from my writing would validate my endeavours. Yet another external factor I was looking to.
It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized my creative success could and should be measured not by how much I earn from my blog or how many readers I have, but by how creative this outlet inspires me to be. Sure, I’d like to make a few bucks and reach a larger audience, but with or without the income and the ‘fans’ my writing is my writing is my writing.
And that’s when the lightbulb went off. That’s when my creative spirit began to soar and the more it soared, the more confident I began to feel.
Embrace your awesomeness now!
Take a hard and honest look at yourself. I don’t mean your job title or your salary. I don’t mean your stomach or your thighs. I mean take a hard and honest look at your unique gifts. If you find yourself brushing them away just as quickly as they come to mind, ask yourself why.
If you find yourself saying, “I’m a pretty good cook … but not as good as my sister,” ask yourself why you’re measuring yourself against your sister. If you think, “I have a nice voice… but my mother doesn’t think so,” ask yourself who made her Simon Cowell. And if you find yourself saying, “I have a story to tell … but why should anyone be interested,” ask yourself: why not?
If what you do is good enough for you, trust that it is good enough. The more you trust, the more you’ll find you can embrace your awesomeness, and the more confident you’ll become. Who knows, your confidence may even inspire others to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. Not that it really matters.
Viv for today xo
Read about my self-love challenge here. It was an epic fail but it taught me a lot!
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