In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Have Confidence in Me.”
I’ve been told that I have presence, a way of carrying myself, that exudes confidence. I remember someone once commenting to me, “I wish I had just the amount of confidence you must have in your little pinky toe.” It’s funny to me, because I’m not sure where it came from. I hear that, and I cringe, because the last thing I want to be is pompous or cocky, and I know it’s a fine line. On the inside, I still feel like the seven year-old girl clinging to the back of my mom’s pant legs, frightened of my own shadow and afraid to try anything new. But forty-some years later, I’m not that scared little girl, and it seems I’m someone very different. It’s hard to even begin to connect the dots of how I got here from there.
What I do know is that I didn’t get there on my own. If I look back across the years, I see people – the people who in time became my people. One by one, they stepped forward and decided they were going to believe in me. My first grade teacher who, upon hearing I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, told me she thought I would make a wonderful teacher. The neighbor who took me under her wing, and let me hang around and admire her for reasons I don’t even know. The uncle who decided to treat me like an adult and tell me the truth, when no one else would. The college residence life staff who thought I had what it took to lead and then showed me how. The professional mentors – many of them – who gave me chances I hadn’t even earned, and then supported me in all kinds of ways that helped me succeed.
And so, what I know is this: I am me – “more confidence than some people have in their pinky toe” me – because of them. Because the difference between one who flounders and one who succeeds is a very simple difference: the one who succeeds has someone – anyone – and maybe just one, who fiercely believes in them.
I got home a week ago after doing my very first consulting gig in Guelph, Ontario of all places. I planned but didn’t over-plan, I took my bag of tricks, and I went in and I did my thing. After months of questioning myself, wondering if I still had it, I got a gentle but exhilarating reminder: As a matter of fact, I do still have it. I’m even willing to bet that I had it all along. I just forgot.
So there I was at 1:25 a.m., grime from the flights tarnishing my clothes, my hair, and my soul. I felt two opposing emotions at the same time; strikingly content and still a little shaken from the adrenaline rush of the week that had just passed. And I sat on my bed in this compromised but perfectly blissful state, eating a chicken shish kabob sandwich from the gas station/Greek diner drive through, and I thought this, for the first time in a long time: “I like me. I would buy me a Coke.”
And while I like myself enough to buy me a Coke, I know who gave me the change to do it. It was my people.
What People Are Saying
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