I like to think I'm a reasonably confident person in my professional life. I will stand up in front of an entire room of strangers and give a talk, I'll go to networking events where I know absolutely nobody and I will give presentations to people who, frankly, know a lot more than I do!
Bullshit baffles brains, right?
Perhaps it's due to the fact I'm talking about something I know.
I have a good degree, a lot of extra side projects going on outside of work, I feel confident in my current career and I feel confident training new employees and speaking to clients.
I also have very ambitious (slightly unattainable) life plans...
Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation anyone?
A few weeks ago someone told me (very bluntly) that I was an entirely different person (in person) and that I wasn't at all confident.
This confused me as I always thought I was a pretty outgoing person in terms of myself. I teach Sea Cadets, will stand up and give orders and that doesn't phase me in the slightest. I went on Mastermind, and was the youngest contestant at the time, and whilst I did have a semi-nervous breakdown on national television and swore under my breath pre-watershed, I did it. I've actually done quite a lot for someone my age. I like to try anything and give everything a go at least once, which is partly why I'm off to climb Kilimanjaro in October.
I started thinking about it and I realised that actually, despite all of the above reasons to be confident in myself and my abilities (yes, mum, I realise you told me so), I did come across as a very insecure person.
I've realised in the last year or so that I am in fact not a normal 26 year old girl, and that whilst I love nail varnish, tanning and own far too many lipsticks, I also have this other side of me. I think I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to all my naval history/Nelson stuff, as not many 26 year old females hold that as their main interest, and really I'm a bit too apologetic for it. Maybe it's less a lack of confidence than it is needing to stop comparing myself to others and what instagram/magazines tell me is the norm, before inwardly judging myself for not being that.
I'd rather go hiking on Dartmoor than go clubbing. I'd rather sit and read a book about naval history or watch Zulu than something like Big Brother.
Now? I'm just embracing it as an interest and seeing Disastermind, as I so aptly named it, as an achievement to be proud of.
“Each time we face a fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” ~Unknown
I also struggle with body confidence. I think most females can say they have had this issue at some point, but it's something I'm really having to work on. I don't think I'm huge, but I'm larger than I was before going to university, and whilst I am doing my utmost to get back there and the eating right/gymming is working, I still see myself as some kind of ogre and really struggle to take a compliment, often being seen as somewhat standoffish.
This past week I had a good loss though, which has massively motivated me and changed my outlook on things slightly.
I am what I am, I'm not where I want to be yet, but why make a fuss about it?!
The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.- Blake Lively
This year has seen a lot of changes in my personal life. I bought my own flat, ended a long relationship and decided where I'm heading with my career. Different situations require different levels of confidence, naturally, but I think I've finally reached a point where I'm happy with who I am, who I'm becoming and where I'm headed. The more I accept myself, the happier and more confident I will be, so here goes!
It's taken me 26.5 years, but I've finally realised confidence is a game and one I want to win.