Friday, December 26, 2014

CONFIDENCE & Other Thoughts

I recently checked out a book from the library titled "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance -- What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. This book has been so eye-opening in identifying and labeling some of the destructive habits that we as women have fallen into: "Women spend far too much time undermining themselves with tortured cycles of useless self-recrimination. It is the opposite of taking action, that cornerstone of confidence. There is a formal word for it: ruminating. We do a lot more ruminating than men, and we have to get out of our heads if we want to build confidence" (Kay & Shipman, 104).

Ruminating, the art of worrying about things you cannot change. Ruminating particularly finds a home in my mind around Christmas time-- I second guess the gifts I bought my family, and the gifts I wasn't able to afford for my friends. I beat myself up for not printing more Christmas photos or sending Christmas cards.I worry that people are dissatisfied with their gift or think I spent too much or too little.  But ruminating is useless-- it does not actually move you from your place of insecurity but digs you deeper into it. It does not inspire; it inhibits future action, and it encourages self-pity and self-doubt.

The authors of this book go on to say that this epidemic overflows into our personal lives too: " How often have you mentally picked away at relationships with friends or a partner, undermining something that was actually perfectly solid? Or spent too many hours second-guessing a decision as simple as whether to get a new haircut?" (Kay & Shipman, 106).  Can I get an Amen?

I can completely relate to this book, and if it did not belong to the library, I would have highlighted entire pages in yellow. Part of the fight in overcoming a lack of confidence, according to Kay and Shipman, is to move from inaction to action.  To speak up. To take risks without knowing exactly what the outcome will be. This single movement from deliberation to action, from ruminating to moving forward can be learned, can be practiced.

And so I must urgently practice action as well in taking bold, confident steps.
 My moves of confidence for this coming year are two-fold: 

Number one- Stop apologizing for things and asking if I did something wrong. Making mistakes is part of the human experience. Rubbing my nose in my mistakes is not. Of  course mistakes will happen, but the ruminating has got to stop.

Number two- Take some crazy risks and push myself beyond my realm of comfort. I have severely limited myself because I have wanted the security and stability of a full-time job. While this is well and good and Dave Ramsey approved, the job itself has taken up a lot of energy, thereby eating up time that might otherwise be spent free-lance writing, consulting, and tutoring.

What are your bold moves of confidence in 2015?

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