When I was about 9 or 10 years old, a model search company, Barbizon, held a model call in my hometown. Several friends talked about it, and I convinced my mom to take me. About 100 young girls mingled in the lobby, hoping to be the next teen model. Many were tall with long hair and appeared full of talent and grace. On the other hand, I was short, had a page boy haircut, and freckles covered my nose and cheeks like a blanket. I scanned the room, anxiously awaiting my turn.
They finally called me to one of the little cubicles lining the walls. The interview consisted of several questions, “have you modeled before” “do you have a portfolio” “do you dance,” no, no, and Ummm, no. Definitely not model material. But the last question I could answer. The final question, “how confident are you on a scale of 1-10 that you can be a model?’ I responded with the confidence of all the supermodels combined, “a 10,” I said.
He stared at me for a beat, congratulated me on being so confident, then thanked me for coming. We left; needless to say, I never heard from them again.
Of all the barriers women still face, one of the biggest is a lack of confidence. My nine-year-old self knew I controlled my destiny, not some modeling agent or anyone else. But somewhere after nine, I lost that confidence and didn’t get it back until my 40s and 50s. I wasted so much time beating myself up, talking myself down, apologizing for my opinions, and questioning the value I brought to the table.
I’ve learned a few things along my journey back to that nine-year-old freckle-faced girl. I’ll share three strategies to help you build confidence and overcome self-doubt.
Embrace the Discomfort
Imagine the worst-case scenario when faced with a situation that causes you to doubt yourself. Can you survive it? Learn from it? Asking myself what’s the worst that could happen helped me see my doubt and lack of confidence for what they are, irrational.
I’ve learned that there is a difference between emotional thinking and logical thinking and how to balance those feelings. So before you talk yourself out of doing something, ask yourself, “What Risk do I face? How can I handle it if it doesn’t work out?”
Sometimes, you need to embrace the discomfort and try hard things to grow stronger and become better.
Own Your Success
Once you push through the discomfort and succeed, recognize the accomplishment. File it away and remember it the next time you face an obstacle that rocks your self-confidence. If you’ve been telling yourself a story that you aren’t good enough, you’re too old, or you don’t fit in, change the story using your previous success.
Build on the cycle of pushing through your doubts, facing your fears, and learning from the experience. Doing so will help you rewrite your story about a more confident you.
Dare to Do It
My mom passed away at 63 at such a young age. I often think about what she didn’t get a chance to do. So if there’s is a goal you’d love to achieve or something you want to change, embrace the discomfort, own your success, and be a daredevil.
Confidence is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it gets; building confidence requires time and practice. The stronger your self-confidence, the more freedom you’ll have to pursue your dreams and take action toward your goals.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” — Oprah Winfrey
Bonus: Watch my video, Learning to Take Risk, on my YouTube channel to learn more about building self-confidence.