Raw, honest take on confidence hitting rock bottom
Early in my career I experienced one of the biggest confidence blow to my career.
The day my confidence was shot – sitting at home, 7pm when I get this email come through on my work phone. My heart started pounding and felt like everything around me was caving in… literally.
Rewind a few days… I was putting together a campaign for the company I worked for, ticking all the boxes, with approval and endorsement from my manger.
I started the communication and sent an email to all the correct people informing them of the campaign. One manager in particular didn’t agree with the campaign and the direction I was taking – so, he decided to let the whole company know in an ‘everyone’ email using horrible words directed at me and my capability to perform the task.
Confidence sunk to ground zero in a few short seconds and as you can imagine, self-doubt and tears soon followed. I instantly thought it was because I was dyslexic and not smart enough. AND I did not want to show my face at work the next day. But I did.
I spoke with my work colleagues who supported me and my role and existence in the company. My [now] husband held my hand and encouraged me to ‘shake it off’ and prove him wrong. Turning up at the office that day was challenging, uncomfortable and my confidence was still very low. I had meetings with my manager and the director to sort through the issues and understand what was going wrong and what actions we can take to rectify it.
My initial thought was the run, run far far away so you don’t have to see these people again. I didn’t want to go through with the campaign and lost interest in me and the role. I felt that if they found out I am dyslexic that they would fire me and believe I was not suited to the role.
But. I stayed. I listened to his comments and issues. I listened to the advice of my family, friends and work colleagues. I stood my ground with my head held high. I did not fall into a hole. I did not run away.
This was the first step in rebuilding my confidence.
Soon after this incident, I was always after acceptance and reassurance from others to make sure I was doing the right thing. I soon learnt that, this needed to come from me. I need to be confident in myself and my performance for people to be confident in me.
I didn’t need to prove myself to others, I needed to accept myself both my strengths and weaknesses. I needed to accept the fact that this had happened, learn from it, then move on and up. It was from within that I can be successful and one horrible, inexcusable email isn’t going to stop that from happening.
Once I realised that confidence needed to come from within I have excelled in my career, achieved goals and have continued to learn, build and grow from my mistakes. I have learnt to see things for what they are and how ego can play a big part in your confidence.
It is experiences like this that has enabled me to grow a love (which, I suspect was always there) for career, career experiences and how external factors can drive your career in unexpected ways. I use my experiences and lessons learnt while helping others as I believe that is the powerful and influential stuff.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT CONFIDENCE?
We need to experience these blows, possibly not that extreme nor personally attacking, but blows nonetheless, so we can learn grow and develop. Blows can present themselves in various ways such as being made redundant, rejection, failure, working really hard on an initiative to then be told there are budget cuts, getting negative or bad feedback. The important piece of this is to see it for what it is and ask yourself ‘what are the lessons in this?’ It is important to remember that obstacles are a path in a new direction. And it is ok to feel upset, hurt or angry as long as you don’t let that manifest into something sinister.
2. Recognize your Ego
Ego hates hits to your confidence and I mean HATES. When something really hits you hard it is going to start to tell you multiple stories as to why this happened. In my experience they start with not being smart enough and often end with not being good enough. As soon as you notice this happened, see it for what it is. Know you are supported and that your Ego is only trying to keep you safe. In order to grow and develop, you often need to slience those thoughts and empower yourself with your ability to perform.
3. Practice does make perfect, or at least build your confience.
The more your do the better you get. This is particually in senarios like presenting, interviewing or putting yourself out there. The more you do, the better you get. The more you do, the more confience you get. You learn what works for you and can leave the stuff that does not work. Your build your porfolio and examples of when you succeed and achieved which naturally builds your confience and ability to perform.
Have you had an experience where your confidence hit rock bottom? Does this help?