February 4, 2020
Happy February 😊 (and shout out to Black History Month✊🏾!!)
Both of my newsletters for this month are going to focus on tangible, practical steps to things that are often thrown about and feel quite…intangible.
As WOC in academic medicine, we have no doubt, at some point, been told to “Be Confident.” Some of you may feel confident nearly all of the time. Some of you may be the exact opposite. (It’s ok, you are welcome here!) No matter what – if you are human and not suffering from delusions of grandeur – you have and will have moments in your career where you don’t feel confident.
And you really WANT to. Your brain says – “I just need to be confident!” Your group chat friends gas you up: “You’re amazing! Go kill it! Rockstar!! Badass!!!” You *logically* know you are not trash 🙃, but that doesn’t mean confidence shows up.
The problem is that you can get stuck here…waiting on confidence.
This newsletter is about those times.
When these times show up, when you are looking for confidence, stop and take a pause right there. Your brain is lying to you. It’s looking for confidence, when the truth is, confidence is a byproduct.
I learned a different way to approach confidence that has been a game changer for me. Try it on, see how it flies.
Think of an area in which you now feel quite confident. Consider the idea that you never *started* with confidence. What if what actually happened was something like this:
COURAGE: You decided to go for it, to start somewhere, even if you didn’t know all of the steps or know if you were taking the ‘right’ one.
COMMITMENT: You made a choice to commit to trying, more than once, even if felt uncomfortable or you had a fear of failure.
CAPABILITY: Through trying, over and over, you showed yourself what exactly you were capable of – it may have been more, less, or the same as what you hoped – but you saw tangible evidence in the form of results.
Then came CONFIDENCE: Because of the results, you felt the assuredness that you can do this thing and could do it again.
What if this is the order, every time?
It means when you don’t *feel* confident, that’s simply information. That is your signal to use this knowledge – these 4 C’s of confidence – as a tool. Not just theory, but practice.
Next time you don’t feel confident and you want to, this is what you do:
Practice this cycle at least twice…and watch the magic happen. Watch the courage step become automatic, and then fade away. Notice when you stop paying attention to ‘committing’ and instead just see your capability in real time. Smile to yourself when someone asks you, “How are you so confident?!?”
No more waiting around for confidence.
Confidence is not something you “are” or “are not” – confidence is *cultivated.* Confidence is a byproduct.
So bring on the career challenges – a WIP seminar on a totally new topic; your first ‘big’ grant; leading a new initiative; feeling sure you will finally be ‘found out’ as not being as smart as people think you are…or maybe just a Tuesday 😊 – because now you know what to do.
And stay in those group chats to keep encouraging each other! You and your ideas are absolutely worth it.