Wearing a Crown of Confidence
By: Julie Levin
Confidence. Maybe we’re born with it, maybe we’re not? How do you know you have it? Is it something instinctual or learned? Maybe it’s a mixture of both. Think back to one of the moments you first recognized your own power. Was it someone in your life telling you they believed in you or maybe the first time you spoke up in class? Perhaps it was making your first friend on the playground or even more recently getting that promotion you’ve been working hard for.
I remember the moment I won half of a duet to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for my fifth-grade choir concert. My partner had expected a solo and wasn’t exactly thrilled she had to share the spotlight. She’d been taking singing lessons for a few years and wasn’t shy about letting me know (women have drama at all ages I’ve learned!). Leading up to our performance, I felt a bit intimidated, but I ended up singing my part out loud and clear, surprising many of my fellow students and staff members who thought I was just a quiet, shy girl.
Just a few years later, I had another confidence-boosting moment when preparing for my Bat Mitzvah. For those of you not familiar, a Bar (for the boys) or Bat Mitzvah (for the girls) is the coming-of-age ceremony for 13-year-old Jewish teens. We’re responsible for learning the Torah, our holy book, along with reading from other works and leading the congregation in prayers. I spent more than a year preparing and practicing those Hebrew words and intricate melodies so many times, much of it is still engrained in my memory. Believe me, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment after it’s finally all over and there are no more translations to do!
Those are just a few moments from childhood I know have enabled me to have confidence as an adult. In fact, all of that performing in choir and plays took me straight to college (don’t forget the years I forced my brother to act out musicals with my Barbies and his LEGOs, which he secretly loved I might add!) and eventually translated into the broadcast career I have today (I read the news to thousands of people across the airwaves every week, so it’s safe to say there’s no stage fright!).
OK, so I’m not expecting anyone to get up on stage right now and start tap dancing or belting out a tune after reading this. Let me also share a few mantras I tell myself every single day that help keep a crown of confidence firmly on my head.
First, you have to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Half the battle to becoming a self-confident person is believing it’s true, and don’t be afraid to fake it until you make it! Even in negative moments, confidence can emerge. Sure, that’s easier said than done, but the next time you have a bad day and feel the self-doubt coming on, try to focus on the positive.
Here’s an example. Criticism can be tough, whether it’s coming from a parent, a boss or maybe even a romantic partner. If constructive, there is a way to channel that feeling into becoming a better person. Try to see yourself through the other person’s eyes. Do they have a point? Unfortunately, not all criticism is warranted. In that case, it can be challenging to dig deep inside for strength and not let it bother you, but the more you do so, the more your inner confidence will become a natural defense mechanism. Not everyone is going to like or appreciate you in life, and the sooner you accept that fact, the easier it will be to deal with. Be happy with yourself, and the rest with fall into place!
Second, recognize you’re doing YOUR BEST. If you’re content that you’ve done everything you can possibly do for a work assignment or in a challenging situation, be at peace with yourself. From a tough semester of midterms to losing a job and going through a rough breakup, I’ve had to constantly remind myself that I’m human and there’s only so much I can do.
It’s your turn now. What are the areas in your life where you could be more confident?
Julie is a digital producer, on-air news anchor, writer and a self-proclaimed history and classic rock geek. When she's not behind the scenes or mid broadcast, she's hitting the town trying new restaurants or meeting up with as many friends as possible in one day.