Have you ever been lost at a mall? To find your way to where you would like to go, you find a mall directory and figure out where you are. In bold lettering, there is usually a red sticker marked “you are here”. This sticker aids in figuring out where you are and where you are going. I think that people, myself included, often forget to first assess where they are before they start planning for where they are going. Knowing and understanding the person you are is the biggest key to confidence. If you are unsure of the person you are, trying to plan for who you are going to be and where you are going to go is a strenuous task.
I went to a work conference today (I work for Bare Minerals, a cosmetics company) and the theme was building courageous confidence. Confidence by definition is a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Because this was a work-related seminar, we of course discussed ways you can build and exude confidence at work. As it often does, my mind went elsewhere. As I sat in the conference room of a Hilton hotel, I began to ponder over what courageous confidence means in terms of my own life. I’ve always thought of myself as a rather confident person, and I have my parents to thank for that. From a very young age, I was told that I could be who I wanted to and steer myself in any direction that I wanted to go if I was willing to put my heart and hard work into it. My personal confidence is undoubtedly rooted in the fact that I am privileged enough to have grown up in a home where dreaming is encouraged, support is always given, laziness is not tolerated, and love is a verb. For this, I have the utmost gratitude. But, as time goes on, lines have a tendency of getting blurry and our childhood imaginings of becoming great and mighty rulers of the world are diminished. All of the sudden, you are twenty years old and unsure of how your present is correlating with your future. If you have never been in this sort of early-life crisis, I want to applaud you and ask that you impart some of your wisdom upon us all. But mostly, I think you’re lying.
In the middle of a lengthy ramble about approaching customers with confidence at work, I decided that I needed a life-check. I needed a “you are here” sticker. What are you doing, Alex? Why are you doing it? Where do you want to go? What steps are you going to take to get there? Are you currently the person that you want to be? Can you be better? A lot of tough questions to ask yourself whilst pretending to listen to a semi-motivational speech, huh? They are 100% necessary though.
Van Gogh said, “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of plan, in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act”. Sure, you’re not going to know all of the answers to those questions right away. I have a hard time trying to figure out what I want for lunch for crying out loud. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to start considering them. Probe yourself with inquiries about what it is that you want and the steps that you need to take to get there. Take action. Nurture and develop your strengths. Tell yourself that you can do it. It’s possible. It’s tangible. Work hard for it and do not for one second believe that you will get anywhere if you don’t. Reflect.
YOU ARE HERE. Now, where are you going?