I was reading Mindy Kaling’s excellent book Why Not Me? and there was a part that particularly struck me about confidence.
People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour old spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.
I think her sentiments were pretty closely echoed in Amy Poehler’s book too, which I talked about here.
I think this is so true, and I really don’t think she had to pre-empt her reasoning with excuses for sounding like a spinster. Unfortunately, I feel like as a woman we often have to make excuses for ourselves like that.
The other day I was talking to a bunch of woman about my photography business. I said that I was happy at how well it was doing but I knew I had an advantage because I already had a blog that many people knew me through. But I was clear, this was no case of getting lucky. My networks here in Montreal are all built out of hard work. I am not from Montreal. I’m from a town in the middle of the prairies and I don’t know a soul from out there who lives here. Yes, I’ve met a few people who are originally from Alberta or Saskatchewan but I met them coincidentally out of my own accord.
I worked hard to grow this blog. I reached out relentlessly to local businesses, entrepreneurs and collaborators. I took online courses and went to networking events when I really didn’t want to.
So, I have the confidence to say yes, I know a lot of people in Montreal and am known in a small demographic and this has helped me launch a photography business. I get a lot of opportunities and get asked to work on amazing collaborations that enhance my brands. But it isn’t luck. It’s because I worked damn hard for it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot that I don’t feel very confident with. My blog should be bigger and more well known for all the work I put into it. Part of me wonders why I keep doing it. And then I realize that this doesn’t have to be the end game and I can use it to branch in all sorts of directions.
So the next time you want more confidence in a certain area, work hard to get to know that area and be an expert in it. Create your own opportunities. Reach out for help but be sure to give back too. I think social media gives us this feeling that we can start an Instagram account and the next day we’re lounging in a penthouse snapping our coffee cup with a view over Hong Kong and getting paid to do that. Real life is just not like that. It’s filled with paying your dues, working hard, being smart about the work we do and perseverance.
And these are all random photos from some museum in Sweden. But don’t I like confident as a pretend royal?
What do you think? What’s your road to being confident?