If I look back on my life to this point I’m pretty happy with the things that I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had. I’m happy to say I don’t have many regrets. But one thing I do regret is my lack of confidence. In high school I was shy and I embarrassed easily. Unlike the typical stereotype of American High Schools, my school was a pretty easy going place. If I had felt more confident I could have easily had more friends, participated in more things, and been all around more successful. The only thing that was holding me back was my lack of confidence, and that voice in my head saying “it’s better just not to do this in case something embarrassing comes out of it!”
Luckily almost all of us look back on high school and think “wow, what was I thinking?” And in college I was actually rather confident in myself. Because of it I made a lot of friends, actively participated in my classes, joined clubs, and eventually was able to teach about 200 students ages 13-15 daily for three months. (If you are a nervous public speaker, try teaching. You will either quickly get over it, or quickly have your self-esteem stoned to death by the students. Either way the process is quick!) I was able to step out of my comfort zone and risk doing something embarrassing… but generally things worked out and it felt great!
Then graduation rolled around and college was over. I was forced to go and apply for jobs. This was fine at first, online applications are simple enough, my resume is decent, I am a competent 22 year old human being. But then after filling out dozens of applications without a single response (neither positive or negative) my self-esteem started to waiver. And then came the phone interviews. “Why are you interested in this position?” “What makes you a great candidate for this position?” “What is your philosophy of Education?” I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be brutally honest and cynical and make jokes like I typically do in my day-to-day life. And I wanted to do this because I did not feel comfortable. These questions somehow automatically made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of any of these positions, I was inexperienced and I was undereducated.
Now I’m looking back to my regrets from high school and realizing I cannot continue to have poor confidence. I may be slightly inexperienced, but I can’t sell myself short. I have many valuable attributes. And most importantly I am an adult, and I need to learn to suck up this nervousness and just be professional. So lately I’ve been trying to be more confident in myself. Yesterday I had an interview for an internship and I came in much less nervous and more open than I have been in the past. At the end of the process I still felt that “who knows!” feeling that (I assume) many of you have had before, but it was in a good way, not a bad one. I did alright, I didn’t sell myself short, and I didn’t act like a shy 17 year old girl.
There is a quote/comment I saw recently (I wish I could remember where) and someone mentioned that for the longest time he thought his co-workers were all smarter than him. But after a while he began to realize they were simply more confident and self-assured than he was. Confidence is really important. We naturally tend to trust a confident, self-assured person. From now on I’m going to stop selling myself short and build up that confidence.