Just kidding. There is no such thing. I just wish it hadn’t taken me 13 years of dealing with an anxiety disorder to figure that out.
I have always had trouble feeling confident in myself and my abilities. Insecurity and anxiety have been pretty constant in my life. I don’t think this is unusual, either. We all struggle. Starting with whether or not to sit with the “cool girls” in first grade and all the way to asking for a raise or a promotion. If you are a celebrity or a prodigy this is called being modest. If you aren’t those things, because most of us aren’t, it is a little more challenging to name.
Feeling confident becomes even more difficult when you live in a city like Washington, DC, where all of your peers have more impressive resumes than the last. Everyone has at least one post-graduate degree and workaholics are the norm. It can be exhausting for someone like me with a serious case of the “imposter syndrome.” You see, I constantly fear that my successes in life are a mistake, a chance of luck that won’t last. Nevermind my extreme work ethic, determination to succeed or years of experience. One of these days someone is gonna realize I am a phony and be like, “WOAH, you slipped through the cracks! Get outta here.” I am not the only woman who feels this way and I am not the only woman who wants to do something to change it.
So we work on it. We read books. We meditate and exercise. We post affirmations on mirrors and phones and refrigerators in our real world. We create Pin quotes and lists in our virtual world. We read “The Confidence Code” and “Lean In” and get ready for Hillary, whatever that means.
And just when we feel like we’re moving up at work, looking great in those jeans or starting to make progress in a relationship, life hits us. There is a totally natural and expected slip up and all that progress we think we’ve made comes crashing around us. We start to feel much less foxy and much more frumpy. Our confidence we’ve been building cramps up and we are sitting alone at lunch at Creek Valley Elementary all over again. Or whatever.
Here’s the deal though: there isn’t one simple fix to feeling insecure. The “confidence cure” that gets peddled to us everyday on blogs, in books, and on the Oprah Winfrey Network doesn’t exist. I have spent so much of my life searching for a universal fix to insecurity. I believed there was a proverbial “magic confidence pill” I could take and then everything would be great and I would feel confident all the time.
But it is so much more complicated than that. It is a complex journey up and down and in circles and it is hard and fun and different for every single person. When I feel strong and confident and full of ideas I am always surprised by how much for fun it is and how much easier it is to smile. Confidence is great and it is always available to you.
When I feel scared or insecure or down I remind myself that my insecurities do not define me, they are temporary moments of weakness that are a part of life. They serve as a reminder that there is still more to learn, accomplish and see.
Your confidence code is whatever works for you. So lean in ladies. Just don’t freak out if you stumble a little bit.