Last week I attended a monthly networking-come photography club, run by the brilliant With Passion & Purpose. Karen’s life mission is to support women in becoming more visible via her incredible talent as a photographer.
The club is a chance for female solopreneurs and business owners to catch up each month, share ideas, their voices, champion each other and have some snaps taken too.
As a newbie to the world of self-employment, I value their experience and guidance. This month’s hot topic at the photo club was my favourite thing to discuss, confidence.
I sat back and listened to each person’s experience of confidence. It was fascinating.
It means something so different to each of us. And I wonder if there were some men around the table if their experience again would vary?
I’ve tried to capture in this blog some of the views shared (it’s at this point I wish I’d taken notes! But I was too engrossed)
Lynsey, from Lynsey Grace coaching, believes we are born from pure light and love and that confidence is nurtured. It’s a muscle that is built throughout our lifetime and our circumstances can define this.
Jay Diamond, a soul purpose and connection coach, somewhat agreed with this but had a slightly different take on how we come into the world. Sharing stories of her confident daughter and how this seems innate within her.
On the topic of how confident we are when we come into the world, I believe a combination of the above is true. We are born with an essence, I guess what you would call our personality. Our personalities are like our fingerprints, they are completely unique to us. We each have special superpowers and those are the things that give us “confidence” in ourselves. But, it is the nurturing (or not) of these unique gifts that can lead us to feel confident, or not.
Kate Brown, from Calm at Work, shared more on this, to her confidence is authenticity. It’s the permission to be true to yourself and your needs. Kate shared that as children we can slowly be stripped of our authenticity as we mould our personality to appease our parents. This concept comes from Dr Gabor Matè, who noted that our prime motive as a child is attachment to our parents, for survival purposes, meaning we can abandon parts of ourselves in order to please our parents.
This is something I often share with clients, authenticity is foundational to confidence and in order to feel confident, it’s a peeling back the layers to come back to yourself. It’s not about creating a new confident version of you. It’s revealing who you really are at your core.
We spoke a little about the importance of the routines and rituals that contribute to confidence. For example, journaling in the morning, meditation or exercise – this sparked a conversation around privilege. Something we can often dismiss when it comes to confidence. How do our intersectional identities contribute towards our confidence? How do the jobs we have, the time, our emotional capacity, contribute to our feelings of confidence?
Our capacity for confidence. This phrase struck something in me – what if we have no capacity for confidence? I have been there. Completely burnt out, with absolutely zero capacity for anything, let alone confidence. This led us to exploring one of my other favourite topics – nervous system regulation.
What if our nervous system is stuck in fight, flight or freeze. Can we still feel confident here? In my experience, no. We can seem confident, yes. But that feeling of true confidence, complete trust in yourself. It doesn’t happen in this space.
As a breathwork coach, much of the work I do here is with emotional healing. It’s once we have connected back to ourselves, our body and the breath, that we can return to a state of safety and it is in this space that we can thrive, connect, create and feel confident.
Jay moved us on to the topic of surrendering. How, in a masculine world, we can often feel the need to ‘force’ and ‘push’ to feel confident. But, sometimes it’s the act of surrendering, of completely letting go and trusting, that is where confidence lies.
Trust. I heard this. Confidence is complete trust in ourselves. It’s knowing that we have all of the answers we need within us. That we are capable, creative and resourceful to find the answers we need.
Next up, Jools, a business mentor and coach, who spoke about a quiet confidence in herself but sometimes a lack of confidence in her abilities. It opened up the conversation around situational confidence and back to the “confidence muscle” and how it’s built, nurtured and expanded.
It also led us on to discussing introverted vs extroverted confidence. Jools is often mistaken for an extrovert because of her confident clothing style, however, identifies as an introvert. Often extroverted people can be mistaken as confident, when quite the opposite is true. Una Doyle, a business coach for creatives, shares how she felt uncomfortable in her confidence, as an extrovert in a family of introverts. It wasn’t until Una discovered the world of self-development, two decades ago, and really “did the work” on herself that she felt accepted, authentic and a new found trust in herself.
The final part of our discussion around confidence touched on neurodiversity. Something I’ll admit I haven’t thought about enough, but as we explored this perspective it opened up my eyes. Josie May, one half of the fabulous Money Mavens, shared stories about her son and his confident charter. Her son is autistic and so in situations where some of us might feel self-conscious, he doesn’t. In certain circumstances he has unwavering confidence because he isn’t attached to other people’s perceptions of him. Is our confidence always attached to other people’s opinions of us? I think it certainly plays a big part. What would we do if we knew we weren’t being watched or judged?
I’m sure there was so much more that was shared! I’d love to open up this conversation even further – if you want to share your experience of confidence, please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org – let’s start more conversations on confidence.