Life of Me II

by - September 10, 2010

I've been thinking a lot about confidence lately.

It's something that I've always kind of taken for granted, you know? My mom, dad and brothers all have an abundance of self-confidence so it only makes sense that I should have a healthy dose as well. But not everyone is so lucky.

Last week I spent my time at work training the new morning show producer, and I've got to be honest - I really didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I've always known teaching wasn't my calling, so I set out on a wing and a prayer and hoped talking my way through the show a few times would do the trick.

But I quickly realized that there was something missing from my brilliant plan. Somehow, some way I needed to help my replacement build up her confidence.

If you think about it, self-confidence is a key ingredient in success. As cliche as that sounds, it really is true.

Think about it: if you don't believe in yourself, you don't usually put forth much effort, which generally means you're not going to do very well.

And here's some more food for thought... think about all the guys/girls you know that it seems like everybody wants. What's the most stand-out thing about them? I'll give you a hint. It's not their looks so much as their confidence [although I hate to admit it having a pretty/handsome appearance can sometimes help boost confidence levels].

When I actually take the time to look around me and pay attention to how people treat one another, it becomes fairly obvious the central role confidence takes. Whether it's someone having a confidence overload and walking around with a big head, someone with low self-esteem constantly taking stabs at other people's morale, or someone who's got enough confidence to hold their head up high... confidence is a big deal in not only how we see ourselves, but how other people see us.

So last week I was faced with the challenge of building up the confidence level of our newest producer. It's one thing when you know someone can be successful, but a whole 'nother thing getting them to realize it. And as crazy as this is going to sound, sometimes you have to be almost mean to do that.

I asked my mom, who is a teacher, what she does when she has a student that is capable of not only doing the work but also excelling at it who doesn't believe in themselves. In short her answer was much like the 90s song - sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind.

In other words, I had to basically create an environment where my trainee didn't have the opportunity to ask me how to do every little thing. In essence I created a sink-or-swim scenario in which she had to rely on herself.

It worked.
Whenever we find ourselves in what appears to be an impossible situation, we tend to draw upon our inner reserves, whether it be strength, wisdom or ability. It's those impossible situations that teach us our worth and [hopefully] keep us humble in the process.

And although I hope you've all got friends you can without-a-doubt rely on when times get tough, in the end I'm not so naive as to not realize that we've all got to first rely on ourselves.

And I think that if we spent more time building each other up, we'd all be in a better place. But that's just me.

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  1. You make a valuable point, but confidence only goes so far as well. Hell, I've got confidence (kind of) exploding from my belly button, but it doesn't work for me on anything... But I'm glad you finally found a way to really help your trainee. You could have a promising future as a self-help guru.

  2. I absolutely agree with you that confidence is key. Confidence is contagious. It can be instilled by somebody else or it can be generated from within through experience, trial and error, or even a baptism of fire.

    At one point in my career I worked the overnight shift as a news producer and had to groom a young woman fresh out of college for a morning news anchor position. She was nervous, shy and self conscious. She didn't like the way she looked or sounded on demo tapes or air checks. I patiently mentored her until she got confortable and settled into the position. That was in the early 1980's. Today, she's still going strong, doing the 6 and 11 as the station's senior anchor.

    I am thorougly enjoying your writing, Ashton!

  3. @Christina: Of course one can't rely on confidence alone. When it's coupled with ambition and desire, it's an almost unstoppable combination.

    @Shady Del Knight: I actually had a similar experience with a fresh anchor back in January, not quite as extreme as yours however! Thank you for reading :)

  4. I agree. That's what happened to me in law school. The situation called for a lot of inner reserve, which I didn't know I had, and I managed to rise up to the challenge. It was exhilarating.

    Fickle Cattle