The Members' Blog
Confidence is…by Robert Mclysaght
Confidence is not a dirty word or something to be feared, it should be rejoiced and hailed as an all conquering hero.
Now I’m not talking about being crass or presenting a boorish sense of bravado or even dare a say it a snobbish air of self entitlement, but a simple belief that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to.
I was reminded of my own lack of confidence recently when I met a very nice and very established author and illustrator, We chatted about writing and the ups and downs of getting that first break and how he wasn’t confident about what he had produced worrying about aspects of the book universe that he couldn’t possibly control, I listened intently and then he asked the question, that question that makes my chest tighten and my mouth go dry, “Are you working on anything at the moment?”
I froze, what do I say I don’t want to sound big headed or worse babble on about a manuscript that might be so dull that I put a famous author into a coma.
So I played safe and gave a vague and highly sanitised version of the shortest synopsis I could muster, I got a polite nod.
My daughter was with me and she is full of confidence, pulling the printed copy of my manuscript out and showing it to my slightly waning captive audience of one.
“My Dad wrote this all by himself and it’s great and it’s not just me that thinks it’s great I brought it into school and showed my friends and they think it’s great too.”
Confidence! Was my eleven year old self as confident as that girl?
More importantly if I was when did I lose it and why?
We all as we grow older seem to absorb negativity making it part of our new ’improved’ self doubting self and then if anyone pays us a compliment it seems alien and view it with suspicion.
Remember, different is terrific its you unique selling point, often what people put you down for in school is the very thing that helps you shine as an adult, so believe in yourself.
People who erode confidence do it because they lack confidence and instead of trying to improve themselves they take the easier route of removing somebody else’s drive, and a lack of encouragement and that first sowing of the seeds of doubt in a developing mind feeds that self doubt and it has an insatiable appetite for negativity.
Shake it off, you are the best version of you that there will ever be, confidence is not about success it’s about having a Go, as a very wise person once said, “Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail again, fail better.”
So look to your eleven year old self— did you do your younger-self proud, don’t under sell yourself be confident, but be polite, accept criticism as a learning tool, reject cynicism, be thankful for all you have family, friends and a proofing editor with saintly patience and don’t sweat it sure it’ll all be grand.
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