After having learned about confidence builders and destroyers in “Confidence Code” I felt compelled to share what I learned and get it on as many Sisters’ To Read lists as possible.
At every Femcity social, business members get the opportunity to update everyone on their business/lives for about thirty seconds (I’m usually the timekeeper and if you’re saying something really interesting I’ll give you a few more moments to finish your thought). I usually talk about a Concern for the Day (like when it came out that Visit Florida might have its funds slashed) or about leadership books I’ve read. I was going to talk about Confidence Code but was so excited to start talking about the book that it wound up in our group discussion before we even started the intros!
There are a lot of entrepreneurs in the Femcity Orlando chapter and it has always been energizing to hear them talk about how they had to either build up their confidence or faked it until they made it when they started their business. Before the introductions and the group discussion, I had let a few of the Fems in on a little secret that I, too, will be starting my own business ( the cat is out of the bag!). But when it was my turn for my introduction, I said, “Well, I already talked about my book topic about confidence, so I guess I’m good.”
“Patti!” exclaimed Puja Madan, one of the most emotionally intelligent and closely connected to Women’s souls person that I’ve ever met. “Here you go talking about confidence and you’re not even going to announce your startup?!? What kind of level of confidence is that?”
“I’m not ready! My partner and I don’t have an elevator pitch yet, no tag line or heck, solidified target markets.”
“You don’t need all of those things to birth your new baby. This is probably going to be one of the safest, most supportive spaces where you can fake it ’til you make it!”
So I sucked it up and shared. Of course, my little talk wasn’t succinct and on point, but I did it and it’s made me more confident to mention it to anyone I meet with. (In person, though… I still now lack the confidence to put something unpolished on the interwebs so you’re just going to have to wait!)
After all of the intros, Puja came up to me with an epiphany.
“You do realize that confidence stems from practice, right? I considered you and I some of the most confident women around and yet, when we get to a moment in our lives we haven’t experienced before, we clam up and can’t easily make decisions about it. Isn’t that funny how it still happens to us?”
This made me remember the nature and nurture aspects of confidence. My parents, teachers, and others in our environment helped me practice a lot of habits that resemble confidence so that way I became really good at them and therefore, confident. I’ve always had a seat at the adult table for serious conversations, I’ve practiced having to think and speak on the fly through improv and competitive speeches, I’ve spoken in front of gobs of people before I graduated high school (and the day I actually graduated). And in my adult life, I was given the support by great mentors to talk to clients and make recommendations on how I would spend their millions of dollars.
But I haven’t had practice in entrepreneurship. Sure, I’ve taken classes and written business plans during them, but to actually pull that trigger? It’s unknown and thrilling and nerve-wracking. All I have to keep remembering is with the support of my family, my friends, and my community, I should easily be able to build up the confidence to eventually talk (and write) your ear off about it.
Eventually, I will #bringit.
Shoutouts for this post:
Whoever on Goodreads that read “Confidence Code” so it showed up on my feed to tag it.
Puja Madan of wildradiantwoman.com
Erica Finlay who was President of Femcity Orlando for the past 2+ years.
Shelley Senzon, for giving me the first chance to practice telling people how to spend their millions of advertising dollars.