Hi friends! I have not decided to retire this blog, but rather re-invent it.
If you are reading this on your WordPress app try accessing my site directly from a browser: https://quixiesmindpalace.wordpress.com/ and you’ll see that the layout is a bit different. I have only made a template change and haven’t yet made any other changes. It’s a slow process, honestly mostly due to indecisiveness. My idealism, perfectionism, and lack of time has created a halt on the creative process. But I’ll get there, and I’ll announce changes along the way.
On to my post…
“You need more confidence.”
I’ve been told this my whole life and after more than three decades of hearing this many, many times, I’ve decided that they are wrong.
I know I come across as insecure and vulnerable but really I think it’s my ingrained personality that combines humility with empathy. See, I feel like I can never really know anything. My brain can’t possible grasp even 1% of facts about our world. There will always be gaps in my knowledge, regardless of how much I study, and as far as opinions go: I have flexibility and openness to hear other ideas and change my mind. These are good qualities, are they not?
I pondered the idea of confidence the other day while I was training a new coworker. I’ve been at my new job for nearly a year now and for the past few months my supervisors have had confidence enough in me to allow me to show others the ropes. I do well with one-on-one mentoring because I always approach it from the position of being open to learn from others while I’m also teaching. I have the patience to allow my mentee to approach the learning process by way of what works best for them.
Do I have confidence in this process? Well, somewhat. But mostly I’m shrugging my shoulders saying, This is a complex job and while I have more knowledge about this position than you do at this point we are all learning.
As some of you may know I work in a call center and I take 40-50 calls a day.
This is quite remarkable considering the fact that I had a severe phone phobia prior to getting this job. Desperation to get a job after an excruciating amount of time experiencing rejection after rejection from prospective employers forced me to confront my fear. For the first 3 or 4 months I would walk into work every day with knots in my stomach, having to run to the bathroom many times, an uncomfortably dry mouth, and the inability to really focus on what the callers were saying (thus requiring a white board to take notes on that I still use to this day). I learned tools on how to overcome this anxiety and now I no longer experience it at my job.
Part of my new-hire training process involved the trainers sitting with me while I took calls and listening in on my calls for several weeks so they could give constructive criticism. They heard me fumble over my words and have trouble explaining things. They said – you have a good knowledge base and you are so calm and patient but you need more confidence. Does this mean I became more confident over time? Maybe. Or maybe I’m just no longer anxious.
I really enjoy my job now, but I feel when I compare myself to newer employees I feel incompetent because these newer employees seem to get things right away without asking a ton of questions. Their confidence astounds me and I feel that at almost a year in I’m still asking too many questions.
But here’s the thing I’ve decided to finally accept about myself. Yes, I’m a slow learner but this is because my mind does not work in a straight line. What happens is that someone presents information and my brain goes on a ton of tangents seeking gaps of knowledge and continues doing so until I actively tell myself STOP! that is enough to use this information for it’s intended purpose. Otherwise, it’ll keep going.
I am probably the most inquisitive person I know, save my daughter. I thrive in an environment where I’m allowed to ask an endless list of What if? questions and clarifications. I can’t seem to obtain information unless I go over it again and again and again from multiple approaches.
My mind works like this 4-d hypersphere:
It expands out, and then folds in on itself, and circles and just keeps on like that. This also adequately expresses not only how I think, but how I talk, clean, shop and basically how I do anything. Yes, it’s extremely chaotic but that’s just how I am.
After nearly a year of endless questions to my supervisors and peers they do not yet seem annoyed with me so I know this is the right job for me. Ha! They seem to understand that my approach, while chaotic, has allowed me to gain such a thorough understanding of our products and systems that I will be someone who can move up in the company and greatly contribute to it. Is lack of confidence causing me to not see the reality of my adequacy and approval from others? Well, admittedly, yes. Okay, I can admit that.
However, unnecessary confidence is extremely unappealing to me. Most of my coworkers are younger than me and while I really like them as people, they really have no right to be as confident as they are. I say that partly from envy because I think my life would be easier if I were more confident, but mostly because I think over-confidence is part of what’s wrong with my country, the U.S.
It may be my British blood speaking that inclines me to comes from a place of self-deprecation (dna test shows I’m 75% British) and to think that Americans are too confident.
Americans are typically quite ignorant and, at the same time, confident (arrogant). They think they know everything and they really don’t know much at all. What’s wrong with approaching things with a more humble attitude? It’s just that Americans don’t respond well that kind of approach. It’s hard to succeed in life that way. Look at who we elected as President – we value confident narcissists even if they are assholes.
And if you don’t appear confident then people think you are a weak and they’ll try to eat you alive. They emotionally try to push you and condescend to you. That doesn’t work with me, which they are surprised to discover. I’m flexible, to a point. At work I’ve had callers try to be verbally abusive when I was trying to be kind and helpful and then I have to get firm and use my mother voice. Amazingly, that works. I don’t blame, I don’t raise my voice, but I am suddenly blunt and put them in their place. Even then, I don’t feel confident though. Just know my limits.
So, sometimes I’ll be pushed into acting confident like that. I had my mind blown the other week when I was helping supervisors and team leads with a few projects. I realized that a good portion of the time there are questions that they don’t know how to answer and do you know what they do? They act confident (regardless of whether they feel it) and just make a decision based on the information they have. Now I know the secret!
Do I need to be more confident? I don’t think so, but I guess at times I need to act confident in order to get what I want. Which, doesn’t feel right but it’s kind of what I have to do to make it in this society.
People who are truly warmly confident (not arrogant) are very appealing and I’m drawn to them, but I realize their minds must work different from mine.
You need more confidence?
I’ve been told this my whole life and after more three decades of hearing this many, many times, I’ve decided that they are wrong.
Hmm, I realize that this statement in itself is confident. Maybe I’m wrong 😉