After teaching an Acting through Song workshop a month or so ago a sweet girl pulled me aside and quietly asked, “Do you mind if I ask you where you got your confidence?” It was such an interesting way to ask about confidence and while I could take it a few ways, I pondered for a moment and replied, “By failing.”
I thought about our conversation on the 20-minute drive home and thought through experiences that helped me shape my confidence. Yes, positive affirmation from people I looked up to help build my confidence as well as my personal knowledge of self-worth. I also had a laser focus on the life I wanted to lead and trusted my ability to work hard and make it happen. But, at the end of the day, being willing to put my whole self out there, fail miserably AND get back up again over and over again is really where I built my confidence.
I remember the first time I read this Theodore Roosevelt quote years ago. It resonated within me like a bolt of lightning. THIS WAS ME. I have always been willing to get into the arena and see what happens. I have always been willing to try.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena
Delivered at the Sorbonne (Paris) on April 23rd, 1910
Do I like to fail? No. Am I comfortable failing? Not really. I want to SUCCEED, CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO, and CONQUER. But, I am WILLING to fail in pursuit of my passions. For that is part of the journey, the place we grow and find out what is lacking, what is needed, or simply, what is not for us.
So yes, I am confident. I know who I am and what I am capable of no matter who sees it. I am not worried about Sally or Sam….my race is mine alone and I intend to do all I can, while I can. I share this to encourage you to be willing to fail in pursuit of the big picture things. This isn’t an easy task and might be incredibly uncomfortable but, I promise you the more willing you are to put yourself on the hook, the easier it becomes. Ground yourself in self-worth, self-care, and life long learning. You MUST set yourself up for success with preparation and opportunities for growth. You MUST learn from your failings and not play the blame game. Take what you need and discard the rest. YOU GOT THIS, I believe in you and I am here to help you along your journey!