Let's talk Confidence & Success for a moment. What are they defined as? I used to believe that Success was doing everything perfect and absolutely getting zero criticism. It is the opposite actually. Success is doing your best and being okay when someone critiques you. Confidence I used to think was 'arrogance.' Now I see it as standing tall and firm in yourself, your decisions and knowing you did your best.
Very recently I promoted to a new rank in something. And very quickly I need to put my skills to a measurable test of ability, endurance, strength, agility and skill. Now, by nature I am a highly competitive individual. I am highly trained in music and that took me years to master. Years of practice and years of trying it over and over again. Not once in music did I excel through testing to a new 'level' or 'grade', then turn around a week or two later and go try to knock it out of the park with performing in a festival I would be judged, marked and awarded on, by choosing a piece from my new Grade. Am I very talented and naturally gifted in music? Yes I am. Ask anyone who knows my music background or heard me play. I'm a natural. I probably could go and 'knock it out of the park.' But as a music teacher who has taught 30 years over the course of my life, I know better than to set myself up for that. I care about how I perform in music. I care about feeling the music, learning the piece and perfecting every single technical touch and dynamic. When I play and perform, I want people to remember how it made them feel when they heard it. And to remember me as someone who didn't perform to 'half-ass' it. That I valued their time and rank. And that I take my music seriously. Am I a strong determined woman who is fierce? You bet I am. I've survived things and fire many have not. But pushing myself to a physical or mental breakdown all in the name of being able to say I was a rock star isn't worth it. And really...that doesn't make me a rock star. It really makes me a 'not' star. Can you see it? Let me please show you what I totally cannot pull off yet! (then bows...thank you, thank you..)
But this week, I was really torn on what to do. Part of me wants to be the hero and "ta-da"!! Walk in like a boss and shazam and wow them with my 1 week super hero power move! Could I? Probably. If I set my mind to it and dedicated 100% of my time on it. But it would all be superficial. There would be no natural feel for it yet. It would be my ego controlling me. Not my mind and body, heart and soul. So, what did I choose to do. Instead of trusting my first instinct, I start asking around. 'Should I? Did you? WOW! Oh....seriously?? ' Those were some of my responses. I wanted someone to save the day and just decide for me damn it! I heard a variety of responses. All very positive in intentions. But one knocked the wind out of my sails. I heard 'why would you dumb yourself down when you earned your spot.' And right there my first reaction was 'Right??!!' Yes!!! I am woman! Hear me Roar!' But then something interesting happened. Fear hit me hard. Fear and judgement. And not the good healthy kind of fear that pushes you to be your best. I'm talking the kind of fear that takes you down and makes you feel less of a woman. I fed into that for a few moments but quickly let it fade. My new confidence in myself kicked in. And common sense. I then started asking questions.. 'what was your experience? did you place? what was your stress level at?' and so on.
I found I needed to check my ego. I mean...I had just been challenged. If I was a 'real woman' I'd step up(totally not what this person intended). That's what I heard deep down. It was in that moment my confidence in myself was shaken. I felt a pressure I cannot explain. And shame. If I didn't be said powerful dominant woman, I mean who am I then? I thought of my daughter. I knew better. A confident woman...person...accepts that with every new level you achieve...there's a new learning curve and responsibility that comes with it. When I go and experience my first time in this atmosphere...and have the honour of standing in front of peers I highly respect and have worked their asses off to attain that status...I want them to feel me, who I am, in my movements. I want to be remembered as someone who respects herself so much, and rocks self confidence so strong, that I was ok not strutting like a peacock .. unsure of this new 'new', but SO in love with my life, the art of what I am doing, that I am representing my organization, my status and the art with excellence. And owning I just worked hard for months and weeks perfecting this...before I move on...I want to show the world just how damn good I am. Because that, is what makes you a Gold Medalist. Even if I don't win one.
In my business, we never ever launch a new line or product without months and sometimes years of practice, testing and research. So this week, I had 2 amazing instructors tell me 'you can do what you set your mind to. But you choose. You will be great.' Followed with a warm, kind and 'I believe in you smile.' And those words are the words that makes me feel like a true hero. Confident. And successful.