- On June 16, 2014
I know a woman–actually I know several–incredibly smart, accomplished, experienced, wide breadth of interests, energetic. A couple of these women actually counter the proverbial “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” with degrees in aerospace, computer, and electrical engineering.
This woman is at a crossroads in her career and she consciously and subconsciously sabotages herself. She holds herself back. She’s afraid to appear vulnerable, to not know the answer. She is fearful that people will decide that she has nothing worthwhile to contribute. She doesn’t know how to find the confidence to put herself out there if she’s not entirely sure of the answers.
How does this play out in how she shows up?
- She seeks, incessantly; looking for the next thing that might be the perfect fit.
- She hides her insecurity and uncertainty by relying on her technical knowledge to assure people that she has worth.
- She stays safe and gravitates towards the knowns, and finds reasons to avoid the unknowns.
- She allows past negative experiences to color her current expectations of herself.
She is not alone in her struggle with knowing what to do with her vulnerability. I share that I have similar thoughts that try to control me too—-letting my own fear of being vulnerable paralyze me from taking a risk; keeping me from possibly failing and also possibly excelling.
The response was an incredulous “You have nothing to worry about in vulnerability. You always look so confident, like you have it all figured out.”
It was a kind complement, except “I don’t have it all figured out.” It would be more accurate to say, ‘You always look so confident, like you can figure anything out.’ Having it all figured out is hubris and arrogance…am I coming off that way? Believing I can figure anything out is confidence and courage.
Displaying confidence in the face of an unknown situation is facing up to your vulnerability. I have no idea if that situation will turn out in my favor, yet I go in with a good attitude and prepare to roll with the punches. I acknowledge the potential for failure and I overwhelm it with courage.
Confidence does not come from having the answers…It comes from believing you have the resourcefulness to figure out the answers. Courage is taking action on that belief.