Obviously, that was my insecurity talking. I was one among millions of people unemployed, and in retrospect, six months was nothing. I spent a good portion of 2009 doubting myself, but there were a few shining moments that came only when I stopped doubting and started taking action.
My resolution for 2010 is to turn the person I am during those fleeting moments of confidence into the person I am all the time.
There are a few things I have to remind myself when I start to lose confidence. Here they are:
People do want to hear what you have to say. When I'm writing something or getting ready to speak up in a meeting, I become terrified that nobody will be interested, or that I'll get negative feedback. It's such a stupid fear. People will be interested most of the time, and who cares if some people don't agree with you? Everybody has something to say, so dig deep, find it, and say it.
People are just people. I get so nervous getting ready to go into an interview. The way I calm down is by reminding myself that the interviewer is just a person. I think about the people (now friends) who have interviewed and hired me in the past. Would I be nervous to talk to them now? Not at all. The same thing goes for public speaking, important meetings and big pitches. Everyone you talk to is just a person, and most of them have the same fears and insecurities as you.
You can learn to do anything. I majored in advertising and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I learned how to sell fashion, luxury and even consumer goods, but one industry I got absolutely no training in was finance. It was in a rare moment of confidence (or maybe insanity) that I applied for an in-house marketing job at an investment firm. I got the job only when they realized how utterly determined I was to learn. Don't limit yourself to what you already know how to do. That's a recipe for mediocrity.
These mantras can help you push through the insecurities that hold you back, but I find that the best thing you can do for your overall self-confidence is work hard. When you do something to the best of your ability, you know that it's good. That knowledge comes across as the purist form of confidence.
It's been a rough year for Gen Y, but I have high hopes that if we continue to work hard and keep our confidence up, we will have a strong 2010. Happy New Year!