Life

Confidence: Where Did You Go?

Had to stop what I was doing to write this blog. For a few years now, there has been an underlying issue that I have refused to fully address. Whenever it rears its ugly head, I try my best to distance myself from it. The issue – my lack of confidence.

I believe I somewhat addressed this issue when I wrote about an incident that happened in 2017 or 2018 when blew a presentation. I just could not seem to bounce back. Today, I am still dealing with the aftermath of what happened that day. Last year when I co-authored a book, I felt like my confidence had returned. But it really hadn’t. To this day, I still find myself second and triple guessing things as simple as tweets, posts and blogs before, or if, I post them.

This morning, while reviewing a recording of a presentation I gave, I saw it. I saw my lack of confidence! It wasn’t that I was not prepared for the presentation. I had rehearsed it so many times. I knew the material. However, when it came time for delivery, I failed. I am not even sure why I was so nervous. I looked like an amateur. What happened? What happened to my confidence?

I keep saying it was that one failed presentation that caused it, but to be honest, it is an accumulation of things that have happened over the years. For one, going back to college later in life. I rarely felt out of place when I was getting my associates degree. But once I transferred to the college/university world, things changed. As much as I tried to fit in, I never felt like I belonged. The students were younger, more vibrant, and smarter! Honestly, I felt like I had no chance of competing with them. I remember having so much confidence when I graduated from high school. I guess over time that confidence dwindled. Remaining in academia and working with research after graduation did not make things any better. I went from being surrounded by elite undergraduate students to sitting at tables with professors using their “scholarly” voices. I do not blame them one bit for my discomfort. Many never knew how I felt internally. Those who did, intentionally made me feel welcomed. For that, I will forever be grateful.

Back to the downward spiral of my confidence. Social media! Social media really made me feel inadequate. So many opinions. Early on I found myself trying to carefully craft my words before posting. You know, I didn’t want to sound illiterate. And don’t let me get started on grammatical errors. I would literally have anxiety attacks whenever I made mistakes. It was too much! Sometimes it’s still too much.

So, how will I get my confidence back?

Give myself the grace that I give others to be human. I know that God has placed me where I am, and where I have been, for a specific purpose. I can see how my lack of confidence has been a hindrance. So, now that I know what makes me feel inadequate, I have to be intentional about being confident. I have too much to achieve!

As always, thanks for reading! I am going to publish this as written. I cannot continue to allow my imperfections to control me.

Enjoy your weekend!

Shaun

Life

Wednesday Writings

Since Monday, I have been debating on whether or not to write about the late, and most definitely great, General Colin Powell.

Monday morning I woke up feeling wonderful! Had posted my quote for the day – CHANGE begins with me. Then I saw the news – “Colin Powell has died . . .” Y’all, I was not prepared for that news. I know.. death is always unpredictable. I just wish I’d had time to gather and control my emotions before I saw the news. You see, I was already preparing for the 2nd anniversary of my brother’s death, which was yesterday. I knew whose comments and posts to avoid on social media. I had already psyched myself up to be as upbeat as possible this week. Then, I saw the headlines. I couldn’t stop crying. Honestly, I felt like I had lost a very close loved one. The hurt was deep.

So, why such strong feelings?

Well, there are people I admire and then there are those I ADMIRE. He was one of the ones I ADMIRED. He was someone I truly wanted to meet. When Kofi Annan (late Secretary General of the United Nations) died, I had the same reaction. Y’all, I just knew I my heart that I would meet him. The only person I got to meet, who I really admired, was Chef Leah Chase. I was also sadden by her passing, but found comfort in knowing that I got to have a one-on-one conversation with her. I got to tell her how much I admired her. I also walked away with words of inspiration. That’s something I will always cherish. Sadly, I will never have that opportunity with Kofi Annan or Colin Powell.

Today, there are only a few on my list of people to meet. Honestly, I would be devastated if one of them passed without me at least shaking their hand or letting them know how they have inspired me. I really have to stop putting things off thinking that there will always be other opportunities. The reality is life is short and seems be be getting shorter. Whenever the opportunity knocks, I need to go for it!

In honor of General Colin Powell I’ll leave you with this, his 13 rules of leadership (Colin Powell’s 13 rules for how to lead by Share America):

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4. It can be done!.

5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.

8. Check small things.

9. Share credit.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

11. Have a vision. Be demanding.

12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Rest in Power, General Colin Powell
It was an honor to have served under your leadership and command. You will be missed.

Shaun