About 3 years ago, I began the practice of choosing a word to define my year. The first year I chose “Courage” and that one word became a powerful force in my life. One of the first things I did was by myself a little “badge of courage” which I wore around my neck every single day. Every time I touched it, it was a strong reminder of my resolve to move forward and to choose to feel the fear and do it anyway. In hindsight, that was probably the year I made the greatest strides in putting myself out there in both my acting career and my life and by March or April, even without that little badge of courage, I remembered to choose the courageous path every time.
As I immersed myself in planning over the holiday break with Leonie Dawson’s Life & Biz Planner by my side, it immediately became apparent to me what my word for 2015 needed to be …. CONFIDENCE!
My relationship with confidence is a complicated one. There have been times in my life when I was extremely confident about some things (school, for example) while at the same time I experienced serious self-doubt about others (friendships, career choice, my talent). Over the past couple of years, my confidence as an actor and a person has grown a lot, but if you ask me about the one thing that was really holding me back, the answer is still confidence.
I felt that in order to embody confidence this year, I had to dig a little deeper than simply wearing a necklace (though I did by a beautiful mantra bead necklace from Tiny Devotions). I felt like I needed to find out what exactly it means to be confident and to figure out where I’m getting tripped up in the process.
I’d heard about a book called The Confidence Code, which came out in 2014, and after months of the title sitting on my wish list, decided it was time to hunker down and give it a listen (I often enjoy listening to books in Audible form).
At the same time, I became aware of my complicated relationship with introversion and extroversion. I decided that understanding my social preferences might help me reconcile some of the behaviors that can seem out of my control that lead to lesser confidence in my actions. I’m now also reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World that Can’t Stop Talking and The Highly Sensitive Person.
I’m learning a lot right now about the psychology of personality and about myself as a whole. My reading has sometimes been a huge relief, because it has cast a huge light upon why the things that are difficult for me are in fact difficult. At other times, I’ve been a bit discouraged, because it turns out that confidence, as well as introversion/extroversion and sensitivity, are governed in large part by genetics.
That doesn’t mean I can’t do things that extroverts and less sensitive people gravitate towards, but it does mean that it doesn’t benefit me pretend to be something that I’m not. Trying to behave like an extrovert all the time, will ultimately be not only draining, but detrimental to my health.
It is going to take a good while for me to sort out all of this knowledge about myself and the world. I don’t yet know exactly how this will materialize in the decisions that I make for my career and the work I seek to pursue, but I have come to realize that my definition of confidence needs to be something that is unique to me and honors the work that I must do as an introvert to share my talents with the world and ultimately get the opportunities that I desire.
I look forward to sharing more about my journey with these questions throughout the year.
Do you have a word that will define 2015 for you? I would love to hear about it. As always, leave your comments in the box below.
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