Confidence is more than just walking with your head held high. Confidence is looking doubt in the eye and telling it to back off. Confidence is swallowing your fear and introducing yourself to potential employers at a career fair. Confidence is recognizing your mistakes and learning from them. Confidence is crying at night over a failure and getting back up in the morning to try again.
Confidence is demanding the respect you deserve. Confidence is looking people in the eye and defying them as they try to tell you what you can't do. Confidence is raising the bar and setting the standard for those around you. Confidence is loving the skin you're in. Confidence is knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. Confidence is walking with power even when you feel weak.
In the world we live in today, our confidence often gets swallowed. We face challenges based on who we are, the negative limitations people try to place on us, and even the limitations we give ourselves. It is hard to build an unshakeable confidence in ourselves and much easier to allow that confidence to be overshadowed by doubt.
My first year of college was a difficult one and college tried to steal my confidence. Every less than desirable grade I received, every professor that questioned my intelligence, and every hour I spent studying that seemed fruitless, it all added up. It was a weight on my shoulders that pressed on me and I had to fight to stand up straight.
There will always be nights where our pillows soak up the tears no one will know about. There will always be days where we feel like we are on the outside looking in. There will always be times where we wonder if the naysayers are right.
This is why your confidence will often be your foundation. It is what you will stand on when things are being stacked against you.
An egg will quickly crack. That cannot be your foundation.
A pillow will compress under pressure. That cannot be your foundation.
Wood will splinter and snap when put under too much stress. That cannot be your foundation.
Gold, silver, precious metals, they melt when the heat gets a little bit too uncomfortable. That cannot be your foundation.
But a solid rock, upon which you stand. A rock that neither cracks nor crumbles. A rock that does not compress when things are stacked against it. A rock that neither splinters, snaps, nor melts. That will be your foundation.
You may feel defeated after a poor exam grade, but you'll be the first student at your professor’s office hours.
You may look at a hill and feel too tired to climb, but you will climb it. You will succeed.
I will leave you with a quote that I heard at a leadership conference this past weekend: “People are like teabags. You truly know what's inside, when the water starts to get hot.”
What is inside of you?