When my Dear Friend Lost her Confidence at Work
Recently, I had lunch with an old friend. We don’t get to see each other very often, but when we do we can talk forever. Usually about nerdy work stuff. She still works for one of my previous employers, so she catches me up on the latest gossip and fills me in on what’s what at my old stomping grounds.
Towards the end of our lunch, we started taking about our future career plans. She shared with me that she has been feeling a lack of confidence. Partly because of the way her thoughts are received from senior leadership at her company, but also because of some recent job interviews she has been turned down for.
Naturally, I was sad that my friend is feeling this way. I can’t believe she lacks confidence! I practically learned half of what I know from her, and I look up to how she handles situations constantly. She’s amazing, and it kills me that she doesn’t know this.
Me being me, after our lunch I couldn’t stop thinking about how I can help my friend realize how awesome she is. I turned to my nerd toolbox of quotes, and sent her one of my favorites.
This quote floats around the web and Pinterest constantly. It hits home. There were so many things I wanted to tell my friend to help her that I think this mantra sums up perfectly.
Of course I wanted to tell her the obvious; She’s gorgeous, cool mannered, she makes good personal and business decisions, she’s popular, and all around awesome. But I know what she really needs to know is that confidence comes from within. Every person on the planet has nights they lay awake kicking themselves about that stupid thing they said or the bad decision that everyone noticed at work. I mean, there are some things that I did or said years ago that sneak into my thoughts from time to time that make me want to crawl into a corner. But confidence comes in as your ability to accept the mistakes, address them, and move forward. No matter how big or small.
When I was starting out in my career, one of my bosses delivered a job offer to the WRONG PERSON. When I caught his mistake, I was afraid to bring it to my boss. I guess at the time I was uncomfortable seeing him vulnerable. When I did muster up the courage to tell him, it was obvious he felt bad. But he didn’t miss a beat in handling the situation promptly. He swallowed his pride and made the very uncomfortable phone call to the victim of the mistake. During this call, he took ownership and apologized. He gave sincere feedback to the person about why they weren’t selected, and set up an interview for this person for another position that might be a better fit. When the situation was over, he told me that he hoped that I could learn from his mistake and shared with me what he did to fix it. And then we moved on. I know now, that yes, my boss messed up. But it was confidence that helped him know what to do to fix it and help everyone move forward.
Luckily, my friend has a damn good head on her shoulders and she knows that it is up to her to be confident. When she messes up, she knows what to do. I know that she is firm in her beliefs and her knowledge and that she handles her actions accordingly. She will come around to realizing that she has what it takes and is already doing it.
As for the companies that turned her down for the job, they missed her value. Is it possible that the value she had to offer isn’t what they needed for their culture and business? Sure. And it’s also possible that the interviewers she was working with didn’t assess her value correctly and missed out on a rock star performer. Either way, these turn downs have nothing to do with who she is as a person or as a professional.