How Confidence Catches Up With You

A great story from a woman who went from a structured upbringing to an unstructured career and along the way found her confidence.


It’s a weird transition in your twenties. You enter the workforce. You’re so used to your life being dictated. You’re in school for this long. You’re in college for that long. Then you’re on some career path. This is what you’re supposed to do and if you don’t become a lawyer or a doctor or banker, or something corporate that’s structured—you have no structure. As I climbed up the ladder it was a strange transition to not have a boss telling me what to do.


I had a strange feeling that I was pretending. I was playing grown-up. I had this façade that I knew what I was doing but inside I was thinking, “I so feel like I’m 18. What am I supposed to do? When are they going to find out I’m too young to have all this responsibility?”


It’s not an internship anymore.  No one is going to keep asking you, “What do you really want to do with your life?, like your career counselor or a job interview.”  I got thrown to the wolves.  I was hired to do one job in production and it turned into another job…a big job. They said, “Have you ever done this?” And I went for it. I took it. All these directors were looking at me and they are believing what I am saying and telling them to do.


It was either sink or swim and I did it. I killed myself doing it. I just put it out there. I put out this air of confidence and then I’d go do research. I did tons of research so I knew what I was talking about but it was such a stressful and weird time. Honestly, it was like I was skating on air.  I had some background but I was learning on the job.  I had to fake it.  I thought, “I can either give them the deer in headlights look — because that is how it felt – or I could play grownup. I had to pretend I knew.


It was a very unstructured, competitive industry so that may not be the case for everyone. But no one is going to stand up for you. That’s what I learned. I had to start standing up for myself. I felt like I was faking the confidence while I was gaining it, I guess. And then it caught up with me and I got the confidence.


After a few years, or maybe even your late twenties, you hit this mark when you realize, “I’m not pretending. I’m on my own now. I can do this”. I finally hit this level and said…no one is going to tell me what to do during the day. I just have to get it done. You  find your own way.




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