I like to think I’m a pretty confident person, I’m not always the life of the party or the first to speak in a crowded room (thats usually Ben, my husband), but I have an inner confidence that almost never falters. This confidence has helped to bring me success in my career as well as happiness and contentment in my life.
One of my sisters once said she had always admired the way I take risks and try new things, like the way I left my 9 to 5 job managing a studio & teaching photography, to start my own wedding & portrait photography company. I had never seen myself in this way, but I guess she was right, and I think its all down to my inner confidence and that I always believe (with hard work) I can achieve the things I set out to do.
However, I haven’t aways been this way, due to a pretty disruptive childhood, as a child and teenager I was fairly unhappy and became increasingly depressed. I had no confidence in myself or those around me. There are times I remember, at a very young age, feeling a huge dark hole in the pit of my stomach and feeling frustrated that I couldn’t shake it, or make myself feel better. As a teenager I had little respect for myself (or my body) and seeked attention to feel a sense of worth. My thoughts were always negative and I would turn to alcohol to lift myself or self harm to ease the pain, I truly believed that I was a bad person and some days truly hated myself. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I shut down and pushed people away.
It came to a head when I was 17 and took an overdose of paracetamol and ibuprofen, I can honestly say it was a pure cry for help and I am very lucky I didn’t seriously harm myself! The hospital and my GP sent me to have a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), this was a real turning point for me, it has been the most important and life changing step I have ever taken, I don’t think I would be the person I am today without this therapy. I had 8 weeks of therapy, to learn how to change my negative thinking and turn my life around. It didn’t change me overnight, but the lessons I learnt have helped me every single day since, to take control of my own thinking, change my negative thinking and become the inner confident woman I am today.
After my therapy, I dropped out of college, now I know this is the opposite of getting my life together, but I did say I wasn’t changed overnight. I had been studying Law, Psychology and Photography. Photography had been my ‘fun’ choice, to go alongside the serious subjects, I had dreams of becoming the next Legally Blonde but it turned out my fun choice would end up being my life ambition. After leaving college the next stage was to get a job, and I was rather lucky to bag an apprenticeship for a photographers assistant.
I worked at the studio for the next seven years, growing in confidence and maturity as well as building a career in something I loved and was passionate about, until leaving to build my own photography business.
I recently read a book called ‘Fearless and Fabulous’ where Cara the author talks about feeling the fear, but doing it (the thing you’re scared of) anyway! I believe in this 100%, I feel fear most days and have negative thoughts all the time, we all do, its not something that will magically disappear. But how we deal with them can change, I have these thoughts, I hear them and then I push them to the back of my mind, I focus on the positives, of how far I’ve come already and the negative thoughts slowly fade… feel the fear, but do it anyway! Don’t let your own self doubt stop you from achieving what you are capable of.
One of the best pieces of advice I have been given, is to set your self small achievable goals, then each time you achieve one, your confidence will grow. Its good to have dreams but if you set your goals too high they will seem completely unachievable, you are setting yourself up for failure.
My main aims in life are to be happy, content and have a comfortable income, not to change the world or be a millionaire. I have achieved my goals because they were attainable and I took lots of small steps along the way. Once I achieve them I can set my goals a little higher and then a little more, building my inner confidence along the way.
I recently noticed that when I first started my business, I would find people around me (particularly older men) could be very patronising and talk down to me, but it doesn’t happen so often now. At the time I thought it was because I was young and now, maybe as I am a little older they take me more seriously. But I now believe that it is because I am so much more confident in myself, my abilities and the service I provide. I know exactly who I am, where I want to be and what I am capable of.
Let your inner confidence shine through and lead you to where you want to be!