My journey to building confidence began three years ago. I was working as a Chief Revenue Officer at a media company. And then, suddenly, I was fired. After constant advancement, promotion, awards and positive feedback, I was shocked. That moment was devastating. I had no idea what the future held for me and the feeling of uncertainty threatened to overwhelm me.
Here’s what I have learned: The only thing an employer can take from you is your paycheck. You keep your experiences, talents, network and unique value. While I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to blow up the proverbial “lanes” I had been limiting myself to. I would take my talents to become an author, podcast host, keynote speaker and executive coach. I realized I had been redirected, not rejected.
That was a powerful realization, and it started me down a completely different path. It began with taking a hard look at my confidence, or lack thereof, at the time. Making the decision to take action and building confidence within myself completely changed my life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me. While I was in corporate America, I didn’t realize that I had been dimming my light due to negative feedback. The CFO that I worked with was constantly upset with me. She would give me disapproving looks and belittle me, and instead of standing up for myself I would shrink back in hopes she would move on. I was wrong. The more I dimmed my light the more she grew in power. As long as she remained in my life, I wasn’t ever going to be confident.
We all have villains in our lives. Some of us work with our villains and some of us see them show up in our personal lives. It’s up to each one of us to fire these villains so we can start to take off, or create boundaries to protect ourselves from them. In some cases we can even be our own villains. When that’s the case, we can re-write the narrative we are telling ourselves. We can choose to show ourselves grace and speak to ourselves the same way we would a child or someone that we love dearly. No matter what form our villains take, firing them will set us up for our successful launch. The day I got fired, my villain didn’t realize that I had actually fired her from my life.
As I started my own business without my villain, I saw how much easier it was to show up as myself and feel good about who I was. Without that negativity in my way, positive people began to show up for me. Once I was rid of that toxic environment, I could see clearly that I had played a role in holding myself back and I was never going to do that again. We rarely face just one villain in life; sometimes a new one can rear their ugly head and we need to take action quickly.
Recently, the universe gave me another important reminder not to give haters the power over me. I saw that an account simply named “Barbara” had given my book, Confidence Creator, a one-star rating on GoodReads. “Barbara” didn’t have any photos, information or history, and my book was the only one they’d reviewed. A fan commented on the review, asking “Barbara” what it was that she didn’t like about the book; shockingly, there was no reply.
I decided to take to social media and post about the incident, making the choice to own it rather than letting it own me.
“When you decide to shine your light and be your authentic self, know that the haters will come,” I wrote. “Sometimes, taking the risk to create and innovate will anger those that haven’t done so, or make them jealous or uncomfortable. None of that has anything to do with you.” I said that Confidence Creator is all about owning your voice, and that I hoped that it helped “Barbara” own her one-star review, or anything else for that matter, because we should always be confident in our opinions even when they aren’t with the crowd. I ended my post: “Hoping this post inspires ‘Barbara’ to read the book so she can own her profile and her voice, which I will applaud, one star and all.”
Just like that, I took my power back by taking action and calling out the hater. What I didn’t know was that my post would drive many people to flood Goodreads with five star reviews for my book. Even though I hadn’t asked, people genuinely wanted to support both me and my book.
This experience reminds me that lions do not lose sleep over the opinions of sheep and neither will I. Owning that this person gave me a one star review just took away any power they had over me. Haters hide and hate on us because we are willing to shine our light; never forget that part of building confidence is taking risks and owning how different you are. I know that I am different and for that I am proud. When the haters come I’m reminded that I am special, and so are you!
It is always going to be easier to criticize than it is to create, but it is so much more rewarding to be you and create all that you have within you.
So here’s to you turning the haters’ comments and quips into compliments and reminders that you are unique! Start creating today, whatever it is you have been thinking about creating. Now is your moment!
– Heather aka your Confidence Creator