Back to the Basics: Self-Confidence Tips for New AdventuresSep 06, 2023
Welcome back from what I hope was a long summer for you. For me, it was far too short. I hope you’ve had a chance to de-stress and unwind or have a little vacation time away from the grind. We all need a chance to recharge our batteries before we head into a new cycle of work.
At universities, this is a time where we ramp up our workload as the students return to school. This past week, I’ve been attending a lot of orientation events, welcoming new students to campus. I can feel their excitement, fear and anxiousness in the air when I greet them. It’s a cacophony of emotions all across campus. It reminds me of what it’s like to start over all again. When I gave the orientation speech to our incoming class, I reminded them of a few things that you’ve heard me say before, but maybe could use a reminder of.
As we begin a new cycle of blogs, let me start with one for those of you who are starting a new adventure, or having a chance to walk through a new door and reinvent yourself just like the 4,000 young adults beginning their academic pursuits at Wilfrid Laurier University this fall.
Self-Confidence 101: You Got This!
First, it’s okay to feel scared, that’s normal. Lots of folks feel the exact same way you do. Maybe you’re a little nervous or battling your own inner talk of self-doubt. You might be surprised to know that even those with the puffed-up chests and loud voices that take up all the energy in the room are likely worried about whether they’re fitting in.
Normalize your feelings.
Take a deep breath and go to your mantra, “You got this;” “I can do hard things;” “It’s my time to shine,” for example.
Second, nobody does anything alone. Be intentional about building a community. Find a friend. Make someone else feel like they matter and belong. It doesn’t take a grandiose gesture to create community, but it also doesn’t happen by accident.
Think of creating your community as a series of micro actions like:
Saying, “Hi,” on the sidewalk, looking at others in the eye, inviting someone to your lunch table, sitting beside someone in the boardroom.
They can all be the simple steps that make others feel included. You don’t have to find your way by yourself. There are others who’ve gone there before. Tap into way-finders or mentors and make them a part of your community.
Next, take a moment to remember what excites you.
What are you here to accomplish? What is your long-term aspiration? Have a goal. It will serve you when your motivation wanes.
Take the time to clearly articulate now what it is you are here to achieve. Write it down, and check back along your journey.
Remember, it’s your chance to reinvent yourself.
Who you were in your previous job or school, does not have to be who you are today.
You can change the way you dress. You could decide to start saying yes. You can change the company you keep or where you sit in the classroom or at meetings.
A friend of mind changed his email from Michael to Mike as a way of starting fresh when he got to a new job. You get to build your reputation in your new environment. If there is baggage from your past life, you are the only one holding onto it. Embrace the new role and the opportunities that come with it.
This new adventure doesn’t have to be perfect or forever. The whole point of adventure is that you can choose if you want to go further, or if you’ve had enough.
Finally, savor it.
Sometimes we go into new things trying so hard to be perfect, that we forget:
You chose this. Trust your judgement. Savor this moment. Soon enough it won’t be new and shiny or scary anymore. Whether it’s your university career or a new position, you’ll likely move on one day. Make the most of it so you’re better prepared for the next opportunity.