In honor of Women's History Month We asked 5 WELL leaders four questions on confidence. How they used, gained and shared confidence with their community. Life's unexpected twists and turns is when our own confidence is challenged. Confidence comes in many forms and sometimes when we least expect it. I was happy to have the privilege of learning how these women experienced confidence through their experiences. But first a little about these WELL leaders.
Travel Consultant and Romance Travel Specialist at Candy's Carefree Travel. Event Planning Committee at WELL
Finance Director for SJC District Attorney's Office and Board Member of WELL
Director of Public Relations at Bethel Retirement for the past 12 years. She is the President of the Stanislaus Senior Foundation and currently on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Compassionate Care.
Owner of Hello Lovely!, a consulting firm, and member of the WELL Education Committee.
1. Share a time where you were afraid but overcame with confidence.
Elizabeth: I set a goal to run a marathon, but was afraid and intimidated by the distance. I began to focus so intensely on how difficult this goal would be to achieve that I let thoughts of fear and failure dominate my mind. My running partner at the time gave me some great advice, she encouraged me to stop thinking about it is 26.2 miles and set smaller achievable goals that I could build on. Achieving those smaller goals gave me the confidence to keep adding the miles and eventually I did run that marathon. When I crossed the finish line I was so grateful that I didn't let my fear talk me out of it.
Lisa: No little girl ever says “..when I grow up, I want to be a step mom” but there I was, and there they were. A beautiful, 7 year old girl and a smiling, 3 year old boy. I was fearful. I was afraid of not fulfilling my role properly. I was afraid if I lost my spouse, I’d have no ties to my children. I was afraid that because of past choices, I didn’t deserve to be a mom. When we made the decision to not add to our family, I receive a lot of outward discouragement about not having a ‘baby of my own’. It was hurtful and confusing, yet I was determined to put all my energy and effort in loving these two that I was instantly blessed with, rather than trying to fulfill status quo. As we stayed the course, remaining true to our decision, I began to learn that my title is not important and that even though I never had the experience of hearing their first infant cry; the end result is the same. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience the unconditional love that only a mother can have for her children.
Carolyn: During one of my first jobs in management, I was faced with the challenge of doing the right thing vs. staying quiet and keeping my job. When the injustices were too many, I risked everything (while shaking and trembling) and stood up for what was right. I had to face many bullies, brokers, and manipulators during that period of time. When I was rewarded with not only keeping my job, but also received a raise and a promotion, I learned that the only way to do things is to do the right thing. If you do the right thing, things will always work out in your favor. I am grateful for that tumultuous time in my life, because I can't be manipulated anymore and I actually enjoy the challenge of disarming bullies. I now greet them with confidence.
2. How has the relationship with the people of WELL helped grow your confidence?
Julia: In June of 2016, I got knocked down pretty hard, and fell pretty hard. The relationships I cultivated in WELL, kept me from falling completely to the bottom. When others learned of my skills and began hiring me, I really felt like I the skills I had to offer were valuable.
Domenica: When you are around people who have the same passion as you, something magical happens. You just feel like you can do anything. Here is the what sets WELL apart: is knowing you have a support system that loves you no matter how imperfect you are and that is the key ingredient to level 10 confidence.
Lisa: It’s allowed me to recognize that I am not alone in my journeys, and the ability to admit I don’t have it all together allows me to focus less on me and more about how I can strengthen others.
3. If you could have one thing to say to instill confidence within women, what would that be?
Carolyn: If I could share one thing to instill confidence in women it would be to be bold, take risks, and invest in yourself.
Lisa: Stand up for your heart. It’s ticking in a way, that only you can understand. Surround yourself with positive and strong and individuals. Don’t let anyone hold you back from being you.
Elizabeth: I think it's important to recognize that everyone at some point experiences fear, never feel like you're the only one. The most confident and accomplished women in history all had times in their journey where they felt fear. The trick is not to let the fear paralyze you. The success stories come from women who move forward through that fear and come out stronger on the other side.
Domenica: Nobody can be you and that is your superpower, walk in that! and I dare you to see what happens.
4. Who is the most inspiring women to you in history or most inspiring women to you?
Julia: Zora Neale Hurston. She. Is. Amazing.
Elizabeth: I didn't have to reach too far back in history to select this modern woman who made a difference. Nora Ephron was an inspirational figure for me personally. A brilliant playwright, journalist, producer and director. She faced her life with such authenticity and perseverance. Her intellect, clear voice and self-effacing style made her both interesting and accessible. She got up when she was knocked down and showed that determination leads to success.
Carolyn: The most inspiring woman to me in history is Eleanor Roosevelt. My grandmother was her secretary while she was the United Nations Ambassador for Human Rights in New York City. She shared with me about how incredible Eleanor was to work for and that her schedule was packed from morning until night each day. Eleanor had to overcome much adversity in her life and yet her quotes are always the ones I find most inspiring. A few of my favorites are below:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
"You must do the things you think you cannot do."
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt