The C word

The C word.


Have it & you’ve got a protective buffer against life’s many challenges. Lack it & every challenge, like a colleague’s careless cutting remarks, stings more than a scraped knee.


Some people look like they’re oozing it, but often they’re only faking – like a house built without a foundation, they blunder about with hollow boasts which are often coupled with snide remarks about others.


Because if you don’t have it on the inside you gotta get it on the outside. Translation: if you don’t possess the C word, people often look for it in the wrong places, substituting having to have possessions instead of this thing.


The C word.


Can you guess what I’m talking about?



So many people struggle with self-confidence due to one reason or another. It would be great to get suggestions on how to improve such issues for both men and women….


So began the email from Aska, a reader who asked me to write about being confident & comfortable in one’s skin.


Lovely readers know that I take your requests seriously & this one has been rattling around in my brain like loose change in my pocket. My curiousity was piqued & I kept coming back to the issue, thinking about what could I write.


Fast forward as I sat cramped in our tiny plane, hot & dusty but very happy after a two day learning forum in the Maasai Mara.   My face felt like I’d grown a second skin- only this one was made of dust & dirt. Loose hairs, that had come undone from my pinned up hair, swirled around my face, refusing to lie still, while I fanned myself to keep cool.


I couldn’t help the grin that crept across my face as I recalled our last two days – learning on overdrive, coupled with siting’s of gorgeous wild animals while on the way to from the lodge we’d made our home. After driving from the lodge to the airstrip to fly back to Nairobi, having sited a pride of lions, I was feeling the glow of contentment.


Our tiny plane was lined up on the dusty airstrip, waiting in a queue to take off (we’d chartered several planes for our group). As I let my mind wander, I glanced beside me at Alice, one of the participants from the learning forum.


She looked relaxed, poised & regal. I smiled & said ‘you look beautiful.’  I fully expected her to make an excuse or to half-heartedly accept my compliment.  Because that’s what we often do. Oh not really. Oh but…. Not this old thing.
Or we simply turn away, tongue tied, embarrassed & unsure what to say.


Why is it that compliments catch our tongue & hold it firmly?

Why do we often disbelieve the compliment giver?


Because our confidence is shaky.


Not this time however. Alice turned to me & without any arrogance, like simply stating a fact; she said ‘that’s because I am a beautiful woman.’


Flashbulb burst in my brain. I had my blog post. But would she be willing for me to write about her?


I shared my idea with her & she quickly agreed to be the subject of this blog post & what’s more, she let me take her picture.


Meet Alice.

After taking her picture I told her I thought she looked poised & powerful.  Can you guess her response?


She turned once again to me & in a low, modulated, confident voice, said ‘that’s because I am a powerful woman.’


Bingo. Point made.


The next time self-doubt gnaws its way into your heart, or worry weighs your shoulders down, or your brain is on an endless repeating loop of how NOT great you are take an imaginary (or not!) feather duster & brush those unhelpful, uninvited thoughts away.

And remember:

  • you ARE powerful (even when you feel small & weak)
  • you ARE good enough (even when you feel incompetent & incapable)


Ask a friend or trusted colleague what you’re great at & remind yourself about all you have to be confident about.


And celebrate your wins.


Because when you’re confident, you’re more able to share your unique gifts & talents with the world. And all deities know, we all need more of that.


Your turn. Take action


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One Response to “The C word”

  1. Embracing the moments that matter | Rock.Paper.Scissors.Blog Says:
    April 26th, 2017 at 5:01 am

    […] An email of thanks from one of my readers (who I happen to know & who is unbelievably talented) arrived recently: “I just started my new position as managing director of xyz on the executive team. It was announced to the whole team and boy, was I overwhelmed with “imposter syndrome”, definitely wondering if the team thought of me as incompetent &/or incapable! My biggest leadership challenge has always been dealing with the AME (African Male Ego). This came right on time, thank you so much. I will use my feather duster). […]

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