The most important aspect of my business is confidence!
In fact, confidence is the first thing I wish I would have had when I started my business! I always thought confidence was an unwavering self-assuredness in all you do. I thought confident people had it all together. They knew what they needed to know and then executed that knowledge or skill to get what needed doing, done. I didn’t start my business with an overwhelming dream of conquering the business world. My breaking into the entrepreneurial world isn’t an American-dream-I-am-woman-hear-me-roar kind of story. Mine was quite a bit less exciting than that.
A little over four years ago, I was a working mom with two wonderful young boys and a full-time management job in a large law firm. I worked my 50+ hours per week, volunteered for the PTA and was a devoted Sunday school teacher to boot. I had many balls in the air and was juggling them all. Life was “perfect” and I was confident in my ability as a working mom in the corporate world. Enter a terminal diagnosis for my then 7-year-old. Suddenly those balls didn’t seem so important anymore. So I willingly dropped most of them. And I took extra precaution to cradle that one fragile ball labeled “children.” I devoted 99% of my life to that one aspect of my life. I ate, slept and breathed that diagnosis. I learned more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy than I ever would have wanted. I gave up my career so I could become a caregiver and advocate for my son. Once the dust settled to a “new normal,” I looked around and my life didn’t seem so perfect anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret putting my professional life on hold. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. But what I didn’t realize then was I was also giving up that part of myself that is…well…mine, it’s for me alone. I stopped reading anything that wasn’t related to fundraising, muscular dystrophy or gene mutations. I stopped trying new things, whether that was outdoor activities, technological gadgets or software. It was like I pushed pause on that vital part of my life. What happened? One little diagnosis changed it all. Or did it?
Fortunately it was fairly early on in diagnosis that I decided, while everything in my life had changed, my perfect family and my perfect life did not. Sure it all looked different than what it did just days before. But it was a perfect I was choosing to embrace. By choosing to embrace the imperfect perfection in my life, I was choosing to be confident. But to be confident, I needed more for me. It’s not a selfish need for me. But I needed to dive in and learn and experience the world around me so the me I want to be can thrive. The true me doesn’t do well on the sidelines. And no one and nothing put me on the sidelines but myself. I let fear and doubt take over. I stuffed my confidence in a dark closet and I didn’t even realize it was missing until I desperately needed it.
It was months of going through the motions of setting up my own business before I even opened that closet and found my confidence again. I had to search and I had to want it. And I had to realize CONFIDENTLY that I was going to fail from time to time. And those failures were going to be important lessons to get me where I wanted to be.
And I’m still on that journey to where I want to be. I think I will always be plowing ahead to a future destination of success. But now I can confidently find joy in the journey.
I believe that choosing confidence is something we need to work toward every day. Confidence is not a black and white issue. It has many different levels and many different shades. There are plenty of times when we have to acknowledge that we don’t know something. But confidence is knowing that we are willing to work at figuring it out and making it happen. Confidence is not believing that we are perfect or our circumstances are perfect. Confidence is knowing our individual strengths *and* our weaknesses. And more than knowing them, confidence is accepting both as a critical part of who we are.
There are certain skills that I absolutely ROCK. Those are the skills where I feel like the Virtual Assistant equivalent of Batman. I swoop in with hardly a sound and save the client’s day. Then there are days where I am more like Robin, Batman’s trusty sidekick. I might know *how* to save the day, but dang it, I’m just not experienced enough. Or sometimes, like Robin, I know that Batman can do it better, faster and cheaper. So I throw that Bat Symbol up in the dark and ask my colleagues to do their thing. And you know what? That’s okay. Actually, it’s not only okay…it’s brilliant. It is choosing confidence in me, my colleagues and my field. Building others up can only help you in the long-run. Confidence all around, please!
A big part of my intentional confidence is that I attempt to learn something new every day. Yes, I said EVERY day. Some days, that might be diving in to learn new software or a nifty cool new app. And that new software or app might just be my new thing I learn day after day after day for weeks! Then there are days where my new thing to learn is how to take apart and put back together a mobility scooter that was taken a bit more off-roading, by a group of typical 12-year-old boys, than what it was originally built for. And I will even admit that there are days where my new thing to learn is simply reading a good book on becoming a better me.
Every night I can go to bed knowing that I gave today my all. I tried to learn something new. And I did my best. Of that, I can be confident.
About our guest blogger: Sara Clime is a VA who thrives on building strong relationships, constantly learning new things and “being there” for those around her. For Sara, it all comes down to relationships, integrity, attitude and personal drive.
Learn more about her at TriumphVA.com