We all kind of know this implicitly, but in the storm of everyday life, we can forget that so many of our problems with what we’re doing stem from a lack of confidence.
Now, there are those who believe that women’s issues aren’t important. That in a global context of poverty, environmental damage, war, and Donald Trump, feminism should just shut up and go home.
But in my everyday life, feminism has been my motivating force. One day in university, I was reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and it was like a lightbulb came on in my head.
I was only to recognise its significance years later, but I realised that it was significantly better to be a man in this world.
Being a woman, well, sucked.
And that could have been the end of the story. Oh well, that’s nice, move on, get a job, get married and so forth.
Except that it’s so hard to succeed in the world when every major media message, every film, every book, tells women that they are only good enough to serve men – all the while looking very pretty. You’d better not be too fat, or too loud, or too assertive, because society will crush you.
So when I thought that I wanted to be a freelancer, almost as soon as it occurred to me, I dismissed the thought as ridiculous. That was for other people. Happiness was for other people.
I was only good enough to take the path that society had handed to me – which, given my background and upbringing, was still a damn good one.
But I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to forge her own path. I get a twisted delight from taking the road that no one has gone down before, and while there are plenty of other freelancers out there, there are none quite like me.
No one else is running my freelance writing business, or working with my clients, or building my brand. And I am so grateful for that.
Yet although I am doing exactly what I want to do, confidence is my biggest struggle. It’s not the lack of money that comes with just starting out in a new business, or lack of clients, or uncertainty – it’s that pervasive belief that I am not good enough and never will be.
If you’ve never experienced that feeling, you will dismiss feminists as irrelevant harpies that are just trying to grab a bigger slice of the societal pie for themselves. The true meaning of feminism is actually just equality. It means giving everyone the equal chance to fulfill their potential.
If it hadn’t been for all those women, living and dead, around the world who promoted the message that other women can – and should – be successful, I probably wouldn’t have even had the guts to try.
So now it’s a daily struggle with confidence, or lack of it. Building confidence takes time, and it’s incredibly hard.
But there are some things you can do:
- Challenge unhelpful beliefs like “I’m not good enough!” which run on autopilot in the background of your mind
- Get outside your head and go to events in your industry. Make it real. Talk to people who will reinforce that you’re doing good things.
- Don’t compare. We’ve heard it all before, but comparison really is the death of joy.
- Remember, you’ve had the courage to try, which barely anyone else has. Even if you fail miserably, you still win.
- Focus on the positives. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life. Or, if that’s too hard, just pick three things.
- Spend time with people who make you feel good. There are some special people who, after you spend time with them, make you feel about a foot taller.
- Remember, the universe works in mysterious ways. You no more know that you’re going to fail than you’re going to succeed. Don’t assume nothing is happening because you don’t see the evidence for it right now.
- Put in the work and you will see the results pay off. Half of confidence is simply preparation, and it’s not enough to sit around and hope. Do your research, put in the time, and you will have every reason to feel confident.
Feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about freelancing. Or, you can check out my professional freelancing website.
Catherine Heath is a freelance blogger and copywriter for B2B SaaS companies. She’s obsessed with the field of personality systems theory, and she also likes drawing, yoga, meditation and being in nature.