Growing up I was so insecure. Oh lord. Looking back it is painful to relive the horrible fears and awful ways I judged myself.

I went to a private school on a financial scholarship. (My mom was doing the best she could to give my brother and I the greatest opportunities!) Most of my classmates lived on or near Bayshore Blvd (in Tampa). We, however, lived in a lower middle class area south of Gandy Blvd near MacDill Airforce Base. On the rare occasion we would shop for clothes, it always meant one stop-The Kidney Foundation (our local thrift store). I would spend as much time as my mom would allow looking through the racks for brand named ANYTHING. If I could find a Gap, or Esprit or Bongo ANYTHING I would beg my mom to buy it for me. It didn’t have to fit. It just had to have that label.

In addition to oversized, often stain bearing, used clothes, my mom (God love her) would take me to get my hair cut at the Manhattan Beauty School. The students offered seriously discounted rates to practice on real “models”. So yes, I had a mullet. But not the cool kind like tennis pro Andre Agassi. Instead, it was a random beauty school student’s version. Oh and it didn’t go un-noticed to me (or the bullies of my middle school years) that the famous women of my youth did not even wear mullets…it was the men. UGH!

As if those visuals are not enough to segue into my subject for this love letter, let me add one more little gem.

My baby teeth would not come out on their own. So, at age 12, the oral surgeon removed 13 baby teeth assuring us the grown up teeth were waiting to burst through immediately. I spent over a year with braces on my top and bottom four front teeth and no other teeth in my mouth.

I was also tall, flat as a wall and skinny as a bean pole. The kids reminded me every single day.

So, needless to say, I did not have confidence. Ever. At all. Zero. Zilch.

Fast forward nearly 30 years.

I have learned so many things on this journey. Confidence matters. One thing I have come to realize is that confidence is a skill. Many things we think of as characteristics that we either have or don’t have such as confidence, courage, motivation, focus, organization…they are in fact skills! This is great news! With practice, skills can improve.

Driving a car is a skill, right? When I was first learning how to drive, I remember I had to line the emblem on the hood of the 86’ Grand Marquis with the solid white line on right hand side of the lane, just to stay in my own lane! Thankfully, with practice, eventually I became a defensive driver watching out for other’s careless mistakes instead of focusing on that hood ornament and the white line! Phew!

Well, in the same way, practicing the skill you want to achieve requires a decision on your part to stop making excuses. Find the activities that build your confidence. Surround yourself with people who build your confidence. Then be relentless in action.

Confidence allows me to have many moments of genuine peace. Confidence gives me the opportunity to be present in my role as mom, wife, daughter, leader, coach, friend and human being. Confidence is a priority in my life. Focusing on self growth, I discovered some simple action steps I now incorporate daily.

*Exercise at least 4 times per week.
*Eat clean, eat often.
*Drink at least 80 oz of water daily.
*Meditate at least 3 times per week.
*Surround myself with people who are trying to be their best self.
*Talk positively about others.
*Help others.

Not sure where to start? Borrow some of mine. 🙂

I would love to hear about your journey. What steps will you take to practice the skill of confidence?