Have you ever noticed that people who achieve their goals have a touch of narcissism? I grew up believing I needed to be very careful about thinking I was more than I am. I turned that into, I am not as good as others. I felt less-than for most of my life. Ironically, I loved being in plays and musicals. As a Junior in High School, I got the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I sang my heart out from start to finish. I grew in my confidence during that experience. I believed I had talent. I had a dash of narcissism.
As a senior, I did not get the lead. While I was auditioning for the part of Sandy in Grease, I sort of freaked out. I knew I wasn’t auditioning well and crumbled. I lost all confidence in myself. My confidence has waxed and waned most of my life. I am my worst enemy. Usually, when I back off from my confidence, it’s because I’m in the shadow of the don’t-think-too-much-of-yourself message. One of my biggest challenges is moving away from “I’m not enough” to “I have what it takes.”
Often, our shift toward confidence is propelled by the encouragement or approval of others. It’s important that we not rely on other’s approval or disapproval of us as our benchmark for how we are doing. But some feedback is necessary or we may move to an inaccurate view on one end or the other of the spectrum. Look at who the messengers are. Get feedback from a variety of trusted people who know your subject-matter. And don’t forget that dash of narcissism.