“There was really only one criticism.”

This is what my Canisius College professor said to me when reviewing my supervisor’s mid-semester evaluation.

“Please don’t let it be that I work ‘too slow’. I’m really worried that I work ‘too slow’!”

This is what I said to myself while preparing for the terror to come.

She continued,

“She says your writing is strong, but you lack confidence and sometimes come off as unsure of yourself.”

*Sigh of relief*

Now my perceived slowness issue was out the way, but presented to me was a problem far more deeply rooted and important to my future success –assertiveness. I told my dad about the evaluation and he reminded me of an old story.

In 1998 he asked my new preschool teacher about my progress,

“How’s she doing?”

She responded,

“She’s a smart girl, very nice, but I worry her lack of assertiveness will give her a hard time in the future.”

Could it be? Was Miss Donna indeed a prophet? Yes… well at least for my life she was. Failure to recognize my strengths, wanting to be accepted, and the constant worry of ruffling feathers led me to be 21 with the same issue I had at 4.

In working towards fixing the problem, I met with my supervisor who gave me extremely wise words. Paraphrasing, she said confidence has the ability to carry your resume beyond its contents. For example, you go to an interview and are lacking some of the necessary qualifications for a position –does this mean you can’t get the job?

H-E-DoubleHockeySticks NO! Emphasize your strengths. Make it known that you are willing to learn. Be confident. I came off as unsure of myself because I was. In my mind I knew I was a pretty good writer, but I didn’t feel it. Believe in yourself wholeheartedly. My internship advisor, Dr. Irwin, made me aware of a ‘real job’ available in my field. Though I felt under-qualified, I interviewed with a new found confidence and landed it. I am now the Marketing Manager at a beautiful private school in the city where I even have my own office!

Sometimes we will say no to ourselves before (we think) someone else will, to save face. You must realize you are your biggest critic, so once you convince yourself you’re right for the job, you can convince anyone! So go ahead, strut your stuff with grace, all the cool kids are doing it 😉