3 Ways I Developed Confidence As A Teenager

The following is an excerpt from Episode 1 of the “Raising Girl Shaped Flames” podcast. If you’d like to hear the full episode, you can catch it here and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasting goodness!

A key reason why Girl Shaped Flames’ focus is on teenage girls is because I do believe it is a key – and in fact science tells us – it is a key developmental period of time in their lives.  And the work that is done while they’re teenagers on themselves to develop confidence and courage and resilience is what pays off in the decades to follow. 

And that’s why it’s critical that the work is done now.

Aspects of my youth that built my confidence

So when I was starting Girl Shaped Flames, I looked back on my youth and I sort of thought, well, what is it that I did that actually helped me become confident and help me weather some of these storms that I’ve been through in my life? 

And I came up with a couple of things:

The first one was trying new things. Through trying new things, I was developing a really clear, or at least much clearer understanding of who I was is a person; what I was good at and what I was not good at. What I liked and what I didn’t like. What I wanted, what I didn’t want; my value system. All of those things were challenged each time I did something that was new – or out of my comfort zone. And so trying new things really became a fundamental part of me just really getting that map that’s in the dark and pulling out a torch and shining on it and lighting up bits of pieces. 

There is a game called Age of Empires, and you start with a map and the map is dark. And every time you move around the map, it lights up, and once you’ve moved into that spot of the map, it stays lit up, and then you can come back to it and have a look at it. And when you zoom back out and see a macro view of the map, you can still see all the bits that have lit up. I don’t think the girls actually need to know what Age of Empires is in order to understand that analogy, but it kind of helps! 

The second thing was being made to continue with things, even if I wasn’t naturally good at them. 

Now my mum will be the first person to tell you that if I am not naturally good at something, I will move away from it fairly quickly. I’m not one to stick around if I suck it something. However, both of my parents put a lot of effort when I was younger into making sure that I did try things that were not natural to me and really committing to continue with activities – even if I wasn’t naturally good at them – was something that helped build my resilience and build that determination within me.

I’ve sort of made this point earlier with the trying lots of new things, but getting out of my comfort zone was really critical to developing my own confidence and courage.  The more I got out of my comfort zone, the wider my comfort zone became, and one key thing I talk to the girls about a lot is their line of perceived ability and how the line is very close to us when we are feeling nervous about something. But the more we try and do things, we push the line outwards and expand our line of perceived ability.

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