Don’t know if it was fate or karma or what but there are just times when my real world and dance world collide and I go from being on one side of the equation to the other. This morning, I get to work after posting about my own crisis of confidence and I’m talking with someone who works for me. She’s one of the newer people but has a great deal of experience from other jobs and is very bright but lacks the confidence in her own judgement. Today, she was asking me a question and we finally got around to the real issue which was that someone else had told her she was wrong and that person was more experienced and she didn’t know what she was doing. Basically, I told her that her problem was in relying too much on others and not trusting her own instincts. There are many shades of grey in what we do so you could probably get 5 different answers if you asked 5 different people and none of them would be “wrong”. Through the tears, she made a comment that maybe she didn’t belong in this job and so I listed off the things she had done and her skills and basically said if I didn’t think you could handle it, I wouldn’t have hired you in the first place.
I’m doing all this while thinking to myself “how does this person not know or trust her own abilities” How can she not look back at what she’s accomplished and realize that she does belong here. I got to the point in the conversation where I said that she just needed some more confidence in herself and the irony alarms started going off in my head and I had to stop for a minute. Am I just a total hypocrite? How can I talk to someone about confidence when I’m so messed up myself? The rationalization part of my mind was all over it with various reasons why “my situation is different”. But I wonder why it is that I can see the potential in others and not so much in myself. How can I be the person at work who is optimistic and supportive and then be the same person who tears myself down at a lesson if I mess something up or don’t learn something quickly enough. I guess it is always easier to see the good in others than in yourself.
Of course, I know from my own experience that one talk isn’t likely to fix all of the issues. (If I could do that, then I’m really in the wrong business). But the takeaway is that all her doubts and fears were really in her head because she is more than capable of doing the job. And the second takeaway is that everything I said to her is just about the same thing I should say to myself about dancing. At least it will give my something to think at the lesson tonight.