Be confident. What does it mean to be confident?
Confidence is subjective to every person, but by definition it is the state of being certain about the truth of something. It is a feeling of belief in oneself and faith in one's abilities.
Confidence is both an internal and external practice. We can feel confident and we can look confident and we can even do both at the same time. People say “you gotta talk the talk, to walk the walk,” and this jives right alongside with confidence. The saying may be a clique, but nonetheless it is in an effort to establish internal and external confidence.
“You gotta talk the talk to walk the walk ”
A moment that I think about often is the time I auditioned for a Broadway musical. In 2017, I went to Chicago to do a few college dance auditions and in that same weekend, an audition for Frozen the Broadway Musical was happening. Naturally, I signed myself up and ladies and gents let me tell you about this experience!
On the day of the audition, I waited in line outside the building with about forty other dancers. The casting directors were collecting resumes and headshots, handing out audition numbers and directing people to the studio. To me, everyone looked the part and I probably stuck out like a sore thumb. When I walked into my audition studio I was practically greeted with the front line of the Rockettes. Dancers were scattered about stretching, warming up, checking themselves out in the mirror, as you do. I have to admit that the girls I met during this process were kind and genuine, but at first glance they were intimidating. I was nervous. I felt like a kid after eating a box full of twinkies and drinking a redbull.
The audition went like this: the choreographer teaches a piece, the dancers learn it and are given time to practice a bit, then after a certain amount of time the dancers perform the piece for the casting directors. The moment I had to practice the choreography, is the moment I reflect on most.
I remember practicing the choreography in the mirror in the front corner of the room still feeling extremely nervous. The choreography wasn’t that hard but for some reason, I felt like something was off. I had no desire to perform the piece, and I had no desire to be compared to people that were nothing like me. Notably, I LOVE to entertain people. I’m proud to say that I am the friend who does a cartwheel in the middle of the grocery store on the whim of a dare. So to be missing that feel before a performance felt weird. The challenge wasn’t the choreography; it wasn’t the intimidation of the other dancers; it wasn’t the feeling of being underprepared. What challenged me was the fact that I couldn’t cultivate my confidence.
The other dancer practicing with me had been in a few auditions and you could tell she knew what she was doing. She dressed sharp and said all the right things to the casting directors. She was making all the right moves to succeed and I admired her for that. Something she mentioned to me was that, “if you believe it, you’re going to be it”. She said that if you imagine yourself being the person you want to be, and you begin to practice how to be that person, then eventually you WILL be that person. In other words, she said that by having faith in your ability, you will radiate confidence. In that moment I recognized that I wanted to practice to be the person that could go to an audition and genuinely enjoy herself. I wanted to be the one who went to a job interview with the intention to learn something. And I wanted to be the person that did something to gain from the experience. Practicing being internally confident will eventually lead to a radiance of confidence.
My biggest take away from that audition was this, “you gotta talk the talk to walk the walk”. It is important to support what you say with actions that match the words. From that day on I promised myself to do my best to be certain about the truth of my intentions. I wanted to establish a confidence that I truly felt on the inside, so I began to make choices that reflected that desire.
I appreciate these experiences with people. I appreciate when people share their insight on life. Unfortunately, I never saw that dancer ever again, but I will never forget about the advice she gave me. She may never know it, but she placed a pin in my journey. I reflect on this moment because it marks a time when I learned an essential life lesson, which is to have confidence in yourself and be certain that this confidence is true.