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Confidence photo

Sometime in the last 10 or so days, I was told that I had to plan a press conference to announce a new app that the organization that I work for had created. The app has launched in a few other cities and it was our turn to launch it in Chicago. I had very few details, had never really written a press release let alone planned an event of this proportion, and was extremely freaked out and overwhelmed. How was I supposed to do this? How was there any way this would work out?

I sat anxiously at my desk with a pit in my stomach, feeling as though I was set up to fail. There was no way that all the pieces would be able to come together; I hadn’t had enough time or experience or preparation. There was no way I wouldn’t fail at this assignment. Disaster was inevitable.

This might sound melodramatic, and it partially was, but in the heat of the moment, most people have experienced some sort of mild panic and stress in the workplace. I have spoken to people who work in a variety of environments, from hospitals and schools to Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. Even though the type of work these people accomplish on a daily basis differs in many respects, most people can remember and reflect on a moment when stress in the workplace has gotten – or almost gotten – the best of them.

I experienced a few of these moments last week. Still, I went through the motions of everything that I needed to do. I researched how to prep for a press conference online, I asked for a lot of help, I delegated tasks, and I focused on our end goal. Our press event ended up going pretty well and I learned many new skills throughout the few days that I spent on this initiative, including many media relations skills that I am happy to know I will carry with me for the future. However, as cliché as it may sound, the most important thing I learned is the importance of having confidence in one’s abilities.

I’m skeptical. I doubt myself and sometimes other forces around me. I have never been the most overly confident person. I don’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem, but I am rarely the person that thinks that they are the best at things (except directions and knowing ridiculously specific facts about Space Jam.)

This is fine at times – who doesn’t love it when someone is humble and modest? No one wants to listen to someone talk about how great they are at everything because that can get extremely irritating, but at the same time, there are certain moments where you need to have confidence in your abilities and many of those times are the instances when your first instinct is to doubt yourself.

After reflecting on the chaos of last week, I really believe that if you put your mind toward doing something, you can achieve things that you never would’ve thought you could. That undeniably sounds like a line from a Disney movie (which I am definitely not complaining about) but it is something that holds true. The example of what I achieved is small, in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes it is the little things that teach us some of the most important lessons. Even during those times where you want to doubt yourself, push through and remember that it is better to put your energy towards trying to accomplish something than let doubt, worry, and fear get the best of you.

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