Sometimes I feel like the universe picks a weekly theme for my life and then proceeds to do everything possible to drill it into my head. Last week's theme: confidence.
I am a confident person. I'm not afraid to put myself into uncomfortable situations, and I'm not afraid of failing. At times, though, I do begin to doubt myself and what I'm capable of. I also don't give myself enough credit at times. Sometimes it's nice to climb onto my hamster wheel of self-pity and indulge in the sweetness of self-doubt. But, I know that I have to get off eventually and move forward.
The Universe has been kind enough these past few days to reaffirm my belief in, well, myself.
The first lesson came from a class that I'm taking on Skillshare called "Become Your Personal Brand: How to Become the Expert You Never Knew You Were." (I really do love Skillshare.) The class is taught by Ishita Gupta, a TEDx speaker and founder of Fear.less magazine, an online magazine about living without fear and being confident.
The fact that the branding class is taught by a confidence coach is one thing… But we also had to answer tough questions about our "brand" – what's our story, what are our "superpowers," and what do we want to fix in the world. These questions forced me to think deeply about what I hope to achieve as an individual, a businesswoman, and a writer. Here are my answers.
What is my story?
(Good thing I already figured this out in my "About Me" page…)
I am an experience junkie. That means that I’m addicted to trying new experiences and finding ways of making it happen. I am an entrepreneur, artist, writer, traveler, and student. I’m also 19 years old.
I love telling stories, and this blog is a way for me to tell mine. My story is one about shaping my own experiences and sampling everything that life has to offer.
My blog, TheNewAppetite.com, is a public diary of my successes, failures, and adventures along the way. I also hope to tell the stories of remarkable young people – the movers and shakers of our generation – who are changing the world by taking the road less traveled. This isn’t just a lifestyle blog. This is a blog for those who believe that age does not restrict. It liberates.
What do I want to fix in world?
My tag line is: “My name is Nina, and I believe in discovering new oceans.” I want to empower other young people, especially those around ages 17 to 24, to be confident enough to seek out new and challenging experiences. Sometimes it just nice to hear someone else's story, hear their voice, and see how they're coping with similar challenges in their own way.
Why do I want to do this?
I’ve been a passionate and ambitious person all my life, but I use to lack the extra “boost” of confidence needed to be exceptional. After going through a personal journey and a lot of self-reflection in my last few years of high school, I have come to embrace myself and who I am as a person. I've chosen to "step into the fullness of who I am." By learning acceptance, I'm confident enough now to pursue my interests (they are quite bountiful), explore the world, and grow into a well-rounded human being.
Who is my tribe?
My audience is young people who want to live life fully and refute common age assumptions. Right now, they doubt themselves, are comfortable with the status quo, or lack the confidence needed to achieve greatness. They have big dreams but are afraid of pursuing those dreams at a “young” age because it’s not the norm. Their weakness is listening to what “others say” instead of what “I believe.”
My tribe worries about being "realistic" and fitting in, knowing that the easier choice to make is to fit in instead of stand out. They are young people who need that extra boost of motivation. They want to hear from someone that they can relate to – someone who’s experiencing these same emotions but is still paving her own way through life.
What’s unique about my brand and myself?
I am an individual who strays from the norm – even my life story is unconventional; I was born in Vietnam and moved to Texas when I was 5. My passions vary immensely and range from business, kickboxing, salsa dancing, to linguistics. Even my college experience is unique: I am studying French, advertising, Portuguese, and entrepreneurship at the University of Texas.
Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to have numerous state-side and international travel experiences; in fact, I will be going to Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, this summer to learn Portuguese.
A recurring theme of my brand is that I am fascinated with all expressions of the human experience. That ranges from simply talking to people, reading books, to appreciating art.
What are my superpowers?
I have the confidence and courage needed to try new experiences, as well as the willingness to do what is necessary to manifest these experiences.As a writer, I try to be as honest, genuine, and truthful as I can when speaking of my successes and failures.
A less obvious superpower of mine is the ability to communicate clearly and articulate my thoughts – something that is "uncommon" for a 19 year old.
The branding exercise was an intense self-reflection, but it helped me to outline my path. I want to help others, and I'm going to do it by telling my story in hopes that it will add value to other people's lives.
However, the very first thing that I need to do is be confident enough to give myself the credit I deserve. I need to fully comprehend how "impressive" it is to be doing what I'm doing at this age. Getting feedback from a classmate and new friend really helped me put things in perspective: "Nina, it takes a great deal of time to comprehend the significance. I've kept the mindset of 'I'm not doing anything amazing! Anyone can do this stuff!' but the fact of the matter is, everyone ISN'T doing it. And even if they are, it's not in the same way as you are."
During the class I also got to ask Ishita some questions over the phone. It was definitely a confidence booster to hear that I just need to keep on doing what I'm already doing: being myself.
Second lesson from the universe…
I really like talking to people. I have this natural tendency to be drawn to storytelling. To me, there's nothing more interesting than meeting new people and hearing about their life experiences. Confidence ties into this because if I was too shy to put myself out there – and not be ok with feeling a bit uncomfortable at first – I would miss out on hearing these amazing stories and getting to know the people behind them.
Last week, Life threw three really cool people into my life. I think Life was basically saying, "Here you go Nina. For being confident, your reward is awesome company." Thanks, Life.
Lastly, the theme of confidence popped up in a place that I least expected: modern dance. I had an essay to write for my contemporary dance class based off the book, "The Art of Making Dance" by Doris Humphrey. It's a classic book published in the 1960's about choreography. There was a quote in the book that said, "The dancer who moves with confidence will command our attention because he is projecting his assurance…In other words, if you believe in yourself, everybody else probably will, too."
I really think that the Universe wants me to succeed in life. It puts opportunities right in front of me. I just need to be confident enough and trust my intuition to recognize them as opportunities.
There are times in my life when I make a series of small – seemingly insignificant – decisions that end up having life-changing repercussions later on. Right now, I have this intense feeling of having made such decisions recently. Something really big and wonderful is in the process of snowballing for me. I have absolutely no idea what it is, but I'm excited to find out. Steve Jobs said that "you connect the dots looking back," and I feel a huge wave of goodness is going to wash over me soon…possibly in the coming months? I guess I'll just have to wait and see.
But for now, I'm going to trust in myself, my "superpowers" and the ever prevailing truth that everything happens for a reason.