The introductions of more of our amazing contributing writers continue. Today is Alison’s turn.
There’s a picture of me at 4 years old, bouncing around on our new, ugly, orange 70s couch. I look at that picture and see a little girl full of joy, confidence and innocence.
Fast forward 12 years, and I look at a picture of me at 16, looking uncomfortable in my own skin, squirming in teenage awkwardness.
I look at a picture of me at the age of 32, newly married, happy and glowing.
I hold on to all of these photographs, these visual reminders of the long road, from childhood self-doubt to full-blown adult insecurities to self-confidence.
It has been difficult to shake off years of being told, directly and indirectly, that you’re not good enough, not smart enough.
It has been difficult to accept praise, accolades and wins.
My self-confidence was almost non-existent.
What emerged from this sea of not-good-enough-ness was a determination to prove them wrong. Them – the naysayers, the doubters.
At university, I burned the midnight lamp. I worked part-time. I joined university committees. I was aiming to fly high. I did well enough, but I fell short of my own ambitions, which were driven by the desire to prove them wrong.
Early on in my career, I accepted a sales job I knew deep in my heart I wasn’t cut out for. In a twisted fashion, I accepted the job thinking if I excelled at something I didn’t like, then I’d prove them wrong. It didn’t work, I was miserable.
Stumbling into public relations two years into my career was the best thing that happened to me. The job came easily and naturally to me. The long days and late nights paid off by way of salary increments, promotions and more responsibilities. I was enjoying myself. I was good at what I was doing.
And I realized I was no longer trying to prove them wrong. I was no longer seeking approval. I was no longer vying for validation.
I was doing what I was good at, what I was happy with, FOR me.
I was finally good enough. I was finally me.