Honest Confidence

Self-Awareness, Humility, and Integrity. They are at the heart of Honest Confidence, a type of confidence that can inform how one genuinely acts and moves through the world.

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Graduate school is notorious for being a time when young academics are beset with insecurity and struggles with the imposter syndrome. While I certainly had my own experiences of questioning and doubt, I was also approached by many people with the question, “How are you so confident that you are willing to speak out and do what you want?”

The question was raised often enough that I started to really wonder, “Am I more confident than most? If so, why?”

“Honest Confidence and the Lies of the Best” has continued to play a big role in my life. I’ve shared versions of it with classrooms of high school and first-generation college students, with women in STEM and other fields that are dominated by men. I’ve returned to it as my career has taken unexpected turns and presented me with surprising new opportunities. And I think about it now as I embark on yet another public, and very personal, project.

This concept is important to me for many reasons, including the fact that it holds a complicated personal history since it was developed and publicly shared at a time in my life when I was fighting to maintain my own sense of self, self-esteem, and self-confidence. I won’t go into detail on any of that now (I’ve written some additional reflections about it before here), but know that honest confidence continues to be one of the most empowering concepts for me and how I live my life.


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