How to overcome your lack of confidence and believe in yourself - Allina's story

In The Nine to Five with Stacey Dooley on BBC iPlayer, Stacey takes five school leavers into four different industries that are crying out for young workers. They each get to spend two days doing the ultimate work experience. If the teens do well in the jobs they are given, Stacey rewards them with the national apprenticeship wage at the end of each day. But she also deducts money for poor performance, and so those who don’t make the grade can come away empty handed.

Here, Stacey reflects on the experience of 17-year-old Allina who struggled with her confidence, but she worked hard to overcome it and as a result was offered two apprenticeships.

Aiming High

People probably look at me and say I’m a confident person… They see the Stacey that has confronted terrorists, stood her ground in a war zone, challenged people in power - and won over the whole country with a paso doble, a Tango and a Waltz! But just because I display confidence, doesn’t mean that I feel confident all the time. The trick with confidence is mustering up enough of it to set yourself a goal - the rest is down to hard graft, allowing yourself a few nervous wobbles in between and keeping an open mind.

If you’d have told twenty-year-old me that I would be flying around the world making documentaries, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years! But I’ve always worked as hard as I possibly could and I learnt to have confidence in myself - setting my standards as high as I can. Sure, like anyone, I had doubts when I first started my career but I decided to silence those and take any opportunities that came my way. If you try and you fail at first, no-one will care as much as you do and no one will notice as much as you do. So you have to put those feelings to one side and carry on. An American sports superstar once said

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Watch The Nine to Five with Stacey Dooley on iPlayer

Try it and then surprise yourself

At the beginning of Allina’s experience on The Nine to Five she told me she doesn’t set her standards too high in case she fails. Before this experience, Allina often reminded herself of what she couldn’t do. She said she was so scared of making mistakes, she never put herself in the position to make them. She spent most of her time watching TV in bed. Don’t get me wrong - we all love a chill with a cuppa - but how can you get where you want to be if you’re too afraid to go out and chase it?

Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to break the mould and show the world what you are capable of. For Allina, it turns out she was made of some seriously tough stuff! But it took her to set the bar much higher than she previously did to prove that to herself.

Watch Allina’s Bitesize story here!

The big breakthrough in her confidence started, strangely, when she tried her hands at manual labour – something that she had never ever seen herself doing! She realised at that moment she was a hard grafter and she could master things she had no idea she was good at! No doubt, like us all, she made mistakes along the way (I remember her face when the wall she had just built was kicked down by the boss!) but she kept at it. Soon enough, she was fixing mistakes even her mentors didn’t spot!

She went from being someone who spent 16 hours of her day scrolling through social media to being a young woman with two apprenticeship offers and a solid set of GCSEs. Go Allina!

She demonstrated one of the most employable traits in a person – the ability to be resilient and open-minded enough to learn. You will make mistakes. That is life. Don’t be afraid of that - you have to make mistakes to come out the other side. Just like Allina going on to finally build a final perfect wall, success is created from making mistakes and then building a strong foundation on the lessons you’ve learnt.

Allina persevered at getting it right and it paid off.

Pat yourself on the back!

Don’t get me wrong, being self-critical isn’t all bad. But if you can’t celebrate your successes and enjoy it when you achieve things, it won’t be long until you burn yourself out and quit. Sometimes, we all spend too much time seeing where we are going wrong - the hard part is celebrating when you’ve done a good job.

If you’re going to be the best version of yourself then you have to see yourself as a whole - the good and the not so good. Nobody wants to employ the person who spends their interview slating themselves and listing their failures – they want you to bring your positivity into their workplace. So pat yourself on the back when you get a compliment!

Allina impressed her boss by noticing some wiring issues on the van she was inspecting and repairing.

What is confidence?

The dictionary definition of confidence is ‘the belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.’ There’s one word in there that keeps catching my eye: faith. Faith isn’t always about applying your belief in something that’s been tried and tested before - it’s believing in something even if you are unsure if it will work out. You have to believe in yourself because that’s where everything starts - and not just in the things you know you can achieve but especially in the things you are unsure you are capable of. That can be pretty scary. I know that facing a challenge head on and falling short could leave you feeling foolish. But only if you let it. If you keep putting yourself out there, you might surprise yourself. Trust me. Stop hiding behind that barrier, kick it down and move towards a brighter future.

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