As I was sitting down to write this week’s essay on finding your inner confidence as a fundraiser for you, my initial approach was to be really prescriptive. Like giving you x number of steps you should take. But where I landed is far less prescriptive and (I hope) still helpful.
You see, I think about inner confidence as being your own personal wellspring (hat tip to those of you who get The Magicians reference).
For those of you who are not sci-fi enthusiasts, allow me to explain. The Magicians is a show that’s best described as Harry Potter meets pop culture. . . maybe? I’m not exactly sure, but I like it. It’s about a group of 20 somethings living on present day earth who happen to be magicians. As the plot develops, their central challenge is to save magic for magicians across the universe. What that actually means is that they have to fix magic’s wellspring, which is where all the magical power originates. Without it, they don’t have magic.
As I said earlier, I think there are ways in which our inner confidence as fundraisers and people comes from a sort of personal inner wellspring.
When it is depleted, we feel less confident and less resilient.
The question becomes — What is the true source of your inner confidence wellspring?
Well, only you can answer that and it’s important to know your answer because fundraising takes courage and confidence. Putting yourself out there in face-to-face fundraising, stepping up into a leadership or management role, or even just putting a new idea forward all take courage and confidence. As we tune into our self-awareness about this, we can help ourselves do our best work.
I can tell you that over the years I’ve realized a few things that contribute to mine.
Saying exactly what I mean to say in writing. It’s an awesome feeling of knowing that I’ve hit the nail on the head with my copy. It makes me feel like a rock star.
Exercising regularly is another thing that I recently realized fills up my inner confidence wellspring. After taking nearly a year’s hiatus from exercise due to health issues, I’ve been able to return to it in the last few months and my goodness, it is a source of boundless, positive energy for me!
Aligning my work with my values. I learned this one the hard way years ago when I took a job only to find out the organization’s values didn’t even come close to my personal values. It really chipped away at me in the time I was there, but I bounced back eventually and it’s become a guiding principle for my life and work.
Conversely, there are things that deplete our inner confidence. Knowing what those are is equally useful because it helps up steer in a better direction.
An important distinction is that these things that contribute to my self-confidence (and yours) are intrinsic. For example, I could say that I draw confidence from encouraging, praising emails I received. But if those stopped showing up and my sense of confidence were tied up in them, I know it would plummet and I would waiver.
So much of our unspoken work as women in fundraising is developing our mindset and with it, our confidence. Believing in ourselves and taking our careers to the next level requires as much courage and confidence as fundraising does.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. When the going gets tough or you just need that extra boost, how do you fill up your inner confidence wellspring?