Confidence and How to Get It

Let’s talk about confidence. What does confidence look like? You know that person, that person who walks in a room and they just seem to own it and you’re thinking, “What? Where do they get all that confidence?”  Or that person who decides to start a new business and you’re thinking, “How do they even consider starting a business?” Where does confidence come from and if you want more confidence, how can you get it? We have all had success in our lives. Okay, I’ll go first. For me, my first huge success that I really remember past learning my name, address, telephone number and tying my shoes to be able to get into kindergarten, was in second grade. I really wanted to learn how to tell time. I don’t know why, but it was a really big deal for me and I really wanted to learn to tell time.  When I finally did learn to tell time, I got my first wristwatch for my birthday in second grade!

Learning to tell time was a big deal for me. I can tell time on the clock with Roman numerals, with regular analog numerals and on a digital clock!  I know what time it is. I really have this time telling thing down. As a matter of fact, if I’m baking a cake for my baking business, I can go in the other room and watch TV and I kind of intuitively know that the timer’s about to go off. I’m really into clocks and knowing what time it is. It was a success and if I’m having a really bad day and I’m thinking, “Oh, nothing’s going right”, I can think, “Oh, but I know how to tell time!”

Saying that I learned how to tell time sounds really stupid, but sometimes you just need that one little thing. If you can keep track of some of the successes that you’ve had, then it helps you when the going gets tough.  Take a minute jot them down so that when the days are rough you can remind yourself of positive things.  When things don’t go your way, just know that you have done things well. 

Recently I was making a cake. A friend of mine ordered a devil’s food cake with seven-minute frosting.  She had never had seven-minute frosting, so she was very excited to try it. If you’ve never made seven-minute frosting, it is a cooked frosting made in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  You beat egg whites, sugar and water until they become silky smooth and look like marshmallows clouds.  It’s amazing. You take a bite and it melts on your tongue like a melting marshmallow will. It’s amazing. Did I say that already?  So, my friend had never had it and said, “Yeah, that’s what I want. A devil’s food cake was seven-minute frosting”. 

About a week before needing to fulfill this order, I had been sick and I went to the doctor. I said, “I’m really, really busy. I can’t be sick. And I know this is just viral. I know it’s just a cold, but maybe a steroid would help”. The doctor checks me out and says, “Oh, well your little viral infection has turned into a full-blown sinus infection and you need antibiotics, steroids and cough medicine.” I was like, wow, I didn’t even know I had a cough.  I go to the pharmacy and pick up all my prescriptions and guess what? I proceed to stay up till two and three in the morning, the whole entire week because of steroids AND I’m wide awake around seven in the morning, just poof, eyes open, wide awake.

The good news is I was very busy that week because it was Valentine’s week. I had a lot of orders so it worked out really pretty well because I was able to get a lot done.  Valentine’s day arrived. I wake up early in the morning. I bake the cake. It comes out beautifully. It’s a three-layer devil’s food cake. I’m so excited. It’s perfect. I start the frosting. Sometimes it can be a little grainy so I am going to make a simple syrup instead of trusting that the sugar will fully dissolve. A simple syrup is just dissolving sugar completely in water, typically warm water until it’s totally clear. That way I won’t risk my seven-minute frosting being grainy, so I’m really excited. I pull out the cookbook, my Betty Crocker plaid cookbook, look at the recipe, mix up my simple syrup and I go about my day. I had 40,000 things to do and along about three o’clock in the afternoon, I am ready to put together this frosting for this cake and at 3:30 I have to go pick up my niece, Addi at the golf course and take her home because I agreed to play chauffeur if she played golf.

I hate golf by the way. If Addi wanted to play golf, I would help on the take and pickup thing. So, seven-minute frosting and how long should it take? Seven minutes. All right. I get my water on the stove. I gather my ingredients, egg whites and simple syrup. I pour it all in the bowl. I turn on the mixer and my egg whites just grow into bubbles and bubbles and more bubbles and more bubbles.  I reached behind me and I grab another bowl and a spoon and I start spooning out the extra bubbles. They’re everywhere. I don’t know what the problem is. I’ve never seen seven-minute frosting look like this. I turn everything off. I washed my hands. I go pick up my niece and tell her I’ve got a total catastrophe going on my stove, and she was like, “Oh, Aunt Jennifer, I hate that for you.”  I drop her off, really appreciating her empathy. I go home, dump everything in the sink, wash it all up and start over. I’ve now texted my client to say, “Hey, running a little late with your cake.”  “That’s okay.” she says, “no problem.”  I start over. Well, this time I don’t have a beautiful simple syrup, but I’m kind of hopeful that I’ve got the sugar dissolved sufficiently.

The exact same thing happens. The EXACT same thing. I have egg white bubbles everywhere. I’m spooning them out as fast as I can. This has never happened. The first time I made seven-minute frosting I was eight or nine years old with my mom. I’ve made this. Oh, what? What has happened? Okay, fine. Dump it all out again, but you know what? I have confidence. I have confidence because I know I can make this frosting. I know I can do this. I wash the dishes.  I’m ready to start it AGAIN. I look at the recipe AGAIN. What am I missing?

Seven-minute frosting calls for one and a third cups sugar and half a cup of water. 

I was making it with one and a third cup water and half a cup sugar!!! That’s why it wasn’t coming together. So, I start over with the proper amounts of sugar and water.  Miraculously, in about seven minutes, my frosting comes together. It’s smooth.  It’s silky.  It’s beautiful, white and shiny. It’s gorgeous. If you follow the recipe correctly, you have a much better chance of success. Had I not had confidence in my abilities to make this seven-minute frosting, I could have just called the client and said, I’m sorry, something came up. I cannot fulfill your order. But since I had made it before, I had confidence that I could figure it out. I could make it and it would be delicious.  I would make it until it was absolutely perfect.  In the end, the cake was beautiful and wonderful.

I was talking to a girlfriend and said, you know, I tried that frosting, not once but twice. Finally, third time, I got it. Guess why that happened?  It was because I had inverted how much sugar, how much water, and she said, “Jennifer, that’s what happens when you’re on steroids and don’t sleep all week. Oh my gosh, you cannot function without sleep”. The confidence that I had from having done it in the past helped me overcome my sleep deprived steroid state. I didn’t even go into ‘roid rage.  I had the confidence that I knew I could make it happen. 

You have more abilities than you think you do. What you need to do is list your successes and remind yourself of what you can do well, what you’ve already accomplished, and know that you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. You have the ability to seek out the knowledge you need if you’re lacking it, and ask for support it that’s what you need. You’ve got this!

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