Okay so, get this: – actually no, picture this: It’s 2016, I’m a freshman in junior college, I work at a shitty McDonalds that I get so close to rage quitting every day. At the time, it’s August and I’ve only been working at McD’s for a few weeks but I’ve pretty much got things down. Now, my anxiety is focused on getting through my first day at college. I’m a bit relieved because I chose to start working weeks before I went to school instead of at the same time. I’d only have to focus on one learning experience at a time.
Okay, now picture this: It’s 2021, I’m a sophomore in a big, scary university. My first day at work starts tomorrow at 11am, sharp. I won’t be starting my sophomore year until the spring semester starts in 2022 because I was late to the admissions party. Still, it’s this same scenario, again. I’ll be mastering one learning experience, a.k.a. my new job, and then moving on to the next experience in the spring, a.k.a. university.
Alright, we’ve looked at the similarities, so let’s check the opposite end of the spectrum. For starters, vibe check. 2016: depressed, scared, unmedicated, haven’t gotten my depression and anxiety diagnosis yet. Also, shitty job no one and their momma’s momma wanna work at. 2021: medicated, diagnosed, braver than before, excited to go to my first shift instead of so nervous I can’t sleep. I have more than just customer service under my belt to help my learning experience. I have a little secret ingredient that I’ve been cultivating for the past 5 years: confidence.
Allow me to tell you of my journey with confidence. It all began when I finally did get prescribed my first prescription for antidepressants. (And let me just do a quick interlude here: um, that doctor made me so mad. He would NOT listen to me and refused to give me more than a 3 months dosage because he believed I was only anxious and depressed because of school) So, I was new to the whole “it takes roughly 2 months for your prescription to fully effect you” thing. My first few weeks were more of a placebo effect because I swore up and down the meds were already taking full effect. I was happy and energetic! And, I was confident! It wasn’t the medication that made me confident, though. It was just me not realizing that it was my choice to be the way I was and am now. Still, there were times where it was all fake. As a friend of mine told me “Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it” and I took that as creating your own confidence. Hey, crazier things have happened. Like I said, there were times where I was fake but it helped me through and now, I feel I’m more genuine. I realized that it’s okay to make mistakes and to just let those mistakes go. I believe I realized this when I was a new server at a pub I used to work at. I worked there as a host for about 2 years and I was approaching my 21st birthday in a handful of months. The owner of the pub wanted me to start dipping my toes into the serving pool and I remember being so nervous that I’d get migraines from the anxious strain I’d put on myself. I rarely get migraines and they’re only brought on by severe or long-term stress. Anyway, I’d make mistakes. I would start the whole cycle of beating myself up over them but then I remember noticing something: I’d accidentally wrung something up incorrectly and the owner had to fix it. 5 minutes later, while I was still thinking about it, he was joking around with the BOH employees. I think that’s what helped me realize that he wasn’t mad about my mess-up. And even if he had been, the anger was gone within minutes. Why? Because it’s not a big deal. I messed up, oh well. If I don’t focus on correcting myself and, instead, focus on my mess up I’ll just keep making mistakes. I won’t learn from anything and with that information, I pushed my way through messy situations and have tried my best to focus on “I’ll be better next time” instead of “Why did I do that?”
In doing this, I’ve become better at whatever I’m doing. Sure, I’m still not the greatest or smartest in situations, but as long as I learn from them, I’ll be okay. In understanding that I’m only human, I’ve grown more confident. We are all human; therefore, we all make mistakes. Growing from those mistakes have made me sure enough that I can deal with change, with newness. I look forward to learning and experiencing life.
I hope that anyone reading this feels the same way. Good luck on whatever you’re doing tomorrow. Remember, when you make a mistake, learn from it and learn from it with confidence.