Confidence Boot Camp: What’s in it for me?

What’s all the excitement about confidence, and why would we spend an entire month focused on understanding it, building it, challenging it, or figuring out why we struggle so much with it?


Last December, we were conducting a Villa Leadership 3-day program for a group of women leaders working in a United Nations organization near Amman, Jordan. The women were from all over the world, but they were currently serving in duty stations in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan. The diversity of the 28 women in the program was apparent, from background, ethnicity, language, age, style, and dress. Some wore hijabs and some wore jeans. It was a most beautiful mix of feminine power and strength; as they shared their stories and experiences, I was deeply humbled by their willingness to serve people, often at great risk to their own well-being. One woman reported she had to be flown to her remote duty station in Syria, because the roads were controlled by ISIS and the potential for them to be killed was very high. Another said her favorite job was supporting the refugee camps along the borders, where she had seen both intense suffering and incredible resilience of people who had been displaced from their homes.

These kinds of situations were reported with a somewhat everyday quality, like I might describe going to the bank or the grocery store. The courage that was required just to carry out their daily jobs stunned me, and in the evenings I had to really stop to absorb what I had heard during our sessions. My gratitude and deep respect for these women and their contributions grew by the hour.

On the second day, we were conducting an exercise we do at all our programs in which we ask the participants to identify the barriers they face to achieving their goals—career or personal. “What’s getting in your way?” we ask, as we instruct them to write one barrier per Post-it note, and put it up on the wall. We then sort the barriers into categories for discussion.

In every single one of our programs to date, “Confidence” has been identified as the top barrier among all others. This used to surprise us, but we actually expect it now. It often surprises the women themselves, and someone will almost always say, “I thought I was the only one.” But in this program, I actually expected something very different. Maybe “bureaucracy”, or “lack of time”, or “family expectations” would rise to the top of the barriers list, because we had heard already of some of their frustrations in these areas.

I was wrong.

It was “Confidence” once again. I stared at the colorful notes sticking to the wall, and counted to myself from one to eighteen as I repeatedly read the word or phrase, and it didn’t make sense to me. How could these fearless, risk-taking servants of others not feel confident?

“It’s easy to put your life on the line to deliver food to hungry people waiting in a refugee camp,” one woman explained. “There’s just no question about it. You simply do what needs to be done.”

She continued, “It’s not easy, however, to tell your boss you want a promotion or a pay raise. It’s not easy to push back when someone is behaving inappropriately toward you, or motivate your team member who is not doing their job. Sometimes they look at you as if to say, 'Who do you think you are?' And that matches the voice in my head asking me the same thing.”

This is why we are hosting our 30-day Confidence Boot Camp. Confidence is not a static condition. It can change from day to day and moment to moment, and some people seem to access their confidence more naturally and others really struggle with it.  Confidence is related to, but not the same as having courage or bravery, and we need to study it, understand it, and understand our own relationship with it.


We hope that by focusing on confidence for thirty days straight, we will all gain some insights, some self-awareness, and some tools to boost our confidence for everyday access any time we need it. We hope that we will emerge stronger, happier, inspired, and more willing to go after the things that will make our lives better and will make the world a better place. When we get to the end of the thirty days of skills and practice, we’ll step back and see where we’ve come. And we’ll ask you to share your experiences in some fun ways, so we can all learn and grow together. Because gaining confidence requires us to look deeply at ourselves with vulnerability and honesty, and really understand the inaccurate stories we may be telling ourselves.


Prizes for You

To make your journey just a little sweeter, we are going to reward all who’ve enrolled and participated with us in a prize drawing. We will choose three dedicated participants to win an Individualized Coaching Package, worth more than $800 each. You’ll get a professional, personalized assessment with the TTI Success Insights TriMetrix DNA to help you identify your behavioral and communication styles, your motivators and drivers, and your development in 25 workplace competencies. Then you’ll get three 60-minute individual coaching sessions conducted via video conference with me (Merrilee) to help you understand your report, map your career and life priorities, and “explore your next”—position, promotion, pursuit, or leap of faith.

AND! Anyone who is enrolled in Confidence Boot Camp is eligible to get $500 off a special October tour in Tuscany, led by Lisa Condie, author of the book, I Found Myself in Tuscany, and owner of Find Yourself in Tuscany. Lisa is one of our expert contributors during our month of confidence, and we would all love to join her in this exciting adventure.

If you haven’t signed up to join us at Confidence Boot Camp, do it now. You can join anytime during the month, but if you start today, you’ll be right on track.

See you on the course!