Facing my Fears: Developing Self-Confidence workshop with Barclays Bank

It’s not often you’ll find me in London’s financial district Canary Wharf. Let’s just say, for a girl whose forte was never mathematics, the area can be a little intimidating – even for a go-getting-confident urban girl. However the “Developing Your Self Confidence” workshop offered by Barclays Bank in their all-glass modern skyscraper Head Office located at 1 Churchill Place, couldn’t have come at a better time – or venue. The workshop might not have completely cured the fears which hinder my confidence, two of which are; dealing with numbers, and men in suits (though latter is negotiable), it did give me lots food for thought which I can apply in the early stages of “Let’s do Lunch” (coincidentally a month old on the day of the workshop!)

Developing Self confidence BarclaysDeveloping Self Confidence workshop was facilitated by charming and very engaging Adam Bealey, Relationship Director at Barclays, accompanied by staff of the bank from various departments. During the workshop, attended by 20 – 25 young aspiring entrepreneurs, we were given the task to discuss a fear we’ve overcome, which we brainstormed in smaller group. Mine was “fear of rejection/ asking for help“… You can imagine the amount of the setbacks carrying this burden has had on my path to success! I’m guessing it steams from my childhood or teenage years, as to this date I’m terrified of asking even my father for help. I literally go into “flight or flight” mode in some instances – you’d think I was facing a 7 foot predator (which perhaps our cave-man ancestors would justify) – not to prospect of hearing the words “No”. So I guess I might not have completely overcome this fear, however with my 30’s drawing ever closer, it’s important I learn from the mistakes of my 20’s; many of which would have been avoided had I just asked.

“Is it a pride thing?” Georgie, a musician with ambition to set up his own recruiting firm, asked me of my fear. Perhaps there is some element of pride, I admit. However I’d say it’s more a sense of “self-protection” to minimise disappointment from others (far better if I disappoint myself and dwell in self-pity, I’d managed to convince myself for years – make that a decades!) I concluded it’s something within I’d have to challenge face on. And one of the ways I’m going about it is to have an aim and stay focused on how asking for help can get me there (and considering how impatient I am) – faster!

Failure is part of it (progress). It’s in-built towards the process of getting where you ant to be.” – Georgie shared in our group discussion.

Another task we were given was to imagine you can have any super power – what would yours be? Well, this is where I was semi-regretting not taking an interest in saturday morning TV as a kid because then I’d at least be able to apply some thought to the powers superwoman and her colleagues posses! Cartoons aside, I focused on my reality, some of the fears I face about applying for a job or going for an interview. What super-power would I want to help me overcome them? Then it hit me – I’d be chameleon! Not just adapting to a situation type, but as in turbo-charged-chameleon-powers to literally change into someone else! Just imagine some of the prejudices and preconceived judgements many of us face on an everyday basis, let alone at an interview. Be it the fact you’re a woman, person of colour, your social class – anything! Well, I’d want the power to be a chameleon so that I can transform into whoever and whatever expectations an interviewer has of the perfect candidate. So if transforming into a white middle-aged English male gets me the job – so be it (then I’d turn back to being a young black African women and make them ponder on my overnight change – now that’d make great saturday morning TV!)

Of course, being a chameleon (minus changing who you are), is an adaptation most of us use in different situations, especially interviews. It’s about having the skill to be versatile in your environment, and in most cases doing the research so you “know your stuff” when you’re at an interview, regardless of your race or gender.

Some inspirational quotes shared on developing self-confidence:

Never bend you head. Always hold it high. Look the world in straight in the eye” Helen Keller – first deaf and blind person to graduate with Honours.

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self confidence is preparation” Arthur Ashe – African-American World No. 1 tennis player denied entry into apartheid South Africa.

Being in a room full of young business owners, all of whom including myself are Princes Trust Business course alumni, offered a great networking opportunity. I was really impressed by Victoria Omobuwajo, a young business owner of Sunmo Plantain Crisps who brought in samples of her product and placed them by the tea station for attendees to try. Now thats thinking ahead!

Lookout for my blog post on Victoria and Filipe – the Not So Typical Design graphic designer (who I’m already in talks with to design the next part of Lets do Lunch project – the book!)

I’ll be sharing Tips on Developing Self Confidence from the workshop organised by Barclays in another blog post soon!

Would you like The Urban Guide to organise a similar workshop? Get in touch or leave a comment expressing your interest and I’ll aim to making it happen now that I have a contact (make that 2) at Barclays 😉


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