Every time I do something, I think it is not good enough. This may have stemmed from the constant barrage of "no''s I got when applying for graduate school. Or perhaps being told "no" by every professor I approached for a doctorate degree, even though I had done x, y, and z. I can't pin-point where my mindset went from "Yeah, I've got this" to "Well, I hope someone likes it." I wasn't like this in my undergraduate education... in fact, I can clearly remember my first year roommate telling me people found me intimidating because I didn't ask "what if?" and just charged ahead over subs in Subway. "You don't say, 'Well, if I get to go to Africa,' you say, 'When I go to Africa.' It's unnerving to people." she said. I stayed silent as I munched on my sandwich.
Now? While I still apply for things I don't have a chance for (hello BBC presenter or Homeward Bound), my mindset now is, "I don't think I'm going to get x." Nothing is ever 'good enough' for me; as that line from Hamilton goes, I can never be satisfied.
The Fins United Initiative? Needs improvement.
ConCiencia Azul? Definitely needs some work.
My being "green"? I'm slacking in areas.
Being "fully present" and putting the phone down? Ha. Cute.
My mother a few weeks ago told me I had cojones but also hinted at saying I wasn't humble. "What?!" I thought. I turned to my husband, "Am I humble?" He put down his phone and gave me a weird look. "Of course you are, Mel. I have to write your 'tell me your accomplishments' section in your applications because you can never come up with anything."
It's true. Whenever that question or prompt came up in an application I turned to him because I don't think anything I have done is that special or remarkable. TEDx talk? Thousands of people have done that. Science communication? I'm one of many. Writer? Not like I'm going to be on NYT 'Best Sellers' like... ever. Podcast host? To a small niche community. Next.
Josh shook his head at the comment and returned back to his phone game. This is the man who usually introduced me to people as the girl who rejected a full ride to Oxford; I just introduce myself as Melissa. My friend Sarah assured me I was indeed humble, but the statement continued to nag me.
If she was talking about my self-marketing on Twitter... well, that's a necessity to stay relevant in the age of short attention spans. Twitter is easily where I have the biggest following (as demonstrated by my recent going to IMCC5 in Malaysia where most people I met said, "Are you Melissa Marquez?! I have been wanting to meet you for so long- I'm a big fan.") and where I can have an impact with my voice. Something shifted during that conference for me. Perhaps it is me remembering being overlooked... thinking I was not cool enough to be amongst my peers and wondering if I was invited as an after thought. IMCC5 made me realise not only was I relevant but my voice was needed and wanted.
It wasn't that I wasn't confident before in my abilities... but I will no longer think that my contributions are unworthy of being discussed. I work my BEHIND off and it does my successes a disservice to not acknowledge them. So here are some 'confidence' tips I've used throughout the years and some that are brand new and working already.
"Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable." – Walt Disney
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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