Mentorship with Melody #2: Building Your Confidence Toolkit
Two years into my career, I was sitting in a classroom of 40 other new graduates at Shell and asked to think about what we’d like to be the basis of our professional brand. When I thought about the leaders who inspire me, the qualities I want to possess, and the image I had of myself in any room I walked into, it all boiled down to embodying confidence.
I dedicated the first few years of my career to setting the foundation of my brand by learning how I can add value to my team and mastering my delivery. Along the way, I built the foundation for my “confidence toolkit” that I am happy to share.
These tips are in addition to the more foundational things that drive confidence such as your education and preparation for an interview, presentation, or networking event.
Know Your Story
The most common interview question I have ever been asked is “Can you tell me about yourself?” It’s no wonder that my COMM105 professor had us practice our answer to this question.
This question used to be so intimidating; but now I see it as my opportunity to present myself as “the main character”. I believe that understanding who I am and what I bring to the table is the first step in building my confidence; and how I answer this question positions me as the author of my story too.
This is often known as an “elevator pitch”. Imagine you step foot into an elevator with a new colleague or the CEO of a company - how would you introduce yourself?
A formula I like to use to craft my story is: my intro + my value proposition + a personal fact.
“My name is Melody Woo and I bring business ideas to realization through the Project Management Office at Aritzia. My colleagues credit me for executing each project successfully in sprints -- which is funny because I also spend a lot of time training in sprints as a marathon runner, something I am very passionate about.”
Based on how much time we have together, the setting of our meeting, and how much the audience may know about me, I would tailor my answer. These elements though provide enough context to make our interaction meaningful and memorable.
There is no other person I spend more time with than myself - which makes the narrative I tell myself the most powerful one.
I started using affirmations when I experienced a series of challenges. Through my consistency over time, it shaped my foundation, what I believed about myself and what is possible.
An affirmation is a statement that I repeat to myself in the morning and night that challenges any doubts and strengthens truths. These can be personal, professional, spiritual - whatever you need at the time.
Examples of daily affirmations I have used and continue to believe in everyday include:
“I am proud of the woman I am and the woman I
“I am capable and competent to complete ______”
“I am the author and creator of my reality today”
“I am deserving of love that is strong, resilient, and beautiful”
“I am a woman of strength - inside & out”
Build a “Confidence Routine”
The first two tips I listed require active work and thought to define your narrative to yourself and others. This last tip includes little repertoires I build over time and tap into when different scenarios arise.
a) Create a “B.A.B.” (Boss A** Babe) Folder Call it what you want, this is just my name for it. I keep a folder in my emails and an album on my phone to capture positive emails and messages. It could be a “job well done” email or a heartfelt thank you note -- the main purpose is to collect affirmations I receive from others. I often reference this folder when I am feeling down so that I can look back on great work I have done in the past.
b) Build “Power Outfits” I set aside 10 outfits in my closet that I feel the most powerful and confident in. This can include a matching blazer & pant suit, a maxi dress, or even a sweatsuit. When I have a big event such as a presentation or interview, I believe in the idea of dressing for success. When I feel confident in what I wear, I am confident.
c) Curate Playlists
I believe that music greatly influences the mood I am in - which can be a powerful tool when I need it to be. I put together a number of playlists with my favourite songs that help me feel my best and reinforce that narrative and story I have for myself. The time it took to build these playlists has paid off when I listened to it in the background of a busy workday or before a high-performance event such as a marathon.
As I reflect on my “confidence toolkit”, I remember my development in phases. I spent four years in school rooting myself in knowledge and education and the last four years putting it into practice in my career. My biggest transformation was not in my technical skills, but in the confidence I learned to embody. Two years ago I aspired to be a woman of confidence; and today, I am her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melody Woo, CAPM graduated from the Smith School of Business in 2017 with first class distinction. She embarked on a diverse career path with experience in the finance, energy, and retail fashion industries. Today she spends her 9-5 bringing the biggest business goals to life at Aritzia’s Project Management Office in Vancouver, BC. During her 5-9, she is a fashion blogger, marathon runner, and motivational mentor.
She is passionate about using her voice to inspire others to achieve their goals on her social media channels, speaking engagements at universities across Canada, and through 1:1 mentorship - and is dedicated to leaving a lasting legacy that uplifts her community.