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Confidence Across Generations: A Q&A with Mothers & Daughters from Living the Confidence Code

by KATTY KAY, CLAIRE SHIPMAN, & JILLELLYN RILEY

Confidence is not an abstract, opaque notion. It’s literally what turns our thoughts into action.

Our research has shown that one of the best things about confidence is that we can make it. The basic formula—what we call a code—is taking risks, doing some failing (ugh), and then persevering. That’s when we create our own cache of confidence. Getting out of your head so you can act is really crucial, as is being authentic. So we always say: do more, think less, be yourself.

Best of all, confidence is something we can build throughout our whole lives. Women can keep growing and stockpiling their confidence just as girls can. And confidence role models are essential, we can learn from one another at any age, from peers to elders to the incredible young girls in our new book, Living The Confidence Code.

With that in mind, we wanted to check in with a couple of mother-daughter duos from the book, Angelina & Katharina Tropper and Taylor & Tina Fuentes, to hear their different perspectives on confidence.

Angelina Tropper struggled in school, hiding what she considered a terrible secret, until she realized that her learning disability simply meant that her brain is wired differently. Now, she wants to let everyone know that, “Normal doesn’t exist. We should all celebrate our differences because that’s what makes us beautiful!”

What does confidence look & feel like for both of you in your lives right now?

Angelina: “For me confidence means being ok with my performance overall in a virtual school setting given all the changes because of the pandemic. I am ok with making mistakes and asking for help. I embrace my strengths as well as my weaknesses and keep going, no matter what.”

Katharina: “I think true confidence is knowing yourself and accepting yourself 100%. It’s always trying to stay true to yourself, and not losing sight of your goals even if you make mistakes and fall throughout the process. You get back up and try again, no matter what.”

Risk is such an important part of building confidence. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger as you flex it more. How do each of you tackle risks?

Angelina: “I just jump into them. Like jumping into cold water. I don’t want to think too much about how cold the water is or I might miss the fun of swimming.”

Katharina: “I see risks as an opportunity.You never know what might be on the other side. I am open to taking risks, reminding myself it’s ok to fail.”

How has your confidence changed since you were your daughter’s age? What did it feel like when you were a teenager?

Katharina: “I was a bit of a rebellious teenager. I didn’t really know what I wanted and made my good share of mistakes along the way. However after each mistake I would get back up and try a new approach. I think that helped me to get to know my true self and allowed me to accept myself fully.”

How does your mother embody confidence to you?

Angelina: “My mom is always there to motivate me and cheer me on. She juggles and tackles so many things at the same time. There is no giving up or ‘this is not possible’ in her vocabulary. She is a boss lady in my eyes.”

What has your daughter taught you about confidence?

Katharina: “Angelina is who I want to be when I grow up. She has always had a clear sense of what she wants to accomplish even at her age and despite her challenges. I think her grit, determination, and perseverance are what I most admire about her and try to implement in my life.”

An exuberant iconoclast, Taylor Fuentes was mercilessly bullied by kids who tried to shut her unique personality down. For a while, Taylor retreated into herself, but eventually, she was able to use her voice and stand up to those bullies. Her motto: “Confidence is a superpower!”

What does confidence look & feel like for both of you in your lives right now?

Taylor: “Confidence is being able to dye my hair crazy colors because I love color. It’s being able to wear whatever makes me happy. It’s walking past those who may not have been kind to me with my head held high because I know that I’m worthy.”

Tina: “To me, it’s that feeling of being on a rollercoaster ride. Right as you head down that first drop, you feel that worry wash away. My hair may be messy and my clothes are not from Vogue, but it’s me. Confidence is knowing who I am. Living who I am. Loving who I am.”

Risk is such an important part of building confidence. It’s like a muscle that gets stronger as you flex it more. How do each of you tackle risks?

Taylor: “I do what I feel is right and what I believe in. If it works for me that’s okay. It doesn’t have to work for everybody.”

Tina: “I only have this one life. And it’s my job, my duty, to live it to the fullest. Risks may offer something so life-changing that NOT taking them would be an epic fail. So I trust my instincts.”

How has your confidence changed since you were your daughter’s age? What did your confidence feel like when you were a teenager?

Tina: “I had a stutter, so for a very long time I was afraid to talk and embarrass myself. Then one day I met someone who patiently understood me and I just bloomed. Finding that one person who got me boosted my confidence but also reminded me that my confidence was a little voice inside me all along.”

How does your mother embody confidence to you?

Taylor: “My mom lives her life for herself, she doesn’t care what people say or think about her. She shows me that it is okay to express myself.”

What has your daughter taught you about confidence?

Tina: “How lucky am I to have my daughter as MY role model? I used her courage when I went back into the workforce after 18 years of raising my kids. Sure I came home and cried a bit during my first week at work. But I looked at Taylor and those tears turned into determination and drive.”

KATTY KAY, CLAIRE SHIPMAN, & JILLELLYN RILEY

Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, & JillEllyn Riley are #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Confidence Code for Girls and Living the Confidence Code. To learn more visit their website, https://www.confidencecodegirls.com.

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