It's the start of 2018 and with every new year, there's the well-intentioned promise of being the better version of yourself you can be. "This is MY year", I tell myself every 12 months. How strongly I feel about that statement wavers as the year rolls on, but one thing's for sure, I'm usually a useless clump of nerves if I don't have the confidence to back myself.
So the opportunity to take part in Jessica Goh's Restore Your Confidence workshop came at just the right time. Jessica is a Confidence and Career coach, and she truly believes, as she mentioned during the workshop, that, "If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place" (echoing a phrase she holds true from Eckhart Tolle).
I figured a few hours of restoring my confidence would be beneficial. At most, I could walk away more powerful than ever, ready to face whatever this god-forsaken year has to throw at me (and I'm anticipating a tough year, just an FYI). At the very least, I could gain valuable understanding into accessing some sort of latent inner strength.
I had nothing to lose.
Jessica's workshop wanted participants to focus on reprogramming our minds and opening ourselves up to creating a foundation of self-love and self-confidence. The description given on her site talked about "emotional frequency", which I knew nothing about until the workshop, and how important this was to a person's relationship with ourselves and others.
What intrigued me the most was that the workshop would cover the idea of changing old belief systems and that our beliefs are developed through experiences, which affect our self-worth, and ultimately, our confidence.
A 3-hour workshop, I thought this would be worth the time. The venue, in the Sydney CBD and within walking distance of public transport, made it almost impossible not to attend.
I didn't know what to expect from Jessica, but I was pleasantly surprised that she wasn't an aggressive, overly animated presenter. She's outgoing and personable, sure, but she's not an Anthony Robbins type (too "high vibe", as she puts it). Maybe it's because she suffered her own crash in confidence at the age of 29, when failed business ventures, property scams and a relationship break-up made her turn her life around. I admired her for sharing her story with our little group (it helped to have a small group for a subject that would be so personal for each participant – it never felt like we were in an impersonal seminar type of situation). Jessica told us that for a while, she was "ashamed of her failure", but I found her openness refreshing. "I don't know how other coaches operate but what I can share with the world is to deliver authentic education on building true self-confidence and understanding that our life brings us challenges".
Now, as a Confidence and Career coach, she wants to share her knowledge of how she got out of her rut and found the strength in her confidence. "We need confidence to go out in the world to live our best life", she says, "to live each day with purpose, connect with people and to have faith in ourselves that we are supported and loved". Confidence, she tells us, is not something you're taught in schools.
For someone who believes so firmly in the power of self-worth, Jessica never came off as brash. If you're worried that someone talking to you about confidence will seem arrogant and cocky, forget it. Jessica's workshop is accessible and friendly, and she's got a way of listening patiently to everyone in the room.
Jessica, both in the workshop and with her clients, is big on really hearing what each person has to share. She explains, "I create an environment where people feel supported, guided and cared for by listening, asking questions for me to confirm that I have understood the situation and sharing my personal stories to illustrate why we go through such challenges and how it's simply a lesson for us to be authentic".
The workshop started like any other, where we went around the room and introduced ourselves. We weren't a big group, but the sharing still felt safe. We all explained why we signed up, and we all had the same gripes; some of us had problems with social situations, some of us were "stuck in a rut" and trying to find direction, some of us wanted more confidence in the workplace. It was good to hear that I wasn't alone in my confidence search. I was also surprised by the emotions that emerged in that short amount of time, including tears.
Although I had a vague idea of what Jessica would be covering in the workshop, we were introduced to different concepts, such as:
The benefits of meditation: I have tried off and on for years to maintain a meditation habit, but never really understood the benefits of it. Jessica explained that meditation brings us to a calmer place and allows us to operate not out of fear (where we are anxious) but out of clarity, the best way to make rational decisions. This clarity is exactly the kind of thing I need this year.
The idea of being present: Jessica didn't discount that we all come with baggage from our past. But, she also said that we did the best we could at that time, but that we didn't have to let our past dictate our future. I've often operated out of fear of something that had already passed, or fear of something I was scared of happening. I wasn't allowing myself to be present and operate in the here and now. I could see how meditation could help here.
The idea that we all look outside ourselves for self-worth: Jessica said that just like looking at our bank accounts to see our monetary value, we needed to look at our inner selves to see our self-worth. Continuing to search for validation outside of ourselves makes us clingy in relationships and friendships, which really means you're operating out of, you guessed it, fear.
Who we want to be: The thing with gaining confidence is that you're secure in who you are, and that means who you really are, warts and all. Living as our authentic selves, where we can be vulnerable as well as strong, helps us deal with and let go of negative experiences, so that we're no longer living in shame, living small and living with what she described as "low frequency emotions"
I found these, and her other points, all extremely inspiring, especially when these ideas have been shared so often via social media or a so-called entrepreneur with everything on hand, and not from someone right in front of you, sharing their story with you.
Very unfamiliar concepts and experiences were introduced twice in the workshop. At one point, Jessica guided us through a Singing Bowl meditation, which I had never gone through before. Often used in a meditation practice, the sound it produces brings on an immediate calming, centring effect, and focusing on the bowl's sound can reduce stress. After the meditation portion, I mentioned that I felt clearer and more alert, whereas another woman also felt clear, but much more relaxed. The meditation exercise also introduced us to the idea of aligning chakras, a concept I'm not familiar with but one I'm now a little more open to.
Every participant attended for different reasons, but what I really took away from the workshop was how I needed to live in the present. To stop myself from dwelling on past experiences and change my story according to what is happening now, and not to be anxious about a future that could never be set in stone.
I couldn't properly gauge everyone's thoughts after the workshop, but I found Jessica's Restore Your Confidence workshop full of "light bulb" moments.
If you want to sign up for Jessica's Restore Your Confidence workshop, they are held every 2nd month on a Saturday, with the next workshop on Saturday, 24th March. Registration starts at 10:45am, and the workshop finishes at 2pm. Food and beverages will be provided, as well as a free bonus Life In Confidence eBook to help you get back on track.