What does it take to build and assert confidence? How can you let go of the imposter in your head that is holding you back from going after your next big opportunity, taking that leap of faith to pursue a new passion project, or even embarking on a career change?
The second run of the YWLC Leadership Roundtable was held in-person at Crane @ Arab Street on 12 November and centred on the theme of ‘Confidence on Command’. Our panel of guest speakers featured remarkable trailblazers and changemakers who have demonstrated what it means to assert confidence in both their personal and professional domains as well as owning your zone of brilliance no matter the challenge or who else is in the room: Jumaiyah M. (CEO, Halalfoodshunt); Sophie Leung (Founder, Sophie Leung Co.); Cheryl Tay (Founder, Rock The Naked Truth Movement); Valerie Lim (National Director of Miss Universe Singapore Organization); and Kanchana Vivekanandhan (Data Engineering Manager/Regional Analytics Lead, Meta). Our YWLC community came together to learn from our speakers and one another for a Roundtable session that combined the best parts of coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and candid sharing in one welcoming, inclusive, action-packed 2 hours.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome & Building Personal Confidence
From being the first person in her hometown to work for an MNC like Meta, to overcoming naysayers to develop the first and leading Halal food mobile application in Singapore as a Malay-Muslim woman, our speakers have certainly demonstrated immense courage and confidence to step into and embrace their achievements, even amidst various challenges and obstacles that they encountered along the way.
The Roundtable began with our speakers candidly discussing how they overcame their own struggles with imposter syndrome to pave their own paths to success, assert confidence, and own who they are.
While it may seem daunting at first, our speakers stressed the importance of embracing the spotlight. Valerie, who was Miss Universe Singapore 2011, is no stranger to being in the spotlight and standing out - quite literally, due to her tall stature! She shared her own struggles with body image and personal confidence growing up as someone who naturally stood out on any platform. It took her time to accept herself and she eventually learned to embrace her differences and overcome the negative mental chatter to build an illustrious career for herself. Not only that, she currently mentors young women as the current National Director of the Miss Universe Singapore Organization and always emphasises the importance of them chasing their dreams and owning their zone of brilliance.
Along a similar vein, Cheryl shared how confidence ultimately stems from positive self-talk. In other words, we need to demonstrate self-love and be kind to ourselves, before we can expect that same kindness to be reciprocated to us. For Jumaiyah, one way to do so is to graciously accept when people want to celebrate you and your achievements. This acknowledgement is also an opportunity for others to feel inspired by you, even though you might not see yourself to be so. However, doing so can also help you build your tribe - a group of confidants, mentors and advisors who celebrate your wins, however big or small, and are frank about your strengths as well as weaknesses. Needless to say, it is equally important to weed out any naysayers from your tribe or inner circle as you embark on your own journey of building your personal confidence.
Cultivating Confidence - Personally & Professionally
Our panel of amazing speakers (from L-R): Cheryl Tay, Valerie Lim, Sophie Leung, Kanchana Vivekanandhan, and Jumaiyah M.
The Roundtable concluded with valuable insights and words of advice from our speakers, with each speaker sharing their perspectives on being and asserting confidence, especially in the workplace.
First, know your self worth and do not be afraid to ask for what you want, whether it be a promotion or pay raise. Jumaiyah shared the ups and downs of her personal journey as a Malay-Muslim female entrepreneur when pitching her mobile application to venture capitalists for funding. Despite it being a challenging, emotionally draining and oftentimes frustrating process, Jumaiyah noted that successes or even small wins should be celebrated; even if things do not work out, channel your energy into your work and know that you now have the benefit of knowing what your stakeholders are looking for - this way, you are just one step closer to achieving success the next time the right opportunity arises.
Echoing Jumaiyah, Sophie similarly stressed the importance of celebrating your wins. She noted that it is equally important to acknowledge the little achievements that make you feel proud of yourself. At the same time, be sure to surround yourself with those who will likewise celebrate these wins with you.
Responding to a question that had been raised about how confident women are often stereotyped or even vilified in the workplace, our speakers unanimously agreed that such views should not affect us or hinder us from asserting our confidence. Kanchana suggested that we steer our focus towards being kind to our colleagues and anyone that we come across in the workplace, and to avoid making judgemental comments.
Lastly, Valerie emphasised the need to be firm in your decisions and opinions. She stressed the importance of not being afraid to hold a different or even unpopular opinion, so long as you have reasons or evidence to support your perspective.
One quote from Sophie well encapsulates the wisdom garnered from the entire discussion - “Confidence comes not from proving others wrong; it comes from not having to prove anything”.
YWLC would like to thank all our speakers and participants for making the Leadership Roundtable another resounding success! The next run of the Leadership Roundtable will take place in mid-2023. Watch this space for more details to come!
Organising Committee: Leadership Development