Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Playing roles: what is confidence?

I work in an industry where everyone expects you to be brimming with enthusiasm and energy.  It's probably not a surprise that we consume copious amounts of coffee and cake in our office - sugar and caffeine certainly keep us ticking along nicely.

But enthusiasm isn't the same as confidence. I may do my part at keeping my colleagues' cake-quota up, but if I'm honest, the self assuredness that people expect me to exude is just not natural for me... I am deeply self conscience, and in my natural state I tend to be happier quietly working through my own thoughts than standing up in front of a crowd.

So I do think it is rather odd that I am currently spending my free time in a situation where I'm forced to take centre stage. Literally. I am rehearsing for a musical. And for the first time ever I've been given a named part.

I have two left feet (I can bob along to music, but seriously choreographed dancing is not my thing), and I've never done kareoke solo; the idea of being so exposed frightens me. But in a few weeks not only will I be singing by myself to a (hopefully) full house, but I'll also be simultaneously doing an Irish jig (don't ask...) Which, for someone lacking in confidence should be my worst nightmare, but I absolutely love it.

I think we spend a lot of our lives playing roles depending on the situation we're in.  I might be innately shy, but if the character I'm playing would sing and dance then I will.  And the same is true off-stage. I might be full of self doubt, and riddled with confidence issues, but if I need to be seen as an enthusiastic expert, I can neatly step into that role too.  I play the role of daughter when I visit my parents, unable to completely shake the dependency that I haven't required for years living away from home... And I hope one day to play the role of Mum: not really knowing what the rules are or whether there is an instruction manual, but having self belief that what I am doing is right.

Do you find yourself stepping into roles?


  1. I take on different roles depending on my company. With certain friends I am the joker of the pack and with others the quieter one. I adapt to the different personalities of the people I am around or my mood for the day. x

    1. Hi Mini Mes,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I think you're right, we all adapt depending on the people we're with. I've just really noticed in the last few weeks that I'm a very different person when I'm by myself, compared to when I'm with other people.

      I guess when I'm alone I can peel back all the roles layered on onion-like. I just find the who subject really interesting!

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Claire x

  2. Wow that is amazing I wish you luck with your performance what a brilliant thing to do!! I think we are all playing roles in life wherever and whoever we happen to be around. They do say that drama and music classes are really good for children who are shy as it does help to teach them confidence and /or how to pretend to be confident!

    1. Thanks Nicola! I'm really enjoying being involved at the moment, although we've not got to the dance rehearsals yet! *gulp*

      I did drama classes as a nipper, so being on stage playing roles is something completely comfortable for me. If it's not "me" doing something then I suddenly have a lot less fear in getting involved!