Confident Women: Amanda Vanelderen
Amanda is a copywriter and communications specialist with a simple mantra: Make a connection. She started WorkWords in 2016 after almost 2 decades experience in copywriting, marketing, communication and media. She knows how to give businesses the right words at the right time to build their brand and engage their customers. Mum to 2 daughters and part of a big, loud extended family!
What does confidence mean to you?
Confidence is feeling prepared, being brave and not being concerned with the opinions of others on my successes or failures. Even if I fail, I have done it myself.
Confidence in life and work can seem like selfishness – you are putting yourself first and trusting in your skills and instincts. Confidence is far from selfish; it is contagious! It is one of the best qualities you can develop in yourself, alongside humility and kindness.
Where did you learn how to be confident, or how are you learning now?
I’m a late bloomer when it comes to confidence. I was not a confident child or teenager. I was bullied at high school, back in the days when bullies still got away with it.
My confidence grew as I got older, but didn’t really flourish until I started my working life and built my career. Realising you are good at something, and (more than) capable of holding your own does wonders for the mind and spirit.
And two key things: becoming a mum (I make humans, I can do anything I want) and knowing I have a happy family life that will always be my safety net.
What do you think makes it difficult for women to love themselves and own who they are?
Women learn not to trust themselves. We are taught, indirectly, to always defer to the man in the room. However hard we work, it will never give us the same credibility. Women have so much opportunity before them, but an expectation remains they to ‘have it all’ we must ‘do it all’. If the juggling act comes unstuck, we blame ourselves.
We need to balance confidence to take things on, with the confidence to know when to get help. Back yourself, but understand you don’t have to do it alone.
What challenges do you face that dampens your confident levels?
Typical busy mum. After my second baby girl was born in January, I had a tough time. The scariest thing about post natal depression (PND), is that you aren’t aware it is happening to you. After a few months of struggling daily with leaving the house, having no confidence and feeling down, I woke up one morning and said to my husband, “I’ve got PND”. That was just the start of the journey to get through it. I realised what was going on and had a chance to change it. I was lucky, lots of other mums don’t have the support they need to get through those times.
Somedays I have more mum guilt than others, that dents my confidence. Nothing is ever quite perfect, but everything gets done in its own shambolic way.
Who is the most confident person in your life and what qualities do they have?
This is harder to answer as I get older. When I was younger, I thought everyone was confident except me.
I’ve realised: confidence can be a façade, even confident people have their problems, and being loud and extroverted doesn’t necessarily equal confidence.
So many women I know in my line of work (freelance copywriting), are fabulous and confident communicators and writers. And yet, we have all fallen victim to imposter syndrome. When will someone find out I don’t really know what I’m doing? Everyone else is doing it better than me!
Don’t assume that confident person you see spends their life surrounded by sunshine and rainbows. Real people have fears, get jitters, and aren’t always feeling confident even if they look it.
When do you feel your most confident, powerful, or beautiful?
I feel confident when I am talking about copywriting to a client, discussing my business goals, or teaching someone a new skill. I love to help others to build their own writing skills.
I found confidence by being really good at my job – and then that translated into my ‘real’ life too. I’m not confident because I think I’m the most important person in the room, I’m confident because I know what I’m talking about.
Do you have any quick confidence tips when you want to boost your self-esteem?
Whatever you have to do, do it confidently and take no prisoners. You can always run home and hide your face in a pillow later!
Paddle your own canoe! Don’t worry too much about what your competitors are doing. Write your own story.
Is there anything else you would like to share or advice for other women who may be struggling with their own confidence and self-worth?
So much self-doubt comes from a fear of what others think of us, and what will happen if we fail. It’s OK to fail, go down all guns blazing!
Have your safety net of family, friends or whatever support you need. Remember, people are usually too absorbed in their own lives to be giving a second’s thought to what is going on in yours!
Confidence is like respect; you have to earn it. Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.-Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?
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