Confidence is key

Mary Dittman, FMU professor of business and motivational speaker, spoke on three steps students can use to build their confidence at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, in the Thomason Auditorium at the Lee Nursing Building.  

Dittman used the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as an example.  

“You cannot get to where you want to go unless you go through TSA,” Dittman said. “That’s a great example for getting where you want to be in your life.”   

For her, Dittman said, TSA is an acronym for thinking, speaking and acting, the three steps she suggested for gaining confidence. Dittman said, when wanting more confidence, one must ask themselves what a confident person would think, say and do, then act accordingly.  

The problem, Dittman said, begins in our brains. If people want success down the line, they must think confident thoughts now. Dittman also said fear of negative outcomes tends to “paralyze” people, stopping them from being confident.  

Dittman’s advice was to start failing. She said people’s worst fears usually revolve around failing, so once they do fail, it will no longer be as big of a fear for them. For example, Dittman suggested going on practice job interviews. This way, if the job was not secured, it would be inconsequential. It would also help to gain experience when looking for their desired job. Dittman viewed these small failures as an opportunity to build one’s confidence.  

Dittman also spoke on the fears people carry regarding what others think about them and how they can affect confidence.  

“You’re never going to get to a place where nobody says anything about you that’s unkind or untrue or unfair,” Dittman said.  

Instead, Dittman offered one question: “Could you feel confident anyways?”  

She proceeded to ask the audience, “Who were we making fun of four weeks ago?” No one answered. Dittman assessed, even if one were to fail in front of others, everyone else would quickly forget it, evidenced by the audience’s failure to answer.  

Some students looked to Dittman’s talk as a way to improve themselves for future goals.   

“I do want to be a business owner one day, so I want to know what I can do right now so that I can help myself later in life,” said Shymia Scipio, freshman general business major.  

Scipio said the most useful information that she gained from Dittman’s speech involved her thinking step. Scipio referenced Dittman’s lesson on positive self-talk to talk bad about yourself.   

“Just being in control of your thoughts, making sure that you’re thinking things that are positive rather than negative,” Scipio said. “Also, be conscious and cautious of what comes out of your mouth.”  

This speech is the last one Dittman will give for the spring semester. It is currently unknown if she will resume her speeches in the fall.