Chloe Mendonça, Project Management Director at digital marketing agency Croud shares some personal tips and experiences with BYP on how and why you should embrace your uniqueness to be the best you can be. At the end of last year, I watched the beautifully made inspiring film “King Richard”. The film touches on so many life lessons of how to unlock your full potential through dedication, self-confidence and humility. I’ve always been inspired by the tenacity sports champions have, but growing up with the Williams sisters on my screen, they always seemed to be on another level and this movie really brought that to life. Serena has won more titles than any other woman or man and is quite literally the greatest player of all time, but it’s her fighting spirit and self-confidence to come back, no matter how much the odds might be stacked against her that is truly inspiring. I believe that self-confidence, dedication and humility are the foundation of all success and achievement. These traits have the power to change how we feel, how we’re perceived and what we achieve. But I’ve found that developing these traits is definitely a never-ending journey.
Building a confident mindset Something that's always helpful to remember is that confidence doesn’t come naturally to anyone. It requires consistent hard work and the right support system. My advice when it comes to growing your confidence, whether it's at sport, work or anything really, is to take things one step at a time and talk to yourself when you need to. Positive affirmations might feel a bit corny at first but reminding yourself of how far you’ve come, that you are growing and learning every day, and that you believe in yourself and you have the power to change your world–can really help shape your mindset into a more positive one. After Venus loses a match in ‘King Richard’ she's alone and crying in the changing room beating herself up for not winning and her father shares a little gem of wisdom “If you don’t have no respect for yourself right now, you will never have none. At all.” How you learn to think about your failures really determines whether or not you become a champion. No one wins at everything, no matter how talented they are, so when you don’t get the outcome you want or even perhaps the one you deserve, keep looking forward with your head held high. That’s how you win even when you lose and prove that you have the character of a champion.
Find your champions Serena and Venus always had a great support system behind them. From their family to their coaches, the way in which support was given, was absolutely crucial in helping them stay focused on their goals. I think finding positive cheerleaders to surround yourself with, in your family, friends or professional networks is absolutely essential. We all need cheerleaders to build us back up when we’re feeling wobbly. If you’re in a workplace environment where you’re not recognised or you’re not rewarded, that can chip away at your confidence meaning you’ll struggle to perform at your best. Sometimes it can be hard to even recognise that it’s happening until you step back. So you have to put yourself in positive environments and surround yourself both personally and professionally with the right kind of people. I joined Croud at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 which meant I didn’t get to meet my team in person for months and others I met only a year after starting, but the support and welcoming attitude I received from my team, my managers and colleagues remains one of my anchoring moments in the organisation. Every bit of feedback and every virtual pat on the back of encouragement helped to silence my doubts. Some of my incredible colleagues have helped to champion my achievements, which have been instrumental in getting me into the position I am in today.
Stay humble and never lose your joy One of my favourite parts of the movie is when Will Smith sits his family down to watch Cinderella and asks his daughters to share a moral from the story. None of the girls pick up on what he was after so he tells them: “No matter how them peoples treated her, no matter how disrespected, she stayed calm, she kept her heart clean. She was humble.” Throughout the film we see Richard instilling the value of humility in his girls and teaching them above all else, to have fun. Be proud of your accomplishments but stay humble. Work tirelessly towards your goals, but never to the point you lose your joy. When the joy feels few and far between, maybe it’s time to do something differently or take a break. I truly believe humility and joy are the building blocks to developing a well-rounded character. These are traits that make people want to see you succeed. It takes resilience It’s easy to recognise that Serena Williams knows a thing or two about pushing through adversity. Overcoming injuries, racism, unequal pay, public criticism and body shaming, the list is endless. But her success is a result of her resilience. It’s the quality that kept her driving forward when she wasn’t at her best and allowed her to shake off a bad point and deliver a 100-mph ace. She turned what makes her different into a competitive advantage. She leveraged her uniqueness. Her upbringing, her natural traits, background and experiences all contributed to her success. So if you haven’t seen ‘King Richard’ watch it tonight! And the next time you’re feeling unsure of yourself, remember to leverage your uniqueness.
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