1 (a): a feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances; (b): faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way
2: the quality or state of being certain: certitude
3 (a): a relation of trust or intimacy; (b): reliance on another’s discretion; (c): support especially in a legislative body
4: a communication made in secret



Confidence (n.): early 15th century, from Middle French confidence or directly from Latin confidentia,firmly trusting, bold,” present participle of confidereto have full trust or reliance,” from com + fidereto trust” (related to faith).



“A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.”

Mae West (1893-1980, American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol, whose career spanned seven decades; also the master of the double entendre.)

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“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”

Bertrand Russell (Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 1872-1970, British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic; best known for his work in mathematical logic and modern analytic philosophy; recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.)

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“I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.”

Michel de Montaigne (Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, 1533-1592, French writer, whose “Essais” (“Essays”) established a new literary form, one of captivating and intimate self-portraits)

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“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

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“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them."

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963, American poet, novelist, short-story writer, Fulbright Scholar, a prolific writer and the first poet to win a Pulitzer prize posthumously.)

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“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”

Ansel Adams (Ansel Eason Adams, 1902-1984, American photographer and environmentalist, known for his iconic images of the American West and Yosemite National Park)

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“What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”

Eleanor Roosevelt (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, American politician, diplomat, activist who served as a U.N. spokeswoman, and the longest serving First Lady throughout her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, 1933-1945)

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“A great man is always willing to be little.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, poet, essayist, philosopher, teacher, unwilling minister and preacher, and the chief spokesman for Transcendentalism, the American philosophic and literary movement)

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“It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Maya Angelou (1928-2014, author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist; one of most famous poems, among others, is “Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women”)

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“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”

— Mae West

When I was a young professional there were two women leaders who had profound effects on my work.  One was Susan, a brilliant fundraiser, but harsh taskmaster.   The other was, Shelly, the principal of my children’s elementary school.

Susan ran her development ship like a fire-breathing dragon.  Upon beginning her tenure people in that department quit left and right, and one beloved team member she fired.   When she tried to hire new troupes to the team they would quit the next day.

It was such stressful and traumatic time, especially since I was one of the last two original teammates left.  I often worked long hours from 7:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night.

Susan wasn’t always so harsh, although she liked to argue a lot.  She often showed unexpected compassion and told the truth about how my work could be better and how I could dress more professionally.  Susan also had my back, literally, especially when I asked for an upgrade in my salary.   She gave me clear realistic guidelines how to be successful and to get what I desired.  But, she often had the team running in circles, chasing our tails because she was such a perfectionist of the work without being a clear director.

I was passionate, enthusiastic, and motivated when I worked for her.  It was my chance to pay my dues and to learn as much I could with a willing teacher.  And because she was such a “ball buster” I could voice my opinions confidently and directly.

Another living example of quiet confidence came when visiting an elementary school for my son in the Upper Eastside neighborhood of New York City.  The school, the top sixth in the City, had openings in their roster for those children who lived outside of the district, as parents we made an appointment to tour school for possible admission.

The tour started in principal’s office where Shelly asked us questions and talked briefly about the school’s mission.  But, our real education happened as she managed her entire school by walking and greeting every student by name, answering every question that was previously asked by a teacher or teacher’s aid, and modeling the school’s philosophy of diversity, inclusion, and child-centered compassion.  Shelly took her time and completed our visit in approximately two hours accomplishing about thirty administrative tasks, which included the tour itself.  And when she finished I struck with visceral emotion knowing what it meant to have complete confidence and clarity in one’s profession and spiritual mission without stress or trauma.

These “teachable moments” and experiences, although existing on opposite sides of the spectrum, were tremendous seeds to a more confident life.

Let us abide in confidence as our unique experiences unfold.  And let us work and dwell in peace and Divine Grace.

Much Love, Tonya



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