On Confidence, by The School of Life. Pub 2017
Nothing’s impossible, I have found
For when my chin is on the ground
I pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.*
I first read On Confidence about a year ago, in the midst of an upheaval and change that rocked my world and my confidence. I saw this book in one of those "if you like X, you'll also like Y" section of a bookseller's website, and then a few days later saw it on display at a local coffee shop. All signs seemed to be saying, “read this now”. So, I did.
I chose this book, Big Feelings, by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy, based on the social media hype and discussion about it. Many will be familiar with the illustrations and comics by this pair of workplace and development consultants. This is their second book (the first was No Hard Feelings from 2019, which looks at effectively expressing and controlling emotions at work - still in my to-read pile). This latest book looks at seven difficult feelings that can emerge at work and in life, and is especially relevant in the time of COVID (when the dominant feeling was languishing). Published in early 2022 and subtitled, "How to be okay with things are not okay", the book promised to be immediately impactful. And to some extent it was, but ultimately fell short of my expectations.
This is a book that I’ve been meaning for years to read. I was inspired to pick it up and start (again) after completing an iteration of a webinar I do on leadership lessons based on Ernest Shackleton and his Endurance expedition. Like the Shackleton story, Island of the Lost did not disappoint on either the adventure or the leadership lessons.
The story is set in the South Atlantic, near New Zealand, specifically on the Auckland Island group. In 1864, not one but two groups were shipwrecked on the main island.
Every few years, I write about my annual goal and priority setting process, incorporating new learnings as appropriate and adapting to the ever-changing path of my own work-job-career and life. For 2022, I’m coming to my goals and priorities from a new perspective, and with a pivot in my work-job-career that has led to a pivot in my priorities. I’m taking a similar approach as before, but now with a whole new direction, and so a new list of priorities.
A medium-deep dive into philosophy - specifically, stoicism - this book was recommended by Kielyn Marrone, who I follow on social media after watching her on the TV show "Alone" (where contestants are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to survive longer than other participants in order to win a big $$ prize). In Season 7, Kielyn stayed 80 days in the near-Arctic (shores of Great Slave Lake from mid-September through December). Watching her catch her first fish from the frozen lake was one of the most enjoyable moments on TV ever. She was the third last participant, and everything about her was intriguing and inspirational, including her frequent mentions of stoicism. On her Facebook page, she recommends this book; coincidentally, one of my current mentees is reading this book series by Ryan Holiday, and mentioned it during one of our earliest sessions. I took that as a sign.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.