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"You sure have the confidence of someone bigger than your actual size," my 5-foot, 10-inch 16-year-old kid said last night.

Our family is spending Thanksgiving week in Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of our favourite getaways for short jaunts. The holiday week finds Carmel busy, narrow sidewalks calling for "share the space" (a phrase my kids grew up hearing from me) awareness.

Last night, as we made our way to dinner, a group of three was walking towards us from the opposite direction. As I was just about to step back behind my kid to allow the trio to keep the space they were taking up, I somehow changed course. I instead steered my kid to move a bit further to her right ("share the space"), so I could stay next to her but give enough room for us, and them, 2x2. The trio though, stayed three in a row, with no sign of sharing.

I'm 5 feet and 2 inches tall. I may be small, but I am not invisible. I experience this "game of chicken" scenario quite often, literally and otherwise. Last night was game on, and I was not as quick to hang back. I am quite gracious, with decorum, etiquette and consideration for people. I believe (and if I'm not, I hope it's not a regular thing) that I am pleasant and not quick to be triggered.

As the trio came up close enough to hear me, I said with a smile and formidability "Hello, please share the space." The person closest to my left shoulder seemed so surprised by my ask - like I asked for the most incredulous request. She stepped back and behind the other two. That was when my kid made that comment about my having confidence that is bigger than my physical size. I'm unsure if she admired it, or cringed from my "stepping into it."

We walked to dinner to meet up with the rest of the HofferFour. I forgot about the episode and her comment until this morning and am now annoyed with myself for not having had the opp for a good mother-daughter chat about confidence! But, have laptop, will write. So...

Confidence. It can be easy to miss in people. Is confidence big and bold in its arrival? Yes. Is confidence quiet? Also yes. Is my perception of confidence accurate? Not always. My kid saw me as being confident, the trio may have received me as arrogant. I may have received them as oblivious, they might have felt confident in the space they occupied.

I'm sitting in the bright and warm sunshine Carmel is surprisingly having at this late time of the year, "confidently" scribing a few random reflections.

  • The words "Be confident!" can have the opposite effect on me, sometimes it's a reminder that I have misplaced it.

  • I am not confident ALL the time, and that's ok.

  • A smile in a room full of strangers is a confidence booster shot - with no side effects!

  • Where you draw confidence from may not be where I draw mine from.

  • Confidence is attractive - be sure it's authentic.

  • With great confidence comes great responsibility.

  • Confidence is always best served with a big scoop of humility.

Thanks for the "listen" - here's to a week of what best soothes your soul. For me, off I go to enjoy the ocean for more dolphin sightings! Ahhhhh.....

By Rowe Hoffer

(Originally posted as an article on LinkedIn Nov 2022)


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