Sammon Says: Grow a Spine

Welcome to the FIRST EVER advice post on Sammon Says!!!!

Thank you to “Spineless in Seattle” for writing! Here goes…

Dear Kate/Sammon Says,

I’ve always struggled with failure. And the fear of that failure has determined how I live much of my life. I’ve recently decided to make some changes – primarily by doing the whole “fake it till you make it” thing. And that has generated some sporadic success. But I can only keep it up for so long before I stop believing my own bullshit. I know the kind of person I am when I’m “on”. And that person is amazing. But too often I give in to my negative inner monologue and manage to talk my way out of a good thing. 

I’ve realized that I need to build some confidence. And faking it has only taken me so far. When I’m feeling confident, I can do things I’ve never done, talk to people I’ve never talked to, and am able to enjoy life in a way I never thought possible. 

But that confidence is fleeting. And I’m struggling to find a way to build a lasting sense of self-worth. Even when people tell me I’m great, my ears process that info but my heart never listens. I find myself ignoring praise only to fixate on my shortcomings. I want to make a change. 

That’s just some background info. I guess my question is: how can I build lasting, tangible confidence?

– Spineless in Seattle

Dear Spineless,

You don’t sound spineless at all. In fact, you sound quite spiney, like a person concerned with self-development. You’re not lost, you just need a strategy. And while it may seem off-base, “faking it till you make it” is a start and it isn’t the worst approach. It just shouldn’t be your only approach.

Here are some things to ask ourselves periodically for the rest of our lives:

  • What are you putting into your life? 
  • Who are you surrounding yourself with?
  • What kinds of experiences are you giving yourself?
  • What are you doing for others?

Find the you in each of these answers. Find what gives you purpose. Purpose is meaningful and substantial. Meaning and substance aren’t fake. The more substance you put into your life, the less you’ll feel a need to fake it.

Failure is the big monkey on your back, the thing that keeps you from yourself. When you find out what matters and what you want your life to be about, you need to accept that you will be bad at some things at first. And that’s okay. Failure is okay. Expect it. Prepare for it. See your failures as part of your success. Failure is necessary.

As for your question about confidence- it’s as simple as this: What we put into our lives is an investment in our own self-confidence. It’s a muscle. It’s something you build. You have to move it, exercise it, make it uncomfortable. The act of risking failure is building the muscle of self-confidence.

My favorite part in your message was, “And that person is amazing.” There’s so much hope in that. You know what that is? That’s confidence. But remember that no state of mind is lasting. Your confidence will ebb and flow. The goal is to have it stick around on a more consistent basis, right? That requires work, self-awareness, and patience…all traits found in most amazing people.

You’ve got this.




Tell me your probz, ask me some Q’s, tell me a story. (Click down there…)

Sammon Says

4 Responses to Sammon Says: Grow a Spine

    PNW Islander September 29, 2016 at 1:08 am #

    I get overwhelmed by comparing myself to other people all too often. On bad days I have this negative inner monologue “everyone around me is so confident and happy. It must be something they’re born with…” Even worse, I characterize my lack of confidence as something defective, as if it were a disability.

    I suspect it’s a product of not putting my energy in the right place, worrying too much about something I can’t control (other people).

    I’m going to focus on the fundamentals, take this advice. I agree, confidence is a muscle and you have to invest in yourself to develop it.

    Exercise more
    Eat better
    Take shots (I’m don’t mean alcohol)
    Stop apologizing
    Travel more

    Good read. Keep ’em coming.

    • Kate September 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

      You are so right. We all get overwhelmed by it! Well, I think most of us do. Certainly me. That’s why while this was a more general question and thus a more general response, I wanted it to be my first post. Thanks for the read and the comment!

    Kat Carah October 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    Love your blog! Saw it on a Facebook blog group and, funny enough, after accidentally Facebook stalking you, it appears that you are friends or family with people I went to high school with! (I didn’t stalk too hard so I don’t know how you’re related lol) How funny!

    • Kate October 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

      Hi Kat, I just read yours and loved it as well! Thanks for the comment. Which Facebook group did you find me in? I’m trying to network a bit better. And I’d love to know who we have in common!

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