Frankly, baby - choose confidence!


Once a month, we, your humble ChicagoNow scribes, are given a writing challenge, in that we are pitched a topic and have one hour to turn it into a home-run.

Tonight’s gauntlet:

“Write about the role being confident or not being confident has played in your life.

Confidence is many things.  A shield.  A tool.  A weapon.  A goal.  To too many, an illusion.

But I’ve come to realize what confidence really is – a hedge against fear.

And fear is the enemy, my babies.  It forms a stronghold in the mind that warps and paralyzes.

But break it, we must.  Or there can be no progress, no happiness.

The person I think of when I think “confidence” is Old Blue Eyes, aka The Chairman of the Board – yup, Frank Sinatra.


And he would know.  Frank was one tough, confident mother, the man for whom the phrase “brass balls” was invented.  He rose and fell and rose again more than any other artist in memory.  And what got him through his deep, dark days (most notably, in the 50’s, after he’d lost both his voice and Ava Gardner, the great love of his life)?

A steely confidence in himself.  It may have waned, but it never left him.  A new wave of confidence always rose and took him to his next triumph.

As he learned to vanquish fear and dig deep for confidence, Sinatra boldy forged a seven-decade stellar singing career and a stellar movie career (including an Oscar for his role as Maggio in the iconic WWII drama, From Here to Eternity).  He was married four times, had four kids (all as tough as he) and to this day remains one of the greatest musicians of this or any century, and a profound influence to thousands of artists of all ages and genres.

He was far from a perfect man, but he was one hell of a testiment to confidence.

Now, as to MY dance with confidence.

Well, I’m no Sinatra, that’s for sure.  But I do try and live by the “fake it until you make it” tenet.  The more you willingly force yourself to be confident – and confidently yourself – the easier and more rote it becomes.

I’ve written, acted (badly) in plays, sung in bands, defended consumer complaints at the Federal Trade Commission in D.C., flown when I’ve been scared shitless to do so (read: every time), given euologies, and talked myself into more than one job.

It’s been a struggle for me, as confidence is not my default.  But it is my choice.  Being consciously confident is a damed sight better than living in fear, small and timid.

Let’s give Frank the last word.



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  • I will be taking you for an airplane ride and end that fear of flying

  • In reply to Bob Schneider:

    I'd much rather we take a little red Corvette, Bob. I scream less in cars.

  • Hell to the YES. "...confidence is not my default. But it is my choice. Being consciously confident is a damed sight better than living in fear, small and timid." Choosing faith over fear every time. Faith is love, faith is courage, faith is honesty. Keep on keepin' on. Love this.

  • In reply to Nina Vallone:

    Thanks, Neen. Coming from you, it's meaningful - Mrs. Illinois Bikini!

  • I can't always fake it though. Sometimes the fear just overwhelms.

  • In reply to Kerri K. Morris:

    You've been through a heck of a lot, my friend; it's certainly understandable. I just hate how I feel when I've let fear in.

  • You've inspired me. I am about to go on a weekend trip which promises to be really fun but I have many fears also. I can do this, you've convinced me to choose confidence. Thanks!

  • You'ze welcome, Kath! You seem pretty fearless to me, though. (Remember, your courage and confidence during your recent eyeball situation got ME to the opthamologist for the first time in 20 years.)

    So what could they be, these fears to which you allude? Are you pieceing together a quilt in a hot air balloon? Hang-gliding on quilted wings? Trying humane hunting by sneaking up on bears and wrapping them up in quilts? The mind boggles!

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