Busting The Myth of The ‘Californian Super-confidence Gene’

Recently, Melissa Clough interviewed me about Influencing With Story for her Fearless Success podcast & video series. We had a blast chatting together and you can watch it here now.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcLXYloGMk4&feature=youtu.beBut I want to tell you the intriguing story of how we became friends.

Written By : on February 17, 2016

Recently, Melissa Clough interviewed me about Influencing With Story for her Fearless Success podcast & video series. We had a blast chatting together and you can watch it here now.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcLXYloGMk4&feature=youtu.beBut I want to tell you the intriguing story of how we became friends.

Recently, Melissa Clough interviewed me about Influencing With Story for her Fearless Success podcast & video series. We had a blast chatting together and you can watch it here now.

But I want to tell you the intriguing story of how we became friends.

Let me start with a back story. For the longest time I’ve been curious about why American women, especially Californian women seem so much more confident than us, their Western sisters.

I decided that it was genetic! Perhaps it was an evolution based upon survival of the fittest. Many of my own forebears said goodbye to their Irish roots and made the capricious voyage to the land of dreams. Perhaps your ancestors did too. “Those who survived and made it in America must be imbued with unshakable self-confidence,” I told myself. “And that gift of super-confidence has been passed down the generations as with gifted musicians, artists and storytellers.”

In July 2015, I travelled to California to do NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) Trainers Training – a form of applied psychology. NLP was created by modelling people. The founders Richard Bandler & John Grinder and their first students like Robert Dilts, modeled people such as hypnotherapist Milton Erikson, Gestalt psychologist Fitz Pearl and family therapist Virginia Satir.

Based on that modelling concept there is an NLP pre-supposition that says:

“If one person can do something it’s possible for anyone to do it.”

So when I chose NLPU in Santa Cruz for my training there were three reasons:

1. Being trained by Robert Dilts and Judith de Lozir who were there from the birth of NLP.
2. The chance to catch-up with relatives in California and fulfill an ambition to drive up Highway 1 (in a Mustang – my husband’s choice).
3. To model that unstoppable ‘Californian Super-confidence.’

I arrived in Santa Cruz on July 15th 2015.

Most of us on the course stayed on the University Campus. It comprises a series of buildings nestled between majestic Californian Redwood trees. Most apartments have four bedrooms although not all were full. Mine was to accommodate myself and a couple who wouldn’t arrive until the following week.

That first night I spent in blissful solitude overlooking the Redwoods and the wildlife on the Santa Cruz University campus. “I’ve landed an Ace. Lovely – I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet here,” I thought. It was time to sleep.

The following day I awoke, got-up, ready and made my way to breakfast, walking past squirrels and raccoons while en route to the dining hall. After breakfast I returned to the apartment to relax and await the course kick-off at 2pm.

Then to my surprise the apartment door opened and I heard a voice. “Helloooo?”

A lady with long dark hair and a warm smile came into the lounge. “I’m Melissa. Hope you don’t mind. They’ve moved me into here,” she chirped.

I introduced myself too and added, “Of course, I don’t mind at all, it’s great to have company,” now readjusting to the idea of having a flatmate. Truth was I didn’t mind, I was keen to meet people.

As it turned out, of the sixty or so people on the course very few were from the U.S. But Melissa was American and not only that, she was Californian. Albeit she was now living with her husband in Texas. So far, Melissa was living-up to my positive prejudice about Californian super-confidence. She was beautiful, smiley, friendly, chatty and warm.

Over the years I’ve found that people who do NLP and other applied psychology courses enjoy deeper conversations. The weather and share prices simply don’t cut it for them.

And over the days Melissa shared snippets of her story.

One day as we were chatting, I said, “Melissa, I’m curious because I’d always thought that Californian women were born with super-confidence and positiveness in their DNA?”

She smiled and said,

“No, that’s just a mask. It’s doing what we think people expect.”

In that moment my illusion about Californian super-confidence was shattered. I was speaking with a real human being who had seen ups and downs in life. And who had by now become my friend.

Here are some short extracts from Melissa’s story in her own words. You can read the full story on her website at MelissaClough.com.

I had achieved so much in my twenties, but I was lacking emotional and physical balance, and realized that I had been suffering from a low-grade fear of success, accompanied by a dull-ish, achy, fear of failure. You know, the kind where you are seemingly very confident and accomplished on the outside, but underneath you are scared to death about where you’re going, and incapable of moving forward.

Melissa has navigated her way through adversity and I applaud her for sharing her vulnerability. She goes on to say;

I completely shed everything about my life, which took an enormous amount of courage, and after my divorce, I basically started all over, with nearly nothing.

I love that she has the courage to share her story. And now, Melissa empowers other women to Fearless Success.

I uncovered the secrets to successful behavior, and learned how our minds work to either hold us back, or catapult us forward….I found that I was able to fully and completely let go of my fears and open the doors to enormous opportunities in my business, help others more, and find the love of my life.

Melissa is now a Certified NLP Trainer, Success Coach and Yoga Instructor. And last year she married her soul mate, Joseph. Her podcast/video series is intended to provide ideas and inspiration her audience. If you want to watch our video conversation on Influencing With Story, here it is again.

And what happened to my illusion about the Californian Super-confidence Gene?

It disappeared in a moment. There is no Californian Super-confidence Gene. Just human beings living life with all it’s scenery.

Confidence, I realised, isn’t a thing.

Confidence and the lack of it is something we make-up. What we’re really talking about is how many layers of stories we have created to stop ourselves from doing what we want to do. There’s no need for analysis that adds even more loops to the narrative. Just stop thinking about it. If you’re inspired to do something – do it! And then move on to whatever you’re inspired to do next.

We all wear masks at times.

That’s because we’re afraid to show our vulnerability. Our fear comes from our thinking. And yet when we do share our stories (and there are secrets to doing that safely in business) the impact is profound. We connect more easily with people because they can resonate with our story. When we share our vulnerability we pave the way for others to be more open too. We make friends. And instead of life and business being about winning the Ego war it becomes about friends helping friends.

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Author:

Claire Taylor is co-founder of The Story Mill – a business that creates innovative programmes to support organisations to make their brands more human and foster a culture of authenticity and innovation. We run engaging storytelling workshops including: Storytelling in Leadership, Influencing, Branding, Strategy, Culture and Innovation.Claire is a Corporate Storyteller, Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Author of The Tao of Storytelling.

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