Inspiring Action and Building Confidence
2021 Women in Construction Week

In the TED Talk "How to build your confidence—and spark it in others" by educator and activist Brittany Packnett, Packnett translates her confidence coaching and how no one "lacks" confidence. She says, “Confidence is the necessary spark before everything that follows,” and “confidence is the difference between being inspired and actually getting started.”, Packnett identifies three things for confidence to thrive: Permission, Community, and Curiosity

Inspired by Packnett’s TED Talk, a team of women in the Mortenson Federal Contracting team reflected on their own experiences and confidence journeys. Below are three actions we identified that women can take on building confidence in themselves and others to succeed in the construction industry: 

1.     Build your network and create a confidence circle 

Community nurtures confidence. Continue to build your professional network and surround yourself with positive people that build your confidence. Whenever you find yourself in doubt, you have a sisterhood to lean on to restore hope and rebuild certainty. 

The Federal Contracting team works on projects nationwide. As a traveling team member, I’ve found value in joining local community groups wherever I live and work at the time. NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) has chapters all across the country and became a founding place for me of many great friendships and professional network connections.

2.     Set realistic goals and envision your success

Create realistic goals and envision your success at the end. Understand that along the path to success, there will be moments of growing pains and failure. However, the belief of success will drive you to persevere; the belief of success will keep you going until it's done or will keep you going even when you've failed along the way. We act differently when we are certain we can succeed, versus when we are hoping we will succeed. Finally - don't hesitate to give yourself a little pep talk! 

I have a strong sense of self. I live by the rule of being my own biggest advocate. I am ultimately in charge of my own success, with support from others. Failure is inevitable but does not define me. I look at failures as events to change my course of action; failure does not end my journey. These events generate growth moments for me, and I will succeed. My path may just look different from what I initially envisioned. Stay positive. Stay on track. Be open to change. Lead your charge.

3.     Be the spark for others 

As Brittany Packnett said in her TED Talk, "You can't be what you can't see." Be the example of confidence to others in the industry. In an article by Bud Bilanich in Fast Company, "Self Confidence, Mentors, and Success", mentoring is a great way to serve others. You will find that you will grow by mentoring, and the more you serve others, the more confidence – and success – will come your way. As you reflect on your life experiences and share them with others, your knowledge will become wisdom. 

I am blessed to have amazing mentors and role models in my life who have been instrumental in my professional growth and success. Knowing that I have a support group who is genuinely interested in my learning and development has helped me build confidence to become a woman leader in the construction industry. I aspire to on day provide the same valuable mentorship service to others as the one being provided to me.