February 16, 2014
By Stephanie Wiriahardja
I was only 14 when I moved to Vancouver. I was excited and confident about the new life I was about to embark upon.
But it didn’t last long.
As soon as I set my foot on the school’s corridor, reality set in. I had no idea who everyone was. I didn’t know where my classes were. I wasn’t comfortable enough with my English. So for the first few days, I kept my head down. I had my lunch at the loneliest corner of the school until one day, I finally had enough. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my high school days that way, so I stood up and made my way to the cafeteria and sat down at a popular table.
Just last October, I had the honour to speak at [email protected] in front of over 400 delegates looking to be inspired. It was the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve had so far. Before I came out to the stage, I took a deep breath in and remembered everything I’ve done that have led me to this day. Suddenly I was carried away by my own confidence and words just came out of my mouth smoothly for the next 10 minutes.
It’s crazy to think how far confidence can get us in creating success. I believe it is something we all have in us, but some are willing to show it more than others. Overconfidence can damage one’s reputation or relationships, but I rarely meet people like that. Most of the people I know, especially immigrants, are quite shy. Despite the vast life experience they have, they are too humble to flaunt it. And I think it’s a pity.
It really is too bad that most of us are so unassertive. We think our experiences are not good enough, our language skills not fluent enough. We need to stop judging ourselves and being scared of the possibility of being embarrassed.
Recently, I found the secret to being recognized. In less than a year, I brought home some awards for the most votes for Must Follow on Twitter 2013, Vancouver Top 24 Under 24 and Community Manager Lifetime Achievement award. In the eyes of many, I won these by surprise. But that’s not the truth. Here’s the hard truth . . . I asked many of my friends and coworkers to vote for me. Yes, I went around getting people to fill forms and send in my nominations. Ultimately. there were group of judges that decided whether I should win or not, but I controlled more than 50 per cent of the variable here. By collecting all this support, I showed the judges I deserved to win. It’s as easy as that.
Of course, at first it didn’t feel right. I was pretty embarrassed to ask people to vote for me. It just seemed so overweening, but I realized I really shouldn’t feel that way. I knew I was qualified to win the three awards and I needed the support from others to help me succeed. Thankfully, over the years I have found a great group of supporters that were more than happy to see me succeed and, of course, it goes both ways. In fact, I am currently a mentor for the Young Women in Business organization. This is my way to give back to the community and support others to push their boundaries and gather courage to reach their dreams.
I am glad I pushed myself to get up from my lonely corner because otherwise I probably would not have the honour to write this post. After all, the “I” in the word “confidence” is the strongest sounding one and, in the same way, I have control of doing everything confidently to reach success.
Taking dandelion flowers as inspiration, Stephanie’s self-proclaimed ‘Dandelion Theory’ stems from the building blocks of her compassion to grow, evolve, and continue sharing her ideas. Stephanie was born and raised in Jakarta, but moved to Vancouver eight years ago to continue her education. Despite her young age, Stephanie has a strong experience under her belt as laid out on her LinkedIn. Stephanie currently works at HootSuite as the Global Ambassador Lead and she also helps oversee the creative development for Le Méridien Bali Jimbaran.
February 16, 2014
By Stephanie Wiriahardja
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