When I started writing this post in the New Year, I wanted to talk about Janus the Roman god (duh). The dude has one face looking back and one face looking forward, as well as a month named after him, which is something we’ve all dreamed about at one point or another. It was going to be all about resolutions, new starts and learning from the past; about what I have learnt from my recent few months as a Graduate Trainee and how I want to move forward; about how I have evolved as a professional and as an adult. Basically fucking transcendent.
But then something happened, something nobody (even with two faces) could have foreseen.
It’s true guys.
I watched Beverly Hills Cop and it changed my life.
1. Stop reading and bookmark this page.
2. Watch the film.
3. Spend several days feeling a little bit dirty because you found a young Eddie Murphy so magnetically sexy. Hot damn.
4. Come back and find out how I can possibly relate an 80s icon to being a young library professional.
Now that we have all seen the film, let’s talk about confidence.
Axel Foley has so much confidence about so many different things. For starters, he has the confidence to have a truly stupid name, wear snug blue jeans, make wisecracks to his superiors and have a criminal for a best friend. His self confidence in his looks, his personality and his choices is something we could swoon over for hours – but maybe we should save that for later when we have a nice refreshing beverage in hand and it’s 2am.
What he also has – the far off point I am getting at – is workplace confidence.
Axel Foley is not the greatest cop in the world – just think about that terrible bloodbath at the end or when he takes Judge Reinhold to that strip club. Bad choices. But he doesn’t crack, he doesn’t doubt his instincts and his ability to do the job correctly – he solves that murder and he goes back to Detroit a hero. Hell yeah!
Confidence is a tricky, weasely thing. I don’t think I can even begin to talk about self-confidence, about believing in yourself and faking it until you make it. Hopefully Axel can show us how that’s done.
Having the confidence to go to work and get over our fears and crippling anxieties is one thing – but what about those small crises, the little moments of self doubt that get under your skin and lurk at the back if your mind for weeks?
You want me to do this massive project, do a presentation, solve a problem? That’s ok with me. But in those split second moments when someone is looking at me and asking a basic question, I falter. And the horror lies in the fact that I do know the answer or what to do but I just couldn’t.
In theory I know when the library is open, how much it costs to print and where the seminar room is so why do I doubt myself and lose confidence in my own knowledge in practice. I am hoping that it’s not just me, by the way, that possibly someone else out there is kicking themselves after losing their nerve in the middle of a conversation..?
Alas, alack, there are so many examples. Whenever someone asks me at what time the library closes and I have to go “errrrrrrrrrrrrr,” whilst simultaneously scrabbling for the opening times website, only to find that I have forgotten what day it is as well. When I am halfway through stamping someone’s books and they asked me when they are due back. Instead of telling them, I sit there slack-jawed and goggle-eyed because I lose confidence in the fact that I could give them the answer by looking at the stamp in my hand. It is these such minute moments where you lose even the knowledge of what you are doing and completely fall to pieces, that I turn to my new guru Axel.
Badass Axel would not let one crack get him down or prevent him from doing his job. He would make a wise guy quip and move on like nothing had happened.
If I were forced to have a New Years professional resolution, then I would say I want to work on these minor meltdowns, in the hope that by looking at small improvements in confidence, I can become a more confident person overall.
And if I were forced to have a personal resolution it would be to watch Beverly Hills Cop II (and to stop cutting my own hair.)
Happy New Year!