“The struggle with confidence started in my teens and got progressively worse until my early thirties, when I hit my bottom. I had no confidence left, was making poor decisions, and had almost completely isolated myself. My depression was deep and I was miserable. It was a turning point where I made a conscious decision – I was done living like that and something had to change. I had to change.”
“I am the Human Resources Coordinator at the largest single branch credit union in Saskatchewan…I am a wife, a mother, a CrossFitter, a volunteer, a daughter and a friend.”
I am beyond excited to feature Shauna Hammer in this month’s Confidence Alliance column. How does Shauna embody the #confidencealliance? She is a courageous and tenacious woman actively discovering herself every day, and she supports and cheerleads other women to their highest level of success. Shauna lives in Unity, SK and trains at the CrossFit Lair there. She is constantly setting new goals for herself – striving to lift, learn, and love more.
The Confidence Alliance is exactly about those two things:
- Becoming who you are. Becoming the best version of yourself as a woman, whatever that looks like for you.
- Supporting other women in their quest for individual (and collective) greatness.
Read on to be inspired through Shauna’s powerful words and story. I haven’t changed a thing she said because her true voice rings more beautifully than any altered words could.
What do you do?
I am the Human Resources Coordinator at the largest single branch credit union in Saskatchewan. My passion is empowering people and nurturing culture in an organization whose goals include being an Employer of Choice. I am in a position that allows me to use my gifts and also stretches and challenges me to learn and grow. I am a wife, a mother, a CrossFitter, a volunteer, a daughter and a friend.
What are some of your earliest memories of being confident?
Childhood presented magical moments where time stood still and I possessed pure, innocent confidence. I can recall the sensation of water splashing my face, wind whipping my sun-bleached hair, and waves slapping underneath my knee board as my Dad drug me around and around the lake behind our old blue boat every summer. I was the master of that board, cutting hard to spray big fantails, jumping the wake, and spinning 360’s. Downhill skiing had a similar effect on me. Nothing else mattered, and I luxuriated in the pure joy of existence.
I also remember struggling with confidence. Weak social skills made personal interactions challenging for me. School nurtured confidence in me, even though the social aspect was sometimes hard. I enjoyed reading and excelled in traditional learning. Striving for and achieving high marks encouraged me to feel good about myself and my abilities.
What do you do now that makes you feel most confident?
Being of service to others makes me feel confident. That I can make someone’s day a little better, that I can teach my children a lesson I learned, that I can inspire someone else to take responsibility for their life by my example – these things validate my purpose and reason for being.
Being physically active makes me feel confident. I am in the best shape of my life and each little accomplishment in the gym empowers me. CrossFit is challenging and rewarding. I earned a brown belt in karate this year, which represents ten years of training, as well as the gift of confidence that developed along the journey. I possess physical skills now that I never would have dreamed of. When I was little, I heard that I was uncoordinated, that I just wasn’t gifted with skills for sports. I challenge that old belief now, as I have proved to myself that ANY skill can be learned, practiced, and grown.
I have also tapped back into the empowerment that learning gives me. I have been taking university correspondence courses. It exercises my brain and grows the skills I need to improve my job performance.
When do or did you struggle with feeling confident, and what did you do to deal with those feelings?
The struggle with confidence started in my teens and got progressively worse until my early thirties, when I hit my bottom. I had no confidence left, was making poor decisions, and had almost completely isolated myself. My depression was deep and I was miserable. It was a turning point where I made a conscious decision – I was done living like that and something had to change. I had to change. I wanted to be an example of the confident, healthy adult that I prayed my children would be. I started to reach out. Antidepressants helped some, and working with a counsellor and attending Al-Anon family group meetings gave me hope and a new attitude. In these safe environments, I learned how to love myself, how to communicate, how to foster good relationships, how to forgive myself and those around me. I also learned that regular physical exercise keeps me on an even keel, mentally and emotionally. The sense of well-being I experience after a good lifting session or CrossFit WOD is powerful medication for me (but I’m not a doctor.)
Low feelings and lack of confidence creep back into my mind from time to time. Regular practices of gratitude, religion, physical activity, and spending time with friends and family keep things in check. To re-energize my confidence, I look back at where I have been and reflect on the substantial progress I have made. Today, I am a joyful, confident, vibrant woman with a full life, great career, interesting friends, and loving family. I am blessed to share a wholesome life with an incredibly loving husband who is my best friend and biggest fan.
What advice would you give to someone struggling with feeling confident?
For me, feeling confident was related to how I felt about what I saw in the mirror.
Sometimes we look in the mirror and dislike what we see. How about you?
I challenge you to be open to the possibility that there is nothing wrong with the mirror, and nothing wrong you. It is more likely that the filter or the focus is the problem.
What if the filter you see things through is flawed? My advice is, find someone who has a passion for photography and ask them to shoot a photo session, with only you as the subject. See yourself through the eyes of an artist. This may sound like odd or superficial advice, but I have deeply shifted the way I have felt about myself in experiences like these. To look at the portraits carefully prepared by a skilled photographer and see myself as beautiful, perhaps for the first time, changed the way I thought about myself, talked to myself, and cared for myself.
Or what if changing your focus could change how you see yourself? When I am low, I explore ways that I can help someone else. I believe we all have a purpose and each of our lives is crafted with great intention to contribute our own unique something special to the world. Volunteer, hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger on the street. Read a book to a child. Take five minutes to enjoy a conversation with someone elderly. Could there be anything more beautiful in the world than a human being showing love to another? I bet you are beautiful too!
How can people find you to keep up with what you are up to?
You can find me on LinkedIn and Facebook – Shauna Hammer
Shauna Hammer represents the Confidence Alliance movement as a woman who has learned to love and celebrate herself through challenges, and now seeks to empower others to do the same.
Find your beauty – inside and out, and join our collective. Start using the hashtag #ConfidenceAlliance to share your story with the world. We will reach out and celebrate you.
Let’s start a revolution of love and celebration of the success and power of all individual women. Join us in starting a #ConfidenceRevolution. Toss out the critical mirror. Together we can change the world and fill it with women who see themselves through a lens that showcases and celebrates their strengths and successes, while still accepting their humanity.
Looking for a program that will help you discover yourself and increase your confidence? Look no further.
#Confidence Alliance #Confidence Revolution (What is it and who is it for?)