WOSAF – Prevent!

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How can I ensure WOSAF?

All the atrocities that get reported and all the actions that are taken post incident, somehow feels like ‘closing the stable doors after the horses have bolted’. Why don’t we initiate steps to prevent the occurrence of such incidents. A number of YOU’ve queried what could be some possible steps. Well let me enumerate some of the steps.

Report photos that exploit girls/ YOUng women, when YOU seen them on social media sites like fb/ insta. Raise YOUr voice and don’t have the ‘chalta hai’ attitude. This perpetrates crimes/ atrocities.

Be media literate & critical of what YOU see. Otherwise it becomes ‘normal’ and we get desensitized.  The media regularly uses images of violence against women and objectifies them. If YOU see ad ad/ commercial that is sexist/ degrading towards women – write/ email the company; don’t buy their products.

Interrupt sexist/ homophobic and transphobic language. Remember, words are powerful, especially when spoken by people who have power over others. Gendered name calling and sends a message that girls/ women are less than human. When they are seen as inferior, it becomes easier to treat them with less respect.

Interrupt abuse if YOU see something. If YOU’re at a party and your intoxicated friend is being led away by guys. Stop and help her get home.

Stop street harassment and don’t engage in any form of sexual harassment, such as catcalling and unwanted touching. And don’t let your friends and peers engage in such behaviour either. Don’t look the other way.

Stop victim blaming for how they choose to dress or judge their behaviour. Violence can’t be prevented through limiting the freedom of girls. This only allows the violence to continue because perpetrators become invisible and sadly those who witness remain silent.

Stop stereotyping men’s and women’s roles as they affect decisions in a relationship. YOU don’t have to prove yourself. YOU don’t become small when you help YOUr better half in sharing chores at home.

Remember violence is a choice, a choice that YOU make. Don’t make excuses for friends and peers who are violent. Stop supporting the notion that violence is due to mental illness or lack of anger management skills, alcohol or drugs.

Come up with an action plan for any situation. How would YOU react should people you know/ strangers are being abusive/ sexist. It is easier to interrupt ans stop abuse when YOU know what to do/ say. Stand up!!!

STOP using social media to proliferate jokes/ forwards demeaning women. Social media has an empowering effect. YOU can spread the word. When a friend/ peer tells a joke about girls/ women, say YOU don’t find it funny and let them know it is NOT okay.

Because IT IS NOT OKAY. We can make this world a better place to live for our Mothers, Sisters, Wives, Daughters … Stop and THINK.

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Unbreakable Resolve – Women

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Durga has been a warrior goddess: unmatched resolve, impassable, inaccessible, invincible, unassailable

My 25 years in the uniform has instilled in me a basic military tactics. ‘Offence is the only form of Defence’. In all my sessions on WOSAF (WOmen SAFety), I harp on this fact and share this fundamental rule. God forbid, you’re in a situation, where YOU need to act – Don’t wait for any opportune time … NOW is the time; always. YOUr mind should always be on the ‘Hunter’ mode – looking for options, seeking out escape routes, planning your next step ..

For a female, fighting back is the ultimate reversal. You become the huntress not the hunted, the predator not prey. When the only way out is through, you cannot just defend–you have to counter attack. There’s little to compare this to: YOU trade in your polite-self for your animal-self; you issue the ‘sic’ command and give YOUrself a carte blanche to go for the jugular. And remember offence is the only form of defence.

Always remember: FIGHTING BACK IS A LAST RESORT when nothing else will do. Your goal is YOUr safety, to escape. That said, a pumped up aggressor can withstand A LOT of punishment, so get your mojo in gear and be prepared to do what it takes to breakaway. Whatever it takes.

Never give up hope OR let futility set in. Futility is an enemy of survival; it’s enables paralysis. Even in a worst case scenario, an assailant or criminal may let his guard down (especially when he thinks he’s already won), presenting lucky breaks and opportunities to make your move and get away. Focus. Collect yourself. Stay on the hunt. YOUr body is the weapon. YOUr mind is the weapon. Surprise is YOUr ally.

Overcome the fear of injury. Always assess your situation, environment and skills.  Do not allow yourself to be held hostage by this fear. Remember: adrenaline is a wonder drug. It addition to supercharging the body it helps staves off pain. Use the environment: Can I head butt him on counter-tops, stairwells, hard surfaces or shove a person into walls/ hard ground? Be aggressive. Manhandle! Drop your center of gravity, widen your base, slink down into your hips and throw him away. Remember the last move of Dangal; the last bout – ‘dikhao kuchh aur karo kucch’. Feints . Duck . Ruse . Distract . Fake . Sham . Trick . Stall .

Attack the hands. Busting the hand(s) with a stick-like weapon or by slamming something on it can disable your attacker’s primary weapon: hands.  Knees could be broken with little force from the ‘wrong’ direction. All the joints are thus susceptible to slight pressure. Go for it.

Remember – Attack is the only form of Defence.

 

It’s OK to be Ignorant ..

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Not to Know is Bad. Not to Wish to Know is worse. – African Proverb

Really? We have a fear of appearing stupid. So we try to act like we know what we’re doing. This is more so at work, even when we don’t have a clue. The Noah’s Ark was made by amateurs; The Titanic by professionals.

The problem, therefore isn’t about appearing stupid. The problem is BEING stupid. The great Noble Laureate Albert Einstein said, “Two things are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the Universe.”

Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. It can be fixed. Stupidity on the other hand, is not even knowing what you don’t know. Go get some knowledge, fill the void, and the problem is solved. I oft repeat: Knowledge is the ONE key to Confidence. Therefore, Research, Read, Absorb, Test, Validate .. Do what ever it takes to seek knowledge. That is YOUr only salvation. That is YOUr only redemption. That is YOUr only deliverance.

If YOU are ignorant, as the Wright Brothers were, you don’t understand why birds fly and humans cannot. So, YOU study the elements of aerodynamics, wind resistance, acceleration, lift, drag, thrust and fill the void with knowledge. The Result?

The development of the airplane, from propellers to jets to the man on the moon. Airlines, airports, runways, ATCs, flight attendants, baggage handlers, metal detectors, air sickness bags, to miniature liquor bottles. A whole new industry; in fact the largest industry in the history of the world. BUT if YOU are stupid, you flap your arms and crash to earth.

Remember, Ignorance is temporary, Stupidity is forever. The choice is YOUrs.

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Knowledge is Power!!!

Bengaluru – Conundrum

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Conundrum called Bengaluru: The IT Capital

02 Sep. My flight was at 1000 h. Reporting time 0920 h. Through the night, there was no respite from the rains. The rain-gods were more than kind to ‘love’ for Bengaloorians. Bannerghatta road, is located in a low lying area. I’d experienced a fateful night during my IIM days, when my two wheeler got submerged and I’d to abandon it; only to recover it the next day.

After my bittersweet experience of 01 Sep, I’d planned to start early.

0530 h. Say my ‘good-byes’ to my cozy room.                                                                                   0540 h. Uber refuses to respond.                                                                                                         0547 h. Ola is in “high demand” and not available. Somewhere, the ominous bells were going berserk.                                                                                                                                         0552 h. Angel in form of man advices me, to pick up my luggage and wait at the main road, next to the Security Room. He has just returned from the airport and all the roads leading up to our complex was under water. A submarine was sighted in the near vicinity, which he didn’t vouch for. The road had turned into a river.

0600 h. Apprehensively moved to the main road; lock, stock and two smoking barrels. An umbrella tried to prevent the downpour from wetting me. It was losing badly aka the Arsenal match against Liverpool last Sunday.

0613 h. I encounter an Angry Bird. The driver was in a great hurry. Archimedes Principle states that the force exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that it displaces. Standing by the road side the displaced fluid submerged me till the waist. But it helped me now to firm my resolve to wade through waist deep water, with my suitcase atop my head.

0633 h. A good samaritan, in the form of a local bus driver, gives me a lift. He drops me at Jayanagar, 4th Block. Informs me that Volvo for airport are available here. The rains applaud.

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9 3/4 Platform: Volvo arrives here

0719 h. A volvo for the airport materializes aka Harry Potter’s platform 9 3/4.

0859 h. Land Ahoy! Voila! The Kempagowda International Airport is beckoning. I’m on time for a change. A first of its kind. 

I would like to thank all the participants who helped me in this saga, the spoken, unspoken, the visible and the invisible, who made my Bengaluru trip so momentous. Phewww!!

 

Bengaluru: Love it or Hate it – But you can’t Ignore it

India Bangalore

Bengaluru: The IT/ITES Capital of the World

Having been invited as Keynote Speaker at the International Summit of Software Testers organized by STepIN Forum at Bengaluru on Sep 01,2017 (the second day of the conference). The venue for the conference was at Hotel Park Plaza, Marathahalli on the outer ring road. I reached on Aug 31 and settled down at Mantri Elite, Bannerghatta Road.

Knowing my penchant for cutting things fine, my better half advised (instructed?) me to leave early. My talk was at 1000 h and the days proceedings were to commence at 0900 h.

0730 h. Step out of elevator on ground floor. Intermittent drizzle.                                             0742 h. Book an Uber. Estimated time of arrival 03 minutes.                                                       0745 h. Reach the gate of the complex. Await Uber.                                                                       0800 h. Uber not in sight. Call the driver. He speaks to me in ‘greek’. I put him through to the security people, who converse in ‘greek’. They inform me, another five minutes he should be here.

0815 h. No Uber. [My numerous calls to the driver Santhosh (96.868.006.16) are all unanswered].                                                                                                                                         0816 h. Cancel Uber. Try to book again but then they are too busy charging me for cancelling a service they failed to provide.                                                                                         0818 h. Tried booking Ola who are in ‘Very High Demand’. The green circle completes and informs me that no Ola is around. Local people tell me that ‘autos’ will not go to Outer Ring Road. Stuck.

0822 h. Persuade an auto to take me for an exorbitant price though.                                      

0832 h. Auto malfunctions and refuses to start. I’m in middle of a traffic jam, in no man’s land. The driver is profusely apologising for something which has never happened earlier. I’m somewhere around BTM layout.

0835 h. I request an ‘angel’ in a motor bike to drop me. And he quips, “Sheuure Sir, No Problem”. I straddle the bike (the last I sat on a bike must’ve been 1948!!). Angel zips along the highway, weaving his way through very heavy traffic. He is good. Takes a couple of service roads. Safely he drops me at the Venue site. The light drizzle is  .. well.

0910 h. I walk into Hotel Park Plaza. Freshen up.

1010 h. My session starts on clock-work precision. Humbled by the appreciation and standing ovation. Grateful that I could Impact, Ignite and Inspire the community of Software Testers. A number of selfies later. Could sit down and analyse the events of the day.

 

Can I Improve my Creativity and Clarity

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Let YOUR subconscious work for YOU.

A simple answer would be YES YOU CAN.

But then things in life are not that simple. They may be easy but not simple. Let me explain.

 

“YOUr subconscious mind works continuously while YOUre awake, and while YOU sleep”. – Napoleon Hill

Understand a fact; YOUr subconscious mind never sleeps. At each moment it’s busy controlling your body temperature, your breathing, blood circulation, digestion and millions of other things. It controls all your vital processes.

Also, what happens at your subconscious, also reflects (and controls) your conscious mind. In effect, YOUr subconscious becomes YOUr reality. Therefore, it’s important to check what goes into your subconscious.

 

“The subconscious mind will translate into its physical equivalent, by the most direct and practical method available”. – Napoleon Hill

YOUr goal therefore is to control YOUr subconscious or control it, feed it with what you want. Let it work for you and not against YOU. Therefore, before YOU go to bed. Follow this regime religiously.

 

+ Switch off your TV (or any other program that you were watching.) Switch off your mobile (or at the least, put it in silent mode and stop checking for updates). Sit down comfortably at a place (in YOUr house) where there is absolute silence/ quiet/ least amount of disturbance. Sit quietly for 5-10 minutes. Take a pen and write down what YOU want. More specific you are, the better it is. Don’t write things like, “I want happiness”.  Define it. “I want money”. Hello … are you listening. Be Specific. Now your subconscious gets to work.

 

80 percent of people between the ages of 15-45, check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up. Research confirms that the brain (pre-frontal cortex), is the most active and readily creative immediately following your sleep. Through the night, your subconscious has worked and brought things to the fore.

+ The creative people (and most of the successful people), check on the performance of the task they had allotted to the subconscious. Take a journal and note down the points that have come about. (With practice, this skill set can be honed! It gets better with time, just like anything; The more you practice, the better you get). With time the ideas that start flowing, the clarity that you are seeking; all the answers come to YOU.

Your mental image, visualisation and subconscious translates into reality. Have Faith. Have the Belief.

You’re the Master of YOUR destiny. This simple routine will assist YOU in fulfilling your dreams. Chalk out a plan and move towards fulfilling it.

 

THINK !!!

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Our Capacity to ‘THINK’ makes us Humans

It has become a ‘fashion statement’ to sham India for all its shortcomings. Poverty, corruption, Women Safety and so forth.

Remember, India has Poverty, India is NOT poor. It has corruption as an issue, India is NOT corrupt. When you have a challenge, you can address it. You need see it clearly. A number of YOU tell me about the issues that we have. Yes, we have issues. And so does the rest of the world. When we have an issue, we need to sit down, workout a strategy to address it. And remember, nobody from any other part of the world can take it up as a cause. Its our problem – we have to solve it. Period. Koi Mr. India nahin ane wala hai, Mein hi Mr. India Hoon!!!

And of course remember, “Koi Desh Perfect nahin hota; usse Perfect banana padta hai”. It is in our interest that we work towards making our Great Nation, Greater!!!

Don’t work against it … Work for it. So what do we do? WE THE People …. The YOUth.

Keep a tab. YOU may not enter politics, BUT keep a tab on the activities of the politicians. Make your vote count. Vote. Make a conscious choice. Make a difference.

Take onus of your actions. THINK before you do something even as mundane as watching a movie. Because, inadvertently, YOU are sending the film makers a message.

YOUr watching an item number, tells the movie makers this is what YOU want. Titillation. What do they do? They give YOU more. If the women are being ‘itemised’, can we blame anyone else? NO. We told them that this is acceptable and WE WANT MORE. They’ll dish out more. 5 years/ 10 years down the line, if YOUr daughter is unsafe on the roads .. YOU have perpetuated the crime. Women Safety is in YOUr hands. Yes, even watching a movie which dishes out item numbers, and YOU watching it is perpetrating crime against women.

WOMAN-SAFE

Make India Safe for Women

Think! This is YOUr pre-frontal cortex of the brain. The Thinking brain. Use it. For every little action of YOUrs there is a repercussion. YOU pay a price.

Think.

On this Independence Day take a pledge … TO THINK!

Indispensability

Charles-de-Gaulle-Quote-The-graveyards-are-full-of-indispensable

Are you Indispensable??

Sometime when you are feeling important, sometime when your ego is in bloom,

Sometime when you take it for granted you are the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that you are going would leave an unfillable hole.

Just follow these instructions and see how it humbles your soul,

Take a bucket fill it with water, put your hand in it upto your wrist

Pull it out and the hole that is remaining in the measure of how much you are being missed.

You can stir up the water galore but stop and you will find in a minute that it looks quite the same as before.

The marvel in this quaint example is do the best that you can ….

… Be proud of yourself but remember there is no indispensable man.

Are YOU Ready?

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Are YOU ready to don the new Role in your workplace?

The present day work environment is throwing up challenges each moment. More employees are distressed about their future in the organizations. The scenario looks ominous and the management doesn’t seem to be communicative enough!!!

As a knowledge worker this should help you give a better perspective!

An economic growth engine is well-oiled only if it has a steady supply of skilled resources.If India has to sustain the current pace of growth in its knowledge economy or meet the many ambitions of its private enterprise then a complete overhaul of its many institutes is needed. The skills required for the jobs are not being imparted in the educational institutes; while the educational institutes cry hoarse that there is insufficient interaction and the industry is unclear about what they want!!

While nearly 5 million students graduate every year from a thousand colleges and universities, nearly half of them are not employment-ready due to poor communication and cognitive skills.

What is severely lacking in mainstream education  is the absence of industry-specific skills and domain knowledge. Often, the skills taught in our institutions are not tailored to meet the needs of the industry, resulting in a higher unemployment rate among fresh graduates. It’s unfair to pass the blame to either. It is untrue when they say, that there are NO jobs. Well, there are; only the students are NOT trained to fill ’em up. There is a mismatch with what industry wants and what institutes give.

The oft-cited Nasscom-McKinsey study revealed that only 25% of the engineering graduates are employable. The number of unemployed educated youth between the ages of 15-29 has been growing in urban India and stands at 10 percent for males and 23 percent for females. For urban India, graduate unemployment is 8.2 percent while unemployment among post-graduates is slightly lower, at 7.7 percent.

So What does this Mean?

A new joinee is expected to hit the road running. They are considered work-place ready, if he/she can contribute to the company’s growth by efficiently handling the day-to-day tasks. Typically, IT companies allocate 3-4 months of training at an average cost of Rs. 200,000 per employee to make the freshly-inducted employee productive.
In non-technical domains, the training varies between 2-4 weeks. Is it any wonder that companies these days are considering pre-hire training as part of the standard induction process?

Pre-employment programs are short courses, comprising skill sets identified as essential for entry into the industry. It could be soft skills such as interpersonal skills, collaborating with stakeholders in multiple functions and geographies, cross-cultural interactions, multi-tasking, project management and cognitive skills. Nowadays, corporates are beginning to include pre-hire training as part of its recruitment process.

Soft Skills

Pre-hire Training: An Investment or Cost

Consider this: For every employee who falls short of expectations, an organization will have to bear costs equivalent to two and a half times of an individual’s salary. An unproductive new hire may weigh on the company’s efficiency rate and costs as the company ends up spending a lot on training and mentoring.

Training costs make up nearly 2-3 per cent of total staffing budget. Organizations realize that training is not a luxury but a necessity. Streamlining existing training programs for new hires to include mobile training and self-paced learning programs.

Even though pre-hire training may be more expensive on a per employee basis the company will save a lot more in the longer run. Companies can train employees in skillsets relevant to their industry. A pre-hire training program can be the gateway to an organization’s growth if the industry works with the academia to mobilize and train resources in relevant skill sets.

Developing skilled workers enhances their efficiency and flexibility; skills bottlenecks are reduced and skilled workers are able to contribute to the company’s growth and help in economy building. Educational institutions are starting to give vocational training its due especially in a gloomy job market where the IT, Pharma, Telecom, BFSI and retail sectors are not hiring at the fast clip they normally would.

While the debate is still on whether it should be the corporate sector or the academia that takes on the onus of pre-hire training, it cannot be contested anymore that employable skills are a necessity for graduates and post graduates in a hyper competitive economy.

The debate rages on!! Reminded of the incident in my previous organization where the ‘training’ budget was being slashed and the CLO was vehemently resisting the move. The CEO says, “… and after all that training, if the employee leaves us, then?” and the CLO quips, “And if we don’t train them and they stay?”  Check and mate!!!!

 

 

How do I boost my Confidence Quotient?

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The Confident YOU

Yesterday I was conducting a workshop for a renowned MNC. The participants were all lively, involved and eager to launch in their new roles. Yet, at certain times, I felt there were some voids and on questioning, it came out that some of them felt less confident. The other day a similar query was raised by the students of an elite institution.

Maybe you’ve been unsure of yourself  terrified to start something new. This not only limits your potential in life; it also minimizes your ability to make a positive impact on the world around you. It sows a seed of self doubt in the minds of your boss/ senior. There’s a lot that goes into overcoming those fears. You may need to challenge limiting beliefs formed years ago, or take yourself out of a situation where other people undermine your abilities. One thing that will definitely help is working on your confidence.

It all boils down to How do I boost my ConfidenceIs there a technique to boost my confidence? Can I fake confidence (even when I’m shivering inside)? Well, let me spell out my rules, which has stood me in good stead during my years in the uniform.

Think back when YOU were a child, were YOU afraid? YOU were blissfully unaware of judgement and other’s views. When you start feeling unsure of yourself remember: we were all born with confidence, and we can all get it back if we learn to silence the thoughts that threaten it.

Know YOUrself. YOUr strengths, YOUr weakness. Once YOU’re aware of YOUrself, YOUr strengths, YOU gain in confidence. Work on them some more and YOU’ll get surer.

Confidence comes from Success. One of my seniors advised me pretty early in my career, “Prabir, Success is a drug. YOU get addicted once, then YOU want it every time”. This has stood me in good stead. Conventional wisdom suggests to expect the worst because you won’t be disappointed if you fail and you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you succeed. But research suggests this isn’t universally true. Pessimism can undermine your performance creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Find the successes in every day and you’ll notice over time that they increase. Each success leads to more successes.

BE confident of YOUr capabilitiesNo one in the world knows everything. Everyone is good at some things. Don’t weigh your security against what you know or can do; weigh it against your willingness to learn. If someone does better than you, see it as an opportunity to learn from them. Don’t worry if you’re not confident in what you can do now—be confident in your potential.

+ Know that there are certain things beyond YOU. Even confident people lose. Even they get the pink slip. YOU need to realize that there are certain things beyond YOUr control. Be sure of YOUr capabilities.

Take RisksIf YOU do the same things over and over again and expect different results YOU must be an i****. Do different things. Take risks. Stick out YOUr neck.

+ Practice Confidence. Know that YOUr brain visualizes in pictures. Envision the image of YOUr walking up the dais to receive the award. Picture that. Introducing YOUrself, shaking hands. If doubts raises its head, replace your thoughts with more confident ones. Ask yourself what a confident person would do and then try to emulate that. Watch your posture and your tone. Hunching and mumbling will make you feel and look less confident, so stand up and speak slowly and clearly.

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Want to be Confident at Work

How do I BE more Confident in Work? Besides the above mentioned points.

+ Stay Focused. Good work and positive attitude leads to confidence.

+ Believe in YOUrself. Work on YOUr self affirmations (Watch Jessica’s self affirmations). What do you tell yourself. What is YOUr self talk. Do you deride yourself? If so, it’s only natural that others will deride you too.

+ Closely monitor your successes. Prepare a ‘to-do’ list. Ticking off each action point helps your brain feel confident.

+ Be a role model for others to emulate. Workers will be attracted to YOU and then it becomes a cycle. You cannot be BUT confident.

Research and Scientific study suggest ways to Feel more Confident. These actionable tips will help YOU fake Confidence.

Stand Tall. Correct posture is the hallmark outer sign of confidence and research shows standing up straight will help you feel it on the inside, too. As social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, your posture can also increase confidence boosting testosterone in the body and indicator of success.

Recall a time when YOU were Confident. Your being a CR, best man or anything where you displayed confidence helps build your self efficacy. It releases testosterone.

Indulge in a morning ritual. Before you step out of your house. Have a morning ritual. Repeat your self affirmations. Recall all the confident moments. Raise your spirits before you step out to face the world.

Dress for Success. Chances are you’ve heard the old adage to “dress for success” and there’s a reason, as research proves them right. Studies suggest that what you’re wearing can have a direct effect on how secure and powerful you feel. The day you wear wrinkled/ unfit clothes your attention will be preoccupied with your clothes. Clean shoes, so important. Grooming is such an important aspect of YOUr feeling confident.

Stretch YOUr muscles. A physical activity recharges YOU with energy. YOUr cells are rejuvenated and makes you feel good. Better blood flow helps your skin glow and in turn your confidence levels.

If YOU analyse, there is nothing that cannot be achieved. A small tweak here, a small tuck there and YOU’re ready to face the world. And I cannot refrain from quoting Maria from Sound of Music when she is headed for the Von Trapps household ..

What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be? I wonder …
 … The courage to serve them with reliance, Face my mistakes without defiance, Show them I’m worthy, And while I show them, I’ll show ME.
.. I have confidence they’ll put me to the test, But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me. And mind me with each step I am more certain, Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine, They’ll have to agree I have confidence in me.
I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain, I have confidence that spring will come again, Besides which you see I have confidence in me.
 .. I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me! …