An UPFRONT conversation with Dawn Kofie
Dawn Kofie works for the Scottish Government as a content designer translating “gov-speak” into content that’s easy for people to find and understand. Recently, she worked with us at UPFRONT to reveal what goes through people’s mind when they’re speaking in public.
We spoke to Dawn about her challenges with imposter syndrome, her strategy for combatting nerves for an upcoming presentation, and how she uses meditation and exercise to take mental and physical breaks. Here’s her confidence story.
What does confidence mean to you?
Accepting yourself. Knowing what you stand for. Saying what you think clearly, calmly and firmly. Saying ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’ without feeling bad about it. Maintaining your boundaries. Not people pleasing or putting others down as a way to feel better about yourself.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered?
Pretty much all of them have been self-inflicted: acute cases of imposter syndrome, comparing myself to others and spending far too much time and emotional energy on people and situations I can’t change.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been really good for changing my unhelpful thought patterns.
Meditation and exercise are great for giving me a break from the running commentary in my overly chatty brain.
And lastly, venting to my husband and close friends can be very therapeutic as well!
What are some things you have on the horizon for building or challenging your confidence?
I’ve got a presentation coming up that I’m pretty nervous about. I’m going to deal with my anxiety by focusing on what my audience wants and what I want to communicate, instead of my feelings about public speaking.
What would your advice be to people reading who want to be more UPFRONT?
Be kind to yourself. Take baby steps towards your goals. Celebrate your successes (even if they’re tiny). And don’t listen to the risk-averse voice inside your head that warns you of going for a quick jaunt outside your comfort zone.
Why do you think organisations like UPFRONT are important?
Organisations like UPFRONT give women the chance to develop skills and confidence so they can voice their opinions and have their knowledge, experience and contributions recognised. I LOVE the idea of the UPFRONT couch! It’s so simple, but incredibly important.
Thank you Dawn for sharing your story with us at UPFRONT. Thank you also for collaborating with us to share what goes through the mind of women when they’re speaking in public. Amplifying the voice of others is something that is integral to the work we do.
If you’d like to learn more about her and the work she’s doing, make sure to check out her out on LinkedIn.