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The Two Kinds of Confidence Every Young Adult Needs

By: Olivia Timbone

The following was written based on a conversation with our Community Manager, Garrett May

Before joining Surv as Growth Manager, I spent several weeks in Utila, Honduras earning my Divemaster Certification. I had always loved diving (took an open water diving course as an elective in college), but I felt there was something missing to my overall confidence. So a few years after college, I signed up for a professional dive master certification program through a dive center in Utila, Honduras. 

Everyday, my colleagues and I rotated between diving practice, attending classes, preparing for tests, eating food at a local diner and learning how to use our gear. Along the way, I learned that becoming a confident divemaster requires more than just skills and knowledge. We were tested on what we knew, but more importantly, we were tested on how we could figure out what we didn’t know. 

In other words, we were tested on our ability to learn, improvise and adapt to new situations. We were tested on our ability to figure it out and find solutions to new problems that perhaps we had never faced before. It was a little scary, but I came away confident that no matter what situation I would face in diving (or in life), I would be able to figure it out

As Growth Manager at Surv, I work alongside many young people still in their twenties. As I’ve been meeting with them for 1-1 coaching sessions, I’ve been thinking more about what it looks like to help them grow in this “figure it out” confidence too. How can I help our Locals and community partners develop a solution-oriented mindset? 

One practical step we’ve taken is to focus on talking about solutions rather than problems in our meetings. It’s a small but powerful change because it requires us to immediately start thinking about how we can brainstorm solutions rather than focusing on what’s wrong. I’ve watched my colleagues grow as they realize they can figure many problems out, that they don’t have to know all the answers from the get-go. 

Few things are more powerful than realizing that even if you don’t know the answer right now, you’re confident that you can overcome your uncomfortable feelings and learn. You’re confident in your growth potential. Knowledge, skills and capability are important, but they’re even more powerful if you combine them with the belief that you can learn, grow, adapt and improvise.

Most young people are taught to be confident in what they know, they’re not really taught about how to be confident in their ability to learn what they don’t know. At Surv, I’m hoping we can change that and give our community partners and Locals plenty of opportunities to grow in both kinds of confidence. 

Know a young person looking for a meaningful, flexible job? Tell them about Surv!