I have to freely admit I am addicted to HBO Sunday evening series. Have been for years. My latest and possibly absolute favorite is Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. It drives, strives and it thrives. The mental and emotional workout both the actors and the viewers go through in each episode is both elating and exhausting. All of the characters are severely imbalanced in their work-life, however you forgive that when you watch them navigate and operate through an insane newsroom maze every week. The sheer energy it takes for the collective ensemble to pull off the superior intensity is truly an entertainment narcotic.
The characters in the The Newsroom all have moxie. Moxie means the combination of your head, heart, gut and groin, working in a conscious or unconscious symbiotic symphony in an anything-it-takes effort to deliver. In entertainment it’s called “chops,” other professions it goes by expertise, know-how, proficiency, savvy and skill. Having moxie requires a few important ingredients—foremost being confidence. I have the regular opportunity to talk to our diverse LGBTQ community and in a lot of those conversations good people share feelings, experiences, wishes and goals, many of which are incomplete, yet to be started, or abandoned. This always makes me rather saddened when I hear of the importance of what they desire, however being unable to obtain it as of yet; most seeming without hope or pathway.
Within our queer community, and rightfully so, there is a tremendous amount of leftover hurt feelings; this is decreasing with each generation as we have all observed, but the shame and self-guilt coupled with self-doubt seems to still be unfortunately plentiful. If you were raised in Utah, have lived here for a long period of time, there is a permission or martyr mentality that keeps 1ueer folk from really possessing the enormous courage it takes to fucking just go for it.
Moxie or confidence is a tool you can use in your everyday life to do all kinds of amazing stuff, not least to stop second-guessing yourself, manage your fears and become able to do more of the things that really matter to you.
Several readers of QSaltLake have told me they appreciate my lists in certain columns I have written in the Queer-Shift series. Well — please take a minute and consider this list that will increase moxie, hopefully allowing you to focus on a few of these and take that step and soar. Here’s my TOP 20.
1. Learning always expands confidence. Start small—sign up for that evening class you’ve been putting off and relish it.
2. Get out of your own head by asking your partner/spouse or best friend what you can do for them today.
3. Hit the gym, walk, do cardio. The physiological effects will leave you feeling great as well as very capable.
4. Go to a networking event and focus on how you could possibly be helpful to other people rather than being nervous about yourself and your own stuff.
5. Get crystal clear on the things that truly matter to you. If they’re not in your life, you need to bring them in.
6. Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove or lessen each one; release the toxic people and things from your life, they drain you and exhaust your valuable personal resources.
7. Look at a great win or success you’ve experienced and give yourself credit for it, deconstruct how it all came together and recognize your achievements, it’s not egotistical, it’s healthy.
8. Do one thing each day that makes you smile (on the inside or on the outside).
9. Look for the patterns of thought that take you to a place where you start second-guessing or over-thinking. Now imagine that your best friend went through exactly the same thought process and ended up holding themselves back – what would you want to say to them.
10. To increase moxie you have to keep your mind well fed, so write a list of 20 things that keeps your mind feeling nourished and make sure you’re giving them room in your life.
11. Stop playing different roles and squeezing yourself into boxes based on what you think people expect you to act like.
12. Learn to catch yourself every single time you tell yourself that you can’t have, won’t get or aren’t good enough to get what you want, this takes regular practice but is one of the biggies on this list.
13. Next time you come up against a risk or a challenge, listen to what you tell yourself and look for a way that inner dialog can be improved. Ask yourself, “What would make this easier?”
14. Shake the hell out of your thinking and don’t think for a second that you can’t be confident, there are already loads of things you do with natural self-confidence, you just have to notice them and get familiar with how it feels. Examine the things you do when the question of whether you’re capable of achieving arises.
15. Most everyone, including you, have a whole bunch of out-dated rules that determine what you do, don’t do, should do and shouldn’t do. These rules limit your thinking and limit your bias for action. Tear up your rule book and notice how free you are to make great decisions.
16. Trust your instincts, they know what they’re talking about.
17. If you’d already done everything in life you’d have no need to be scared. Don’t ever think that being scared means you’re not confident, it simply means you’re going somewhere new.
18. Don’t get swept up in the drama of what’s happening right now, look for more useful ways of engaging with what happens in your life.
19. Fear is a way of letting you know that you’re about to stretch yourself and grow your confidence, that’s a good thing, so use it to take yourself forward rather than run away.
20. Being confident, increasing your moxie is an ongoing process, it isn’t a goal or an endpoint that you reach and then stop. Keep playing to the best of your ability and your confidence will always be there to support you.
Twenty is a long list, but chunk them up; 1-3 a week, tackle a bunch, grab all 20 and read, meditate, ponder or examine how you are doing. Embrace and realize that self-confidence works just like a muscle – it grows in response to the level of performance required of it. It can and will grow and you either use it or you lose it.
Full disclosure admission. Most of the time I am faced with the deadline of writing this Queer-Shift column, the topic kicks me in the ass—because it is something I too need the most. There I’ve admitted it, when I go after a topic with everything I have, it’s about and for me. Sharing my thoughts takes away the selfish feeling. I need to think, write, listen, and do what I am humbly recommending to others. I hope this list gives you some practical life actions that will increase your moxie, hutzpah, embolden your mind, grow the balls, and believe you can do it.
See you in the left moxie lane on the freeway called life.