On Monday, November 29, The Hun School welcomed award-winning journalist and news anchor Katty Kay as a guest of the School’s Centennial Speaker Series and Her at Hun: Celebrating 50 Years of Girls and Women. Ms. Kay is the co-author of four New York Times bestsellers, including The Confidence Code. In her presentation to Hun students, she tackled everything from the research behind the confidence gap between men and women to practical tools for overcoming it.
After Ms. Kay’s presentation to the entire School, she hosted a discussion with faculty to discuss tools and techniques for supporting students in the classroom.
Here are five things that Ms. Kay taught the Hun community.
1. Robots are perfect, humans are not.
Ms. Kay notes that one of the biggest confidence killers is the pursuit of perfection. “You are never going to be perfect, so stop trying,” she said. “It is an impossible bar that you’ve set and the pursuit of perfection will deprive you of opportunities. Not everything you do has to be perfect, it just has to be good enough; and being good enough, is good enough.”
2. Confidence turns thoughts into actions.
“It’s not enough to just think you are going to run for student body president, you actually have to do it,” she said. “The more you take action, the more confidence you will build.” Ms. Kay notes that students should think of building confidence the same way they think of building a brick wall. “Every time you overcome something, struggle, or fail, that is when you will add another brick to your wall of confidence.”
3. You are not everybody’s headline all the time.
Ms. Kay explains that it is so easy for people to fall into the trap of catastrophizing and self-ruminating, which often leads to killing one's confidence. “Take yourself out of it,” she said. “You are not everybody’s headline, people aren’t sitting around thinking about how you messed up a line in your presentation. They have their own lives to focus on and you have got to learn to take the personal stuff out of it.”
4. Every person you know is going to fail.
Ms. Kay notes that there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to failure: “failure is normal, it happens to everybody at some point in their lives, and once you accept that, you will learn to be kinder to yourself.” When speaking about failure, she references the brick wall of confidence and how failure will only continue to build that wall, not break it down.
5. Be authentic.
“When you are trying to act in a way that is not authentic to who you are, it’s really hard to be confident,” she said. “When you act more, think less, and own who you are, that is when you will gain confidence. Being confident isn’t about being the loudest in the room, it’s about being honest about your abilities, so that you can do all of the things your talents allow you to do.”