Finding the bravery to pursue something you feel strongly about isn’t always an easy path. We spoke to activist and musician Poppy Ajudha and asked her to share her best tips on self-confidence, being courageous and carving out your own journey…
Sometimes you can have a brilliant idea but lack the inner confidence to make it happen.
Whether it’s a business idea, a social cause or something completely unique to you, it can be hard to turn your thought into something more tangible if, deep down, you don’t believe that you’re capable of doing it.
Nevertheless, it’s important to stay true to yourself and pursue what you believe in - after all, we’re all the sum of our own lived experiences.
We spoke to a woman who has no trouble when it comes to having courage in her convictions and following her own path, campaigner and musician Poppy Ajudha, to find out what her secrets are.
Here’s what she had to say…
Use your words
Speech and the power of words is incredibly important.
That’s why we have to be careful with how we think about people and what stereotypes we put into the world. That’s also true for the way we think about ourselves and it makes a difference if you’re saying positive things to yourself or equally if you’re beating yourself up and saying you look bad or that you’re stupid. If you’re always putting yourself down, those microaggressions build up into a negative mindset.
On a wider level, if you’re talking about social issues or a certain group that’s marginalised, the way that we talk about them dictates how other people think about them and how they think about themselves. That can change so much in any society.
You can also use words to make other people believe in you. That’s literally what marketing people do.
If you want to sell something, even an idea, you just have to make someone believe it and make them believe that you’re right. It’s the power of persuasion. Sometimes you have to fake it til you make it.
You put forward what you want other people to see and believe. So, if you believe that you’re rubbish and that you can’t do something other people won’t believe you can either. You have to see it in yourself before other people see it.
Know that your difference is your strength
Everyone has a uniqueness to them. The more we are ourselves, the more that comes across.
Sometimes people with low self-esteem don’t think they’re unique but actually they are. You could talk like the people around you because you want to fit in, but if you were to talk like yourself you would show what makes you special.
People gravitate towards you if you’re confident and show your true character.
You don’t have to be stereotypically beautiful or slim, people who are just loudly themselves can shine in a room and you want to be near them and you want to talk to them and know who they are.
Everybody’s story is different and that’s what makes you you – your stories and your past.
It’s not always about face value. You don’t have to wear blue eyeshadow or red lipstick – it’s about who you are as a person and how you come across to other people.
I feel most confident when I’m able to express myself freely and be my authentic self.
That can be wearing the things that make me feel like me or wearing a certain perfume that makes me think of all the experiences I’ve gone through in my life. For example, when I wear My Way it takes me back to all the shows I’ve played around the world and all the people that I’ve met.
Our difference is what gives us so much power and makes us unique.
It’s what disrupts the norms of society and that’s what we have to do because tradition is what makes people get stuck in a certain way. If you want there to be progress there has to be change.
People who change the way we think about the world are important because it opens our mind to new possibilities in life which makes us less biased and discriminatory.
Having courage in your convictions means believing in yourself, believing that your input is important and that what you have to say is worth saying.
If you don’t believe that what you’re doing is the right thing, you’re not likely to get it out into the world.
You need to work really hard. Dream big, be creative, think outside the box and don’t be afraid to go against the grain and do things that other people aren’t doing.
Almost anyone can have a good idea but the people who are successful and follow through with those ideas work really, really hard until other people believe them.
No one’s going to believe you if your idea or the thing you want to do is crazy and unique and out-there. You have to prove to them it’s worth doing.
There are so many people who have had insanely successful businesses that no one believed in at first or thought was a good idea.
You have to be really persistent. It’s the key word. Be really persistent, work hard and never falter from your own belief in that idea.
My mum has always said to me since I was really little that I’m one-track minded and I’m all or nothing. It doesn’t matter what else is happening, if there’s something that I want I’m always thinking about it.
It can sometimes make you have a tunnel vision, but it can also mean that you’re really focused.
I put my everything into something and I’m in my element when I’m working on the thing that I love.
Reframe your failures
The people who are successful are the people who refuse to take failure as meaning that they are a failure.
We all have to experience failure to learn how to do things better, to learn how to do things differently and also to show us why we value things.
If everything was easy we wouldn’t value much in life and we wouldn’t value the success we get.
Sometimes we can think, “I failed at this thing, it means I’m rubbish.” It doesn’t mean that. It just means that maybe you weren’t ready at that moment to receive the thing that you wanted to do – for example, maybe there were biases against you at that time.
It’s not necessarily always about you. I think sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that, because if we gave up we wouldn’t achieve anything.
The advice I give is definitely based on my own experience and I think everybody finds rejection and failure difficult.
Everybody thinks, “Why has that person got something that I haven’t?” but everybody’s on a different journey. This era cultivates the idea that we should view everybody else all the time and it makes you compare yourself to other people.
We have to remember that we’re all working at different speeds and that’s fine.
Find a support network
It’s really important to have a support network. That doesn’t always have to come from your family – often your family won’t be supportive at first because they want you to have security and they want to be on the safe side.
I’ve been playing and singing since I was so little and it was always something I wanted to do.
Sometimes your family might take a bit longer to get on board but it’s about finding that support network elsewhere if you can’t find it with your family. There will always be people who love and support you if you show love and support to other people. Having friends who you trust and who you feel safe around and care about is so important because then you uplift each other.
When you feel a bit different or you live life in a different way, it can be hard to find people who see the world in the way you do but putting yourself in spaces where you can meet new people will always do that. If you go to certain events or nights you might meet people. That’s really important.
It’s OK to be lonely sometimes as long as you have the trust and belief that you will meet people that you’ll connect with.
You should always search for people like that – you shouldn’t stay friends with people who don’t uplift you or people who are toxic and make you feel bad about yourself because you won’t be able to achieve your goals with those kind of people around you.
Embrace the mantra ‘I am what I live’ with My Way, the new scent by Giorgio Armani. The contemporary floral fragrance is inspired by our search for meaning and authenticity and the experiences that shape who we are and how we connect with others.
My Way is created with a blend of consciously sourced ingredients from around the world, including vanilla sourced from Madagascar through an inclusive program that benefits local communities.