My husband Peter likes to fix things—he jokes that he’s a rare breed of “handy Jew.” His dream is to rebuild a vintage car someday. So when something goes awry in our house, he’s quick to jump in with his toolbox, whereas I’d usually pick up the phone and call the handyman.
Problem is, Peter has been traveling for work. A lot. Right now he is in the Middle East for 2 weeks. And of course, our fancy dishwasher decides to conk out while he is gone. There is standing water at the bottom of the unit that won’t drain. The digital error message glares at me and the thing just won’t start.
While I’m itching to call the plumber, I hold back. I remember that this problem has happened before and Peter was able to fix it. I didn’t pay attention as he did so, but I seem to remember that it wasn’t too demanding a project.
So after consulting the dishwasher manual for basic troubleshooting, to no avail, I turn to YouTube for video tutorials. YouTube is my go-to for all how-to questions, even the most basic—there seems to be a video for every issue! And sure enough, there is one for my brand of dishwasher and my particular problem.
I follow the video carefully, removing the dishwasher’s bottom tray and taking apart the plastic drainage components, cleaning them thoroughly, then replacing everything and putting the dishwasher in the drain mode I never knew it had. And it works!
It’s amazing the sense of pride I get from this fairly simple project. Creating or fixing something with my own hands is a great feeling.
In the past, I have also successfully consulted YouTube to help me clean out my bathroom sink drain, using a wire hanger twisted into a hook to scoop up the old hair and gunk (yes, gross but oddly satisfying). My long hair requires I do this a couple of times a year.
When I ponder how one builds confidence, I believe it comes from getting outside our comfort zone, even in small ways. When we show ourselves we can step up to the challenge, it helps us see ourselves in a new way, as the capable people we are. That’s how we build competence, which is at the heart of confidence. And even if we fall down, we can feel proud for trying.
YOUR TURN: What about you? What do you do to build your confidence? Let us know in the comments!