‘Irish Women Definitely Struggle With Confidence’: Author Caroline Foran On Feeling The Fear And Doing It Anyway

Her new book, The Confidence Kit, is a practical toolkit for building self-confidence.

Last year, journalist Caroline Foran authored Owning It, a self-proclaimed ‘bullsh*t free’ guide to living with anxiety.

The relatable account of her own experiences touched many readers, and the book soared to the top of the bestseller charts. So what do you do when you have a handle on your anxiety? You start building your confidence.

In her new book The Confidence Kit, Caroline explores the thorny topic of fear and how it impacts our lives. It was inspired, she tells STELLAR, by the interviews and talks she was giving to promote Owning It.

“This was a whole new level of unnerving for me, and a new type of fear that I had to contend with,” she said.

Now instead of worrying about having a panic attack if I left the house, I was dealing with everyday fears, such as the fear of failure, and I wanted to tackle this head-on. I wanted to make the jump from stability to success.

So she got to work researching for The Confidence Kit, debunking myths and smashing through assumptions that so many of us hold about confident people. For example, the idea of confidence as a ‘personality type’.

“We look at an extroverted person and assume they’re confident, but confidence – which comes from the Latin ‘fidere’ – is all about having faith in yourself in a particular area in your life,” she says. “You could be very confident in your ability at work, but a lot less confident socially.”

The resulting book is a ‘practical toolkit’ to help the reader through various situations and build confidence in whatever area of their lives they feel they might need it most.

Caroline thinks that while women in general seem to struggle more with confidence than men, Irish women have that almost in-built layer of self-deprecation and unwillingness to accept compliments to surmount.

“Irish women definitely struggle with confidence. Perhaps it’s another Irish thing, but we are unbelievably apologetic when there’s no reason to be. I think things are changing, though.”

We’re getting braver and we’re more empowered than ever – things like the Repeal campaign certainly help with female confidence, so I would say that confidence in Irish women is on the up. We’re also less afraid of and less willing to put up with the idea that a confident woman with opinions and a voice is ‘pushy’ or ‘controlling’ or a bitch. Those days are done.

As for Caroline herself, writing the book has helped her figure things out: “I’m definitely more confident in myself now, and definitely more confident as an author. I’m far better equipped to put myself out there.”

One of the best lightbulb moments was when I realised that fearlessness is not the answer. It let me off the hook; I could stop trying to rid myself of fear and work with it rather than against it. I realised that success isn’t just something that happens to fearless people. If anything, it happens to people who are OK with fear and comfortable with failure.

The Confidence Kit is out now. If you like what you’re hearing and heading down to the Body And Soul festival this weekend, you can catch Caroline at the Innovators panel at the Veuve Clicquot Garden at 1pm on Saturday. 


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