You might not think that an Olympic and world heptathlon champion would have moments of self-doubt. However, Jessica Ennis-Hill is just like the rest of us, and lacks confidence at times too.
Young people’s confidence is at an all-time low. A recent survey found that over one third of young people aged between the ages of 11 and 24 feel ‘unconfident’. Here, Jessica talks about her own struggles with confidence issues, and gives us some life advice.
1. What were you like as a child?
I was always a shy, skinny, small child. I wasn’t very confident at all. I started playing sport and I really enjoyed it. Sport really changed me life, it put me into a whole new environment. I have to thank my family as they were the ones who gave me confidence. They were the ones who got me into athletics.
2. Why do you think people should get into sport?
I can’t say strongly enough how incredible sport can be. It’s an amazing tool that can just change your life. Sport gave me my personality, confidence, belief in myself and a drive that makes me want to be as successful as I can be. It has made me who I am today.
3. Do you always feel confident?
No I have moments where I question myself and hope that I do everything right, but surrounding yourself with great people is so important. They give me the encouragement that I need. My coach and the experiences we have together in training also build up mine and their confidence levels.
4. How has having baby Reggie changed things for you?
Yes any new mother would say that it opens you up into the craziest world. You have never experienced anything like it before, even if people tell you what to expect. You can never really prepare. It’s totally different. I have moments where I ask myself if I’m a good mum and if I’m doing things right but you know that’s normal. I do lack a bit of confidence but I have a fantastic support network.
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5. How do you deal with fame?
Being watched all the time does put extra pressure on me and it’s a real learning curve. You learn through experiences. My first few competitions felt like a whole different world. Having your face on TV and people following what you do is completely new. You do slowly get used to it but at the end of the day you are just there to perform. You have to keep focussed on yourself and not let what others say affect you.
6. What would your advice be to young people?
Believe in yourself and I know it sounds really cheesy but you do have moments where you doubt yourself, but self-belief is everything.