How to Find Your Confidence and the Right Mentorship

Something a little bit different this week! I was invited on to the “Work Woman” podcast hosted by entrepreneur and speaker Natalie Workman! Earlier this year in Las Vegas, Natalie and I happened to meet each other in the elevator while attending the same conference. From the get-go, we hit it off. Natalie truly embodies the spirit of what makes a woman successful in today’s fast-paced digital world.

Since we met pre-quarantine, we led off with how we spent this time investing in ourselves. While the world has been a little upside down this year, I have really valued and capitalized on these past several months. I’m proud to say that I’ve seen my business take shape, and start to make an impact on the lives of young women across the country.

This year I have:

  • Started a ladies networking group
  • Launched a podcast
  • Created a blog
  • Developed two digital courses for mindset and confidence

I encourage you to use this time to try something new yourself! It seems like this might be the new normal for a little while longer, so make this additional time your breakthrough time. Work on that side hustle, develop new skills, make new connections — you’re going to look back a year from now and wish you started today, I promise.

A Breakthrough In Confidence

In my chat with Natalie, we discussed my start in pageantry while I was a college student at the University of Iowa. Walking into that world with no prior experience, I had some major misconceptions about what it took to compete, and more importantly, what it meant to be a winner.

“I thought I needed to eat a ton of chicken and broccoli. Have the best dress. Have the best spray tan, and the best hair and makeup — and I was going to win. Well, I had a lot to figure out, needless to say. Going into it I thought I needed to have all the external things in place… What you really need is [a positive mindset and confidence].”

That really is the difference between being a titleholder and not. Natalie quickly picked up on the importance of confidence and mental toughness when living inside the pageant world.

[Natalie]: “The first few times you didn’t win, and so there’s that confidence, the internal work that is not in front of people. It’s like an iceberg, you only see the pageant pieces, which is just a small portion. It’s the depth of what does it take as a person to once you don’t hit the goal to continue to come back, continue to gain the skills you need in order to be ready for that moment that everybody sees.”

I competed for eight years, and finally won on my sixth competition. Believe me, losing hurts. But after every letdown, I made sure I picked myself back up. I reanalyzed my priorities, my inner circle, and my coaches/mentors after each loss. I needed to make sure I was surrounding myself with the people who were helping get me to my goal. So sometimes that involved cutting toxic people out of my life, or coaches that just weren’t giving me the type of winning tools I needed.

“I’ve cried plenty of times after losing. I hate losing. I’m a competitor, and I love to win. But I also know that you’re not going to get success without a little bit of failure and learning experiences in between.”

In all my years of competing, I hired over 22 different coaches. I wanted to be trained by the people who have been where I want to be. I struggled to understand early on that I don’t need a coach to be a one-size-fits-all solution for every aspect to pageantry. People are often experts in one or two areas, and hiring coaches that specialize in one specific area is what gave me the best degree of training.

While Natalie didn’t compete in pageantry, she knows exactly what I’m talking about.

[Natalie]: “In the early days of my career, what I really struggled with was that I identified people that I looked up to, and who had that status in the area that I wanted to be in. But what I struggled with was that thinking that if I’m picking her as a mentor, she has to be my mentor in all areas. So I’m going to look at her family life, I’m going to look at her work life, I’m going to look at her love life. And I really thought I needed to find the perfect person and I was on this quest constantly to find the perfect person… what I realized is that my story, my background is unique. Therefore, I’m not going to find someone who has everything that I’m looking for, but I can pinpoint with a variety of mentors who I need to look at… and I can learn from them for that one thing.”


To be honest, your confidence doesn’t come from your coach, but it comes from yourself. Obviously who you surround yourself with does impact your self-esteem and personal belief, trust me, I’ve been there where a toxic relationship drained my ability to believe in myself. So yes, we need to invest in people who build us up and give us the support to be the best version of ourselves. However, confidence stems from the soul — being authentic in what makes you, you — and not being ashamed of that.

“Now I believe ‘don’t fake it til you make it.’ Let’s be real. Let’s be authentic. If you fake who you are, right now in this moment. Then you’re going to have to continue faking it the more successful you become — and that was really true when it came to pageantry.”

I am a firm believer in “I AM” statements.

For example, if you want to land that job you’ve been dreaming of, I believe that writing things out has real power.

“I AM qualified. I AM smart. I AM talented. I AM built with a purpose.”

These affirmations and positive reinforcements slowly build and build in your soul, until you stop doubting it, and start achieving it. I’ve seen it over and over again in my life, and the lives of so many other women.

At the end of the day, we as women need to invest in ourselves.

It is the best investment we can make.

Be Unstoppable!

– Tori