Confidence critical for personal and professional success

By Jerome Doraisamy|01 December 2020
Shannen de la Motte

Whether it be as an in-house lawyer or professional model, Shannen de la Motte knows that bolstering her confidence and being true to herself is the best path forward for her career.

Ms de la Motte may be in the early stages of her career, but she already has a good grip on what will be required of her to ensure fulfilment and purpose.

As a junior legal counsel at AIG (where she has worked for almost five years) and now as a curve model for BELLA Management (with whom she signed in May of this year), she is certainly keeping busy, having already landed shoots with big-name brands such as Peter Alexander – but noted that working from home in the age of coronavirus has “made it a lot easier” to manage the juggle.

“I can accept or decline shoots depending on my availability which makes things easier. Some shoots are on the weekend and some may be early morning which means that can log back on in the afternoon,” she told Lawyers Weekly.

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When asked about transferrable skills and lessons between her two seemingly different vocational paths, Ms de la Motte said that her work gives her avenues through which she can “constantly” work on developing her confidence, whether it be for speaking up in a meeting or shooting in front of a camera.

“Both careers require confidence in yourself and your role. It is a mindset that develops over time,” she explained.

“I have found that the more I step out of my comfort zone and take chances the more confident I become.”

Moreover, she continued, being a team player is a vital skill that is “often underrated”.

“It is important to embrace collaboration and have good interpersonal skills in whatever role you are in. At the end of the day the team has a common goal to achieve. You cannot avoid collaboration,” she said.

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It is critical to develop and maintain that confidence, Ms de la Motte noted, in light of the “vicious cycle” of perfectionism and competitiveness that is ever-present in the legal profession – including with regards to many lawyers’ unhealthy perceptions of body, weight and shape.

“I do think that competition and perfectionism fuel the pressure on men and women to achieve an ideal or desirable body shape,” she reflected.

“The good thing is that now this has become a prominent topic in the mental health space in an effort to bring awareness to the issue. There is still a long way to go to address these issues as they can be subconscious beliefs for many people.”

When asked how best lawyers can manage their holistic wellbeing with regards to self-perception of image, Ms de la Motte said that, ultimately, it comes down to altering one’s mindset.

“In order for me to do that, I surround myself with uplifting and like-minded friends. I am learning to stop comparing myself with other people and embracing an abundance mindset. I intentionally follow inspiring people on social media which has really helped me in the self-acceptance sphere,” she outlined.

Not only this, but Ms de la Motte’s in-house and modelling careers have taught her that one does not need to buy into the “constant need” to be pitted against each other in order to become successful.

“If someone does not want to climb the corporate ladder, that is okay. If someone wants to move into another area of practice for flexibility or a more relaxed environment, that is also okay. Everyone has a different definition of success,” she submitted.

“I recently read Jay Shetty’s ‘Think Like a Monk’ which I recommend to people looking to learn about living intentionally and in accordance with their values. I encourage in-house lawyers to really find out what makes them happy, take breaks and pivot as and when needed.”

Confidence critical for personal and professional success
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