I met Anna within the first week of arriving in Cape Town nearly 7 years ago and she immediately struck me as a confident, self-assured woman who knew what she wanted to achieve in life. It’s been such an inspiration to watch her evolve of the years into the successful and steadfast business woman and author┬áthat she is. I’ve watched and even photographed her evolution, from head shots and personal branding images to creating her portrait for the cover of her biography.

Whenever we get together, I always come away feeling uplfited, encouraged and empowered to be the successful business woman I know I’m destined to be. Thank you Anna for being the example and mentor that you are! And thank you for sharing your confidence story with me…

Meet Anna

Business Name
Anna Emm Productions
Website address
Social Media Links
Sharon from Chandramala photographed by Abigail K Photography A Cape Town based Portrait Photographer

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The Full Interview…

Did you have a female role model when you were growing up who taught you that women could be strong, independent and confident. If so, who was it?

One of my drawbacks is that I never had a female role model growing up. I was born in a traditional Afrikaans home where the father was the final authority on all things – including finances – and the mother was there to take care of the household and the children. I think it would have been much easier for me to “break through” in the business world if I had a female role model who showed me it was possible. I have big issues with this! Now, as a mom of two girls, I feel an added responsibility to be an example of what can be done… They don’t have to decide they want to be a career women one day, but I will show them that they have a choice. I believe that girls who have strong mothers who chase their dreams while raising a healthy family – not letting the one be at the cost of the other – have such an advantage in life! They have no ceiling in their minds.

What’s the best advice you received to boost your confidence when you were younger?

One again, I had NO confidence when I was young… I came from an abusive home, and was sent into the world with a distorted idea of myself and the world around me. It took me years to overcome this, to heal, and to let myself be who I wanted to be. But I would say that I looked up to women like Oprah Winfrey, Coco Chanel, Marianne Fassler … who broke boundaries in their fields. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a game changer. I think all the abuse, not fitting in, struggling with self esteem – these things made me stubborn in my search for that place I would fit. It helped me to, in the end, create that place for myself. A place I could just breathe… Maybe that is what all the square pegs do. They end up creating a square hole for themselves, in a world where all the holes are round. Not fitting into the status quo, inspires us to change it.

But I am not answering your question! Someone once told me at the beginning of my career, that it takes more courage to admit a mistake and change course, than to remain on a course that is wrong. I have learned to cut quickly once I see something is not working. You very seldom can make a wrong right. You have to start over. Cutting quickly and changing course as soon as you can, saves a lot of time and money in the end. Have confidence in your inner voice. If it feels wrong, it will never feel right.

How did that impact you physically and emotionally?

I think that I have learned not to make too much of my mistakes, and to “get over” them quickly so I can move on, or begin again.

What does confidence mean to you?

It is proof of my healing and growth over the past ten years. Because I started out with nothing but fear.

When was a time you felt your most confident?

My confidence grows year after year. But I always feel most confident after I have survived/conquered some kind of personal battle. After a really tough time, when I surface on the other side, and I am in a better place than before – that is when I feel most confident.

How do you celebrate yourself on a regular basis?

I am not a great celebrator… Something I need to work on. I think this comes from my childhood where we were never fussed over, or celebrated or praised. I am uncomfortable with celebrations. I am always careful not to indulge in them, not to let them make me lose my focus or take my eye off the ball. There is always another battle on the horizon… I let the staff celebrate, while I’m planning our next move in the meantime. ­čÖé

What do you do when you need an immediate confidence boost?

I am one of those people whose strength and motivation needs to come from the inside. I am not motivated by praise or pep talks or victories. I am motivated by focusing on my goal, measuring my progress and planning my next ten steps carefully. Preparation motivates me. Training motivates me. So when in need of a boost, I seek alone time to look inwards, to talk to God, and to hear from Him. To get focus again. Then I am fine.

Do you have any confidence boosting or self love mantras or sayings?

What are they? Haha! Not really. Lately, when I feel intimidated, I remind myself of the scripture that says “God is for us, not against us”. He wants to see me win.

What online resources (websites, blogs, forums) boost your confidence?

I love reading the blog posts on Harvard Business Review. Real people running real businesses in today’s environment, sharing their tips with other business people. https://hbr.org/

What advice would you give to a girl or woman who clearly has low confidence or low self love?

Real confidence only comes when you are truly at home in your own skin, when you are presenting your authentic self to the world – no masks. Let go of other people’s ideas and opinions and expectations, and be who you are, love what you love, live the life you imagined. That brings confidence, because it means that your are living bravely. You will never find confidence behind a mask.

What advice would your 85 year old self give you about your confidence & self love, today?

Don’t wait for confidence or self love before you act. Don’t let the lack of it keep you from moving forward. Do it anyway. Do it afraid. Because in doing, you will grow confidence and self love.

If you were 5% kinder to yourself, starting tomorrow, what would you start doing differently?

Wearing tighter clothes! Haha! I always feel my body is ‘not yet right’ for the clothes I love, and then I wear clothes I love a little less.

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