confidence

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.}Dr. Barakzai and colleague share a laugh.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth.org blog.

She asked me, "How do you get confidence? I had it and then lost it. I want it back!"

For more than a decade I have been in close contact with Afghan women who, if they were put together to form a government, would change the course of history in their country. Some are older and have proven to be extraordinary leaders—the kind of people who are needed to create the conditions for peace. Others are young and full of energy to turn things around as they watch the international and local debates about Afghanistan's future. And some are in the middle; they are developing their leadership skills in their immediate surroundings, practicing, falling down, brushing themselves off, and trying again.

The question from my young colleague resonated with me because the issue of confidence had come up several times during my recent stay in Kabul—how easy it is to get it and how easily it is lost.

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