Norma Rae: Classic Movie Characters with Kickass Confidence

Norma Rae, played by Sally Field (Academy Award for Best Actress)

When I think of Norma Rae, I think of the incredibly powerful scene where she stands up on her work table at the cotton mill and holds up a sign that says one word on it–“UNION”. As she turns slowly around the room to be sure that every single worker sees her, the camera captures that unmistakable mark of confidence: the unshakable belief in yourself and your cause.

Photo: Sally Field in Norma Rae (1979, Martin Ritt director)

Kickass confidence often comes to us when we believe deeply that what we are about to do can help others. That kind of compassion moves us out our shell of shyness to take that next difficult step forward. It can be powerfully infectious, as it was in Norma Rae, creating what I call ‘collective courage”—strong enough to build great unions and teams.

When you fear doing anything you know in your heart to be true, ask yourself: ‘”If I do this, how many people can I help?” And then do it, and see what amazing things happen. Stand up on the table if you have to.

–Michelle Kerrigan for Classic Movie Hub


Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace performance who helps clients achieve success by developing the skills they need to increase their confidence. She shares “Classic Movie Characters with Kickass Confidence” because each of them has inspired her. She hopes that they inspire you too. For more about Michelle, visit

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