3 Things I Know For Sure About Confidence and How to Enhance It
I once heard someone say, "Confidence. It's not a pre-requisite for bold action, but it is the RESULT of bold action."
Confidence is something we all want more of - more confidence to land that deal, to take that risk, to follow our dreams, to get on that stage, to write that book, to ask that person out on a date. The paradox here is... you've got to first be willing to go for what you want, to develop the confidence you think you need to get it. ha!
And it takes courage, another pre-requisite for confidence, to hold onto and act on what you know to be true...for you. Those desires that come from a deep calling, a yearning from the soul. And to move forward, despite ourselves, despite the doubts that maybe we miss heard the call, or maybe we won't add up to the calls expectations, maybe we won't add up to our own expectations, maybe we won't be good enough...it's nothing short of brave.
So today I am going to share with you 3 powerful lessons I have learned that have shaped me and guided me over the years. They are the 3 things I know for sure about confidence. I hope it helps release some of that nagging doubt that sometimes seems stronger than you (but we both know you're stronger than your doubt). Here's to you and your confidence...
1. Confidence is a choice.
There is a mis-guided illusion out in the world that confident people have somehow missed the boat called self-doubt. That they have never tasted the sour flavor of this uninvited temptress or they have somehow 'super powered' their way through it and now live a shiny life of uninterrupted self-assuredness. Another common mis-guided perspective is confusing arrogance and self-righteousness with confidence. Let's make this clear now - arrogance is not confidence - it's insecurity and shame for having insecurities, shrouded in an armour of inauthenticity.
To really understand let's get all 'etymology' up in here for a moment and see what this elusive word is really made of. The word confidence comes from the Latin word Confidentia or Confidere. Fidere means 'to have full trust' and con comes from the word Com, meaning 'with.' So a confident person is someone with full trust. Full trust in something or someone. As far as I see it, trust/faith...it's a choice. Therefore, a confident person is someone who is choosing to operate with trust (in themselves and their abilities)...again and again, despite what anyone thinks, even themselves. And here is the powerful thing about that choice...it will build a better world.
"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world." ~Dalai Lama
2. Confidence is a Practice.
I made the choice a long time ago to consciously cultivate a character trait I deeply wanted - confidence. To believe in myself, my abilities, and in others. To operate with trust and faith in the things I desire, in the magic of life itself, and the innate good of all people. I made this choice, yes. But man oh man, is it a daily practice!
Here is the thing. Just because I made this choice doesn't mean that my inner critic doesn't exist anymore. I intermingle with fear, self-doubt, and insecurity almost daily. I light-heartedly call them my IBSC (itty bitty shitty committee). I do that so I can smile at them and move on despite their point of view. And when they get all rowdy up in my head, I reach out for help. I go to a Yoga class, I write my coach, I talk to my partner or call a friend. I write a blog and tell the truth - "I struggle with self-doubt. I have moments where I think I'm a fraud, I sometimes want to run away from my dreams because I'm so scared I'm not good enough for them." The good news is it truly is just like building an actual muscle. The more I practice confidence (taking bold action), the stronger I get at seeing the truth of who I am and what I am capable of. Is it scary at times? sure. Is it worth it? abso-freakin-lutely.
So you see my friends, confidence is a practice. No one is entitled to it.
3. Confidence is Contagious
One of the most magical things I experience is watching people step into their confidence. In fact, a lot of my confidence muscle tissue was built up during the years I taught at-risk and incarcerated youth in NYC. At some point in the game I realized I needed to show up the I wanted to be in the world (confident, compassionate, curious) despite my doubts. I realized I needed to do this if I was going to be of any support to others in living into their potential as well.
I will never forget one class in particular. I brought a mask to class and used it as a metaphor for how people walk around in the world. The discussion was, 'what masks do you wear?" I shared a few of mine and the kids were stunned! I could see it in their faces that they couldn't believe I was being so...real. I shared some really personal things that day with the kids. I did this with confidence (with full trust/faith) that it was time to get authentic with these students if I wanted to actually create space for change.
It was a moment I will never forget...because my confidence became contagious. The kids started to open up, they cried, they started to look their age (like kids) as the masks came of, they smiled in ways I had not seen before, they laughed, they got real - and in that space we made magic for an hour.
Ultimately, confidence is a choice, then it becomes a practice, which then becomes a gift to others - this is how you cultivating confidence can build a better world.
It's in our willingness to grow that we step into the leaders we were meant to be.
So I'm curious. Which of the 3 lessons resonated with you the most? Why? or maybe you have a lesson to share with us? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below....