This past week, I was jamming with one of my high performance coaching clients. We were working on the topic of courage, and how she could work that muscle better. We discovered that somewhere along the way, she had attributed acts of courage with being confident. However, since she didn’t view herself as a “confident” person, she had allowed other people to people to take the reigns for her...and she just, kind of, went along. Now, fifty years later, she was finally putting herself in the driver’s seat.
Yet, that confidence thing kept irking at her.
And, because she didn’t feel confident, her courageous, bold action steps were few and far between. The pattern: taking a giant leap forward toward what she wanted - freedom, success, opportunity, soul-enhancing relationships - and then back-stepping four or five steps, nearly back to where she started. Kind of like a Scooby Doo cartoon. (You can add the sound effects.)
“But, Kim,” my client asked me, “how do I become more confident?”
As a coach, I get this question a lot.
You see, confidence isn’t born. No one is born confident. They may have learned how to appear confident, or cocky, or self-assured and modeled that behavior, but no one is born totally confident. If you read ANY biographies about any great leader or influencer - Martin Luther King, Jr. Steve Jobs, Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa, Gandhi - they all admit to feeling fear.
Being confident is NOT the absence of fear.
So often, we have this askew perception that confidence means we have no fear. As Elizabeth Gilbert said so brilliantly in her interview with Marie Forleo, “The only people I know who are truly fearless are toddlers and psychopaths.”
So you know what confidence is not, but, I bet you’re wondering how can you become more confident?
Because let’s be real here, there are times when you’ve backed down from something you knew you should have stood up for. And, there have been moments when your gut told you to run like hell, but polite society (and your upbringing) dictated that you should stay and hear him out. And there have been days when all you wanted to do was curl up in your bed and hide from the world that you feel so separate from.
I’ve been there. I get it. I didn’t even speak in Kindergarten for 6 months!
I was so scared of talking to one of the “cool” girls in class that I followed her around the playground...like a creepy, creepy stalker. That’s how scared of rejection I was! And, any time I would get called on to answer a question in class, I was so paralyzed with fear that I would get it wrong (even though I normally knew the answer), I would pee my pants. Literally
If you think being confident came naturally to me, I can tell you it did not...just ask Mrs. Lukeish.
But, over the years, I figured it out. And with a little of that chutzpah you’ve got in you my fellow queen, you can too. It’s only a reframe away.
HOW TO BE MORE CONFIDENT
No.1 - Confidence is Cultivated
Confidence is only found through action. The more you practice taking those big, bold actions that totally freak you out, the more confident you’ll become. Fear will never totally leave you, and in many ways, that’s a good thing. Fear keeps us alive. When it comes to growth and that #nextlevelshit you’re working on, fear will also come into the picture. Remember...
Just like any other muscle, practicing big, bold actions is a skill. It’s your courage muscle. And it’s got to be flexed and worked in order to grow. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to throw courage into the CrossFit fires or take your courage to a beginner yoga class. You choose the intensity level.
And, as you practice courage which makes you more confident, you’ll feel more competent in what you’re working on.
Start exercising your courage muscle now.
- What action could you take right now that could lead you a step or two closer?
- What action step have you been avoiding taking that you know could move you further forward faster?
No.2 - Place Your Confidence Properly
You’re not going to feel confident when you’re trying ANYTHING new. It’s new. You’ve never done it before. All those fear receptors in your mind are going to be firing off like crazy.
Our confidence is normally misplaced.
We expect to feel confident with the next level, with the goal, with the end result. But that is totally irrational. You can’t possibly feel confident with a result or a goal that you’ve never achieved before.
Place your confidence, instead, in your ability to figure it out.
To quote the great Martin Luther King, Jr., “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Trust yourself. Trust that you know how to figure things out. I mean, you’ve made it this far one the planet for this long, so you’ve figured out how to do a few things by now. Whatever your current challenge is, you can figure that out too.
Let’s take the first step together:
- When was there a time when you were totally confident in being able to figure something out?
- What did you do?
- How did you speak to yourself?
- What did you feel when you did figure it out?
This gives you your strategy to figure things out. Tackle any problem by thinking, feeling, and seeing things in the same way, and you’ll be able to figure that problem out too.
Tell me what you’ve figured out in the comments below.
Share this confidently with one friend who could use a boost of courage + confidence.