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What is your self-confidence?
Do you feel like you have it?
Do you have it only sometimes? And then other times you seem to "lose it," and you just have no idea where it went?
In this article, I'm going to share with you some of the components that make up your self-confidence, and what to do in times of weakness if you know you've got them.
Your self-confidence makes up quite a lot of the foundation for success in your life. When you know you're good at something, you exude a confidence that people pick up on, and they are alert to watching your performance with interest. This could happen during a phone call, for instance, or a presentation, or whatever your job or role is in your workplace, family, or community. You don't have any qualms about how good or bad your performance is, and so you're completely yourself, and people enjoy seeing that.
But what about when you're not sure of yourself? What if you're in new territory? What if you're trying something for the first time? Do you get all caught up in "What if I'm no good? What if I fail? What if I'm not good enough for this person, or experience, or new opportunity?"
These are some of the thoughts that may be going through our heads when we are trying something new, or are faced with an experience that challenges us.
And we are not alone. Statistics show that anxiety levels rise for people who are in unfamiliar circumstances or situations that they may find uncomfortable: a crowded room, for example, a new love, a new job, or a new town or environment that is unfamiliar to them. This anxiety can lead to recoiling or retreating for some, but for others it can represent an opportunity for growth: to learn something new, to stretch beyond our own current boundaries, to grow beyond what we thought were our own current capacities.
This is what I like to call expansion, and what I work with in all of my clients when we are dealing with an area of growth that they want to work on. Yes, it's uncomfortable. Yes, it's unfamiliar, and yes, it will freak you out! This often has to do with things you "don't like."
Here are a few common ones I hear quite frequently:
"I hate technology" or, "I'm not a techie person." So therefore, learning any new technology will freak you out.
"I hate speaking in front of people." So therefore, guess what? Speaking in front of people will freak you out.
"I can't stand crowded places." So guess what? You got it, crowded places will freak you out.
The thing is, all of these situations can be managed, and managed well. In fact, the thing you are most freaked out about just might be the thing you will become the most comfortable with later; perhaps you'll even become an expert.
I remember the first time I had to learn how to use a computer. I had all these excuses up my sleeve as to why I "didn't need to," or why I "didn't want to": "I'm an artist, I can't learn that stuff," or, "It's too foreign to me. I don't like it. It's a guy thing." Bear in mind, this was in the mid-eighties, and we were using DOS (if any of you remember that) and Windows and Macs weren't even invented yet! LOL. It was hard (for me anyway).
But I bought a laptop, because I wanted to write. And in order to write, I needed to learn how to use the thing. And in order to learn how to use the thing, I had to read a manual. Ugh. The last thing I ever wanted to do on a summer vacation was read a computer manual!
But I did. And pretty soon, a little by little, day by day, I was starting to get somewhere. Then I got some writing software. Then I learned that. Lo and behold, my first screenplay was written on that laptop, during that summer. And it went on to be reviewed by several Hollywood producers and was entered into a contest at the Sundance Film Institute. It went on to rise to the top 25 out of 200 screenplays! Woah. That caught the attention of a few producers; they called me, and we had conversations about my plans for production.
Could I have ever imagined that getting past my fear and anxiety about computers would lead to a screenplay that went as far as it did? No. But I had a reason to get past that fear, and that's what kept me motivated to get through the hard parts.
What are you motivated about?
You see, you never know how things are going to turn out after you surpass that fear, that inhibition, all those excuses you have about why you can't do something or why you hate something, or whatever you're coming up with!
Get past it. That's all there is to it. Take the next first step.
This is what builds your self-confidence, your ability to get past your own limitations. And the more of them you pass, the more confident you'll be that when the next one comes up, "you'll be fine." That becomes your underlying belief. Simply put, you'll figure it out when you get there.
You will have confidence that you'll be able to do that, because you've done it before.
It's just like learning to ride a bike, learning to swim, or learning how to take the train in a foreign country: once you've gotten the hang of it, you'll be fine.
And so it goes with learning a computer system that's new, public speaking, doing yoga, joining your local Chamber of Commerce, or holding your first meditation group in your living room. You'll be fine.
You will! Will you be perfect the first time? Probably not. Does that matter? No, not really. Making mistakes or fumbling is exactly how you learn to get better. And if you're with people who know, like, and trust you, they're likely not going to mind a mistake or two. Or if you're with people who don't know you, if you're authentic and being honest, they'll be rooting for you too.
Remember, you are much, much more than you think you are, and your capacity to learn, do, and be a part of creating great things is all within your realm of possibility and potential. Your options are limitless when you realize that you are too!
I hope this inspires you to get past that thing you've been putting off because you don't know how to do it, or because you don't think that you're "good enough" to do it. Because just who knows what lies beyond it?
P.S. If you'd like to consider talking with me about your goals, simply book a Clarity Call and we'll see what you have in mind. - SG.
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