When I ask my clients to list the obstacles to their dreams, one of them is almost always confidence, or lack of self-confidence. They either think they do not have the confidence to achieve what they want, or do not trust themselves to achieve it. They think they’re not good enough, worthy enough, capable enough.
I’m showing my age here – do you remember the Skin Bracer aftershave commercial where Jack Palance says, “Confidence is very Sexy.” I used to only think of this commercial in the context of sex appeal. The commercial is selling after shave lotion or cologne but using sex appeal to do so. While not a fact, I will agree that confidence can be very sexy. I don’t mean the braggadocios kind. It’s not the person that lists all their accomplishments, constantly talks about themselves, or makes sure you’re aware that their shoes cost more than your entire wardrobe. That’s not necessarily confidence.
So, if it’s not that, what is confidence? How do we get it? How do we keep it?
In our lives, we are often faced with really big changes, difficult decisions, difficult relationships, etc… These aren’t situations you’ve encountered before or necessarily practiced for. So how can you confidently face these challenges?
Confidence is believing in yourself. It’s believing in your abilities, qualities and judgment. Confidence is knowing you’re okay, not matter what, because you have your own back. Confidence takes courage.
Confidence is something you think. It doesn’t come from other’s approval of you. It doesn’t come from your experience or your talent. Confidence is something you feel. If you constantly seek confidence from what others think of you, you will never be confident. You can’t control what others think of you. You can only control your own thoughts. When you try new things, you’re going to need to rely on your courage to see you through. That sounds scary. Confidence with fear mixed in is courage.
It takes courage to change careers, or to apply for a new position in your company, or to write a book, or to go back to school, or to become a parent.
Brené Brown is one of my most favorite people. She’s one of my mentors, even if she doesn’t know it! She’s a renowned shame researcher, author, and speaker. Hopefully, you know her amazing work. She says, “you can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.”
So, how do we get courage? How do we keep it?
Brené also says, “you can choose courage, or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.”
This means you need courage to keep moving forward. And if courage is confidence with fear mixed in, then you also need to embrace fear and vulnerability. This sounds awful but taking action while feeling fear is a skill you can develop. Most often, when we feel fear, it’s not a useful emotion – it’s not there to literally save our lives. We allow fear to keep us from moving forward. Real fear keeps us from legitimately getting hurt. It helps us make better decisions for our safety. Most feelings of fear that we have are not legitimate safety concerns – you are not going to die because you write a book or go for a job interview! Fear comes from our thoughts, just like confidence does. Your thoughts about what it might mean if your book isn’t successful or you don’t get the job is what you’re scared of.
Pull the thread of this thought…
You can choose the discomfort of writing the book or going on the interview, or you can choose the discomfort that is present in your life now – the discomfort of not moving forward. Either way, you’re going to be uncomfortable.
The more you choose courage, the more action you take, the more you will come to believe in your abilities, qualities and judgment. That’s confidence – and it’s very sexy!
If you’re ready for a breakthrough and massive transformation in your life, click below to schedule a free strategy session with me.