What is confidence really?
I often open up my presentations for Reclaiming Confidence, the workshop that I run at The Practice in Bali, by sharing a range of quotes about confidence that for the longest time scared the bejesus (spelling?!) out of me.
This one sums it up quite nicely:
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey
It was at a time of my life when I felt I had literally lost all confidence in myself and reading quotes like these just made me feel like I was pretty much screwed.
Confidence seemed like it was a “have or have not” type thing, and depending on which category you fell into, it also made the difference between those who would or who would not be successful in life.
Have confidence, yay! Experience self-doubt, nay…
But here’s the thing.
Confidence in fact is a personal journey that looks different for everyone.
You can feel confident in one area of your life, and not so much in another. We may also experience it in different ways. For some of us it’s sweaty palms and a restricted throat, for others it may be the incessant critical voice inside our heads – or some combination of the two. What is important to remember is that the experience of self-doubt doesn’t have to be all pervasive to your life and that in itself already creates a little bit of space.
For the areas in your life where you do feel more confident – was it always that way and how did you get there?
Perhaps more than anything, confidence in the beginning looks more like courage in action.
Any new adventure, any new pursuit that is meaningful to you will most likely create some tension. Because if it didn’t mean anything, then it wouldn’t really matter so much. Confidence starts with an act of courage and over time, as you learn to become braver and put things in action, it grows into confidence.
Confidence grows through courage and practice until you become competent – and that requires you to take action.
There’s no way around it – and this is where people often make an important mistake in their thinking. How often have you found yourself waiting for the day that you feel ready? Confident? Good enough?
Yep, thought so. Because as Dr. Russ Harris says in his book The Confidence Gap:
The actions of confidence come before the feelings of confidence.
So perhaps rather than waiting to feel confident, ask yourself,
What courageous step, big or small, can I take today?
Be brave dear one!