One thing I know to be true is that confidence is something we’re born with. I’m not saying that some people are gifted natural confidence and others not, just like that sorting conveyer belt in the movie, Boss Baby! I’m saying, we’re all born confident and somewhere along the way, we learn to doubt ourselves maybe based on something someone has said or done. Then, inevitably as humans, we mess up, make a fool of ourselves or fail big-style and think it’s evidence that we’re really not all that great after all.
And so, our roller coaster relationship with confidence begins..
So how do we recover confidence if we feel we’ve lost it? Let me start with a story:
When I was younger, I was impulsive and never hesitated to act purely from my heart. I felt strong and brave and my boldness led to wonderful adventures and opportunities.
I rarely second guessed myself. I accomplished a lot at a young age. I also had my heart broken multiple times, made a gazillion mistakes, fell down as quickly as I could get back up and pushed my body way past its limits until it stopped me in my tracks. Literally.
And I don’t regret any of it because it taught me all the wonderful things I needed to learn to be who I am today – a woman who is no longer afraid to speak my truth and share it with others so we can rise together.
However, tired of disappointment and pain (and physically tired too!), I then entered my decade of Playing It Safe. I had morphed into my alter-ego – I started to feel a deep shame for my skin and my body so covered up; I’d lost my confidence in my ability to resurrect my career after having children so I became a professional student – taking one course after the next, feeling never quite “qualified” or good enough; I’d forgotten the importance of boundaries in relationships and had lost my self-respect. I compared myself to others continuously and always came up second best (second best on a good day, last in the world on a bad day). I had morphed into the most insecure person I knew, while simultaneously putting on a smile and pretending to the world I was still the same person. But deep down, what I felt and how I acted showed that I just wasn’t me anymore. So on top of the ice-cream sundae of negative feelings I had going on, I also felt like an imposter!
Have you ever felt like this?
It’s the loneliest place in the world, yet the crazy thing is so many of us experience some aspect of this at some point in our lives.
So once you’ve lost it, what’s the secret formula to restoring confidence?
Well the good news is that you don’t need a full body transplant to become a super model, you don’t need a million followers on social media and you don’t need letters after your name or a fancy title or a super yacht (very nice indeed, but not a pre-requisite).
You just need to remember this!
We build confidence over time by consistently getting out of our comfort zone and taking small action towards our goals or dreams.
Now, I’m not talking about setting a new world record or signing up today for the next Iron Woman Series – although by all means, do this if it’s your calling!
I’m talking about taking one small step that’s different to your current daily routine – a small piece of action that will feel good when you get it done. It could be a new healthy habit like going for a walk or run outside, making that phone call you’ve been putting off, writing the first chapter of the book you’ve dreamed about writing, or in my case, setting myself a challenge to write just one sentence – when I woke up this morning feeling I had nothing to write about today, and creating this blog post in the process!
It doesn’t matter how insignificant it may feel. I promise you that consistent daily action is the key to restoring confidence. Anyone can therefore achieve it and it doesn’t require any talent, skills or perfect looks.
The key word here is CONSISTENCY, not perfection. I might sound a bit boring because I say this all the time, but it’s about Progress over Perfection.
But beware! Fear of failing or not doing it right or being humiliated will stop us in our tracks every single time. So please don’t let fear get in the way.
I can’t guarantee you won’t fail or fall or get rejected. In fact, if you’re really stepping out of your comfort zone to try something dear to your heart, there’s a very high chance of failing or making mistakes.
I’d been writing every day for two years before I felt confident enough to publish my first post and even then, it was pretty average. My current personal challenge is getting more comfortable with video – I’m literally making dozens of videos for every one I actually feel comfortable publishing so the learning and practice never stops!
So please don’t let the fear of failing stop you. It might happen once or twice or a hundred times, but just keep going. Remember, J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter manuscript was turned down by almost every publishing house in the UK. Imagine if she’d allowed self-doubt to stop her from persevering! A magical world which has brought so much entertainment and joy that we’d have never known about!
So beautiful, whatever it is you want to do today, no matter how small, just make it happen. Take action today and tomorrow and the next day and little by little, you’ll not only get closer to your dreams, but you’ll feel really good about what you accomplish too – and that, my dear friend, is the art of growing confidence.