Is confidence over-rated?
Have you ever fancied someone but never told him or her how you felt because you were afraid of what they’d say?
Have you ever really wanted something but didn’t go for it because you didn’t think you were good enough?
I know I have.
I think it was because I lacked confidence. I don’t think I would have admitted this before but that was the truth.
Despite going to theatre school, performing on stage and having an outgoing personality, I lacked confidence and self-belief for many years.
I would use my lack of knowledge, limited experience and minimal resources as “valid” reasons that prevented me from going after some big opportunities in my life.
The truth was they were just excuses.
I’d convince myself into thinking that I didn’t have what it took to get the gig or get the job because I wasn’t “good enough”.
It took me a while but I soon realised that this was a broken record that I was choosing to play in my head and it was finally time to turn it off.
No matter the reason that I told the world, I knew in my heart that I suffered with a lack of confidence and was plagued with bouts of self-doubt.
As time went by, I decided to put an end to my self-sabotaging ways.
My being happier was down to me and something needed to change.
I started thinking…
What if I didn’t need confidence to take action?
I decided that was it. No longer was I going to play the waiting game.
I would start an online business. I would start writing. I would start researching. I would start networking. I would start studying. I. Would. Start…
Starting was the key that changed everything.
Many people around me thought I was crazy. They wondered how I’d make it work or how I’d find the time.
They’d ask how I could afford it and say it couldn’t be done with a baby.
I have to admit that all of their questions and concerns were valid.
The honest answer was that I didn’t have the answers and I had no idea whether it would work out or not.
I just knew I had to push past the questions and my own insecurities otherwise I’d never do anything.
This is why I think one of the best things to do when you are afraid or think you’re not good at something is to get busy doing it.
None of us are born experts. We learn as we go and we get better by doing.
When we were little tots the thought of running, jumping and skipping around would have seemed like an impossible feat when we could barely walk.
But the amazing thing about toddlers is that they never give up and they don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
They’re full of determination, tenacity and persistence. When they’re learning to walk they fall down all the time but they never give up.
As simple as this example sounds, it was enough for me. Watching Muffin learn to walk was enough to convince me that I could pursue Pearl Grace.
I was prepared to make mistakes and learn as I go. And to be honest it’s been a lot more fun and such an enjoyable process because I didn’t have all the answers before I started.
I just got my arse in gear and went for it!
Here’s something I picked up from Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine.
I’ve started using this technique in my life with some brilliant results.
When you feel like you are lacking confidence then shift your focus and help someone else gain more confidence.
Give that person your time, attention, encouragement and expertise.
The magic lies in the small act of giving. By helping someone else you unconsciously and indirectly help yourself.
I’ve tried and tested this approach in many areas of my life and the results have been amazing.
For example, with friends who have recently become mums. I found myself encouraging and supporting them on their styles of parenting.
Now, I would have done this anyway because I value my friendships. But deep down I knew that I was giving to them the very thing that I felt I was lacking in my own life. Confidence.
I questioned myself as a new mum all the time. I think we all do in the beginning and maybe it never completely stops no matter how many kids you have.
But I would hear myself talking to my friends and I’d start to believe my own words.
And as a result I started to feel more comfortable in my own choices.
By the way, I would only tell my friends what I sincerely believed was true. No porky-pies!
I honestly believe that in many ways I have become more confident in my mummy-abilities because I helped my wonderful friends - who are amazing mummies - become more confident as well.
We’re all made up of tiny particles that are bouncing off each other all the time.
When we are excited these particles make us feel energised and positive. However when we are nervous they make us feel anxious and unsure.
You know that feeling you get like there are butterflies in your tummy? … Well, that’s a combination of both sets of emotions.
I think social conditioning has made us believe that showing nerves is a bad thing and lacking confidence is an unproductive state to be in.
I beg to differ.
This feeling isn’t unnatural or unhealthy. In fact it’s a necessary part of living a balanced life. We have to experience both sides of the emotional spectrum.
Being nervous proves we care massively about something. It shows the world that we’re passionate about what we are doing. And that’s a FANTASTIC thing!
I think we should embrace and celebrate that nervous energy when it shows up to the party.
Accept it as a feeling worthy of our attention, like we would if we were feeling really happy.
Before a meeting or before I was about to embark on something new, I would feel this sense of nervous excitement.
I would be nervous because I was about to step into the unknown but I'd be super-buzzed because I'd think of the all the amazing opportunities that lay ahead.
Sometimes I even express my nerves to others including the person I’m trying to impress.
You probably think I’m crazy for saying that.
But sharing how you truly feel instead of trying to hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist can work more in your favour than you might think.
Of course there will be times when you may chose to retain sharing this emotion but the decision is yours to make.
Here's a question for ya... What if next time, when you see that guy or girl you fancy you went up to them and told them how you truly felt?
I know it would take guts but why not do it? After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
If they laugh then you know they weren’t right for you and you’ve found this out early and saved yourself a lot of time and heartache.
But, if they are understanding and appreciate your honesty then you can celebrate in knowing that over-came a massive hurdle just by being open. Who knows you might bag yourself a date as well… now, that be awesome!
It’s worth noting that many of us are afraid to do what we’re most passionate about because we are afraid of what people think.
You might be worried that your family and friends won’t “get it” or that they’ll say you're a “crazy person” for daring to dream and pursue it.
It’s OK to have these thoughts. Feeling accepted by others is a natural part of bring human.
But when other people question you, or belittle your dreams, or tell you that what you’re doing can’t be done then tell yourself that’s OK and keep doing what you know in your heart to be true.
Remember, the naysayers are fearful that you will succeed and as a result put into question their own insecurities of what they believe is possible in the world.
Your guts, determination and fortitude makes them feel bad for not doing it themselves so they will resent you or try to stop you.
Keep a watchful eye on how often you surround yourself with these people. Make sure their dampening energy doesn’t crush your spirit and prevent your flame from burning bright.
We all have the right to shine like a star doing what we're passionate about if it serves us, other people and the world in a just and humane way.
So, maybe having confidence is over-rated. Maybe having all the answers and all the tools isn’t essential for winning. Maybe striving for perfection isn't necessary… after all it doesn't exist!
Maybe being YOU, with and without confidence, is all you need to achieve your goals, find love, be happy, healthy and life a meaningful life.
Don’t wait to be anything more. You will become more when you do more. And guess what, the confidence you’ve been wishing for will naturally come without you needing to chase it.
Let’s feel confident in this knowledge and have faith in our own ambitions. Let’s go after our dreams.
I love what Martin Luther King Jnr said, “Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Here’s to you living up to your grandest purpose and doing it your way!
Love Nat x
PG Q: How do you push past your insecurities?